Megan Walsh has a bun fight at the Japanese street food joint
Sutikku means stick in Japanese, perhaps fitting for a spot that’s a bit outside the usual gastronomical perimeter of south Liverpool. But don’t let geography put you off. We made it our final stop after a day of socialising on Lark Lane, with just enough alcohol in our bloodstream to spark the kind of appetite only boozing can bring.
Those giant pucks of crème patisserie-filled choux pastry are a phenomenon
Born after a trip to Japan, Sutikku started life as a pop-up food vendor in 2019 and earned itself a cult following with residencies in places such as Manchester’s GRUB and our own Baltic Market. It was only a matter of time before something more permanent came along and in May this year, Sutikku Bowl opened its doors ready for service.
Inside, it’s as colourful as you like. The walls are hung with a kaleidoscope of artwork by co-owner and local artist Cherie Grist, heavily influenced by Japanese works such as The Great Wave off Kanagawa and landmarks like Mount Fuji. Get yourself a bottle of wine with one of those funky labels and you’ll be dining in Technicolour.
We kicked things off the only way that a proper Japanese dining experience should commence, ordering a ceremonious bowl of heavily salted edamame (£2.50), as well as some mochi (£3.50).
Never heard of mochi? No, not the ice cream kind that’s almost as impossible to find as Willy Wonka’s sixth golden ticket. I’m talking about the glutinous rice cakes you see all over the streets of Japan. Sutikku Bowl’s are a little different to the skewered spheres you might recognise from the food stalls of Osaka, instead served as batons in a sticky soy-based sauce that will just about blow your mind. Chewy, doughy, tangy and salty - these mochi are tiny but tasty.
Gyoza (£6) are always a winner in my eyes and these bite-sized vegan babies with their crispy little bottoms were worth their weight in Japanese steel. My experience with vegetarian gyozas almost always involves mushrooms, but the kombucha squash made way for a much lighter dumpling that was extremely delicate. The ginger and chive definitely came through and the sharpness of the soy dipping sauce brought it all together. I washed them down with an exceedingly good Amongst the Waves pilsner from Neptune Brewery (£5), a bit pricey, but what better combo is there than a plate of Japanese dumplings and beer?
The beef gyudon don buri bowl (£9) was simple but brilliant. A crater of sticky steamed rice topped with thin slices of tender brisket, dashi greens, pickled ginger and sake-braised onions. There was a subtle sweetness to the dish that worked perfectly with the acidity of the pickled ginger. And while it may have lacked the depth a bit of spice can bring; it was still a giant bowl of soul food.
Chicken katsu curry (£9) was another winner. None of that laden gloop you’ve had at Wagamama, but lashings of freshly made katsu sauce and chicken breaded the proper panko way. The consistency was a little off for my liking, but all the authentic flavours were there. If you love turmeric and coconut milk, this one’s for you.
After the mains were done I was just about set to burst and to be honest with you, I was gutted. Why? If you follow Sutikku on Instagram, then I don’t need to tell you about their Japanese choux buns.
Those giant pucks of crème patisserie-filled choux pastry are a phenomenon and have been flying out faster than the meteors they resemble. I’d timed my visit to Sutikku just so I could have one, but found myself in the position of being one more mouthful away from having to undo the top button on my trousers. Not a good look for 5.30pm on a Saturday afternoon. I admitted to a momentary defeat. But it wasn’t the end.
The next day I returned to order a coffee and a takeaway choux to enjoy at home, and I was not disappointed. A crackly, crunchy choux pastry packed with an explosion of sweet cream, and definitely worth going back for.
Overall, my first experience at Sutikku Bowl was golden. I put pen to paper a couple of weeks after my visit, and since then I see they’ve been knocking out a few specials as well as the regular menu. It’s a welcome addition and one that’s got me itching to return. Or rather, itchiban.
Sutikku Bowl’s journey has been a labour of love and you can really feel it in just about everything, from the food and interior to the willingness of the team inside. I can tell that this is just the beginning for south Liverpool’s new rising star. Or should that be, rising sun?
Follow Megan Walsh on Twitter.
All scored reviews are unannounced, impartial, paid for by Confidential and completely independent of any commercial relationship. Venues are rated against the best examples of their type: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: Netflix and chill, 10-11: if you're passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: cooked by God him/herself.
Mochi 8, edamame 7, gyoza 7, don buri 7, katsu 7
Couldn’t do more for us
The place has got the vibe right