With an insatiable buzz, Ukkō has fast become Joburg’s latest trendy meeting place.
Restaurant name: Ukkō
Address: Shop U24, Nicolway Shopping Centre, Bryanston, Sandton
Phone number: 010 335 0770
Opening times: Tuesday to Saturday from 11am to 10pm; Sunday to Monday from 11am to 9pm
Average price of a main course: R256
Corkage fee: No BYO
Parking situation: Plenty of underground and level parking
Food type: Mediterranean and Asian-inspired small plates
Best for: Weekday lunches and catch-ups as well as weekend get-togethers
Ukkō specialises in Mediterranean tapas and sushi with great quality that slots it in the smart-casual category, ie slightly above casual, but not entirely fine dining. A great deal of effort has gone into producing beautifully crafted food with a taste to match. The upmarket food price also matches this. A fusion of Asian and Mediterranean flavours, the small plates are made for sharing. Start with a selection of salads or tap into the “Mediterr-asian” raw bar with the likes of Wagyu tartar, beetroot carpaccio or the white fish ceviche.
The tapas menu boasts plenty of meat, vegetarian and seafood options. The marinated chickpea and celery dish with shaved pecorino, olive oil and lemon has enough zest to ready the mouth for the meaty taste of the chicken dumplings or the crusty canniboa (deep-fried beef dumpling), both accompanied by the deliciously punchy gyoza sauce. The smooth seared salmon can be added to complete the meal.
Ukkō’s signature sushi is not to be missed. The Ukkō roll with salmon, chives, avo and salmon topping has a subtle chilli kick that adds to this delicious sushi roll. For those that feel like a large plate on their own, there are options ranging from grilled prawns or beef fillet to the 700g tomahawk and 250g wagyu sirloin. The large plates come with separately purchased sides.
The compact dessert menu features simple sweet treats like mini churros, cheesecake and the indulgent Lindt-centred baked chocolate.
Expect an extensive wine list and a mixology bar. There are a variety of cocktails including Ukkō’s signature Akka (female deity of Ukkō) with vodka, strawberry and rose essence; and Ukkonen (thunder) with tequila, gin, passionfruit, elderfruit, prosecco and aromatic bitters. Both cocktails are linked to the name of the spot.
The wine list is a selection of South African red and white wines with compact lists of champagne, Methode Cap Classique and Prosecco.
With its buzz, especially on weekends, you may have to wait a little while for a table even with a reserved booking. The potential for the masked waiters to be haphazard is there, but they are attentive and knowledgeable. There is a sanitiser at the entrance, but at times with no one manning the front of house area to make sure everyone coming in gets sanitised.
Ukkō is the newest addition to the chain of restaurants lining the Nicholway Shopping Centre in Bryanston. The name has Finnish mythological references, derived from the word Ukkonen meaning “god of the sky, weather, thunder and harvest”. In Finnish mythology, the routine and sacrificial gathering for food and drink is believed to guarantee good weather and harvests for the year ahead. So Ukkō’s buzzing ambience is fitting for a space that has become a favourable meeting place for occasions of all kinds.
There’s style in its woody and blueish interior complemented by basket-weave lampshades and macramé. The doors are kept open for necessary ventilation and outside seating.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.