It is easy to miss Kokoro with its unassuming frontage, nestled in the middle of Brighton’s North Street, but if you are a fan of Japenese food and looking to grab a quick bite it is well worth a visit. I got addicted to Itsu when I used to work in Farringdon so gave Kokoro a try hoping it would fill a sushi-shaped whole in my lunchtime life. Kokoro has a number of branches including ones in Kingston and Wimbledon in London, but the Brighton branch is the only one I have ever tried.
The restaurant is small and generally gets very busy at lunchtimes serving a range of sushi, bento sets, hot food and sides ranging in price from around £2.45 for a small vegetarian sushi pack through to £6.00 for a large pot of hot food such as their spicy tofu noodles.
I ordered avocado sushi and vegetable gyoza dumplings, which were warmed up for me as I was eating in, and the total price came to just under £5.00. The sushi tasted fresh and the avocado was nice and creamy. The gyoza had a good texture and a tatsy filling which was made with mushrooms, carrot and cabbage. The garlic flavoured soy dipping sauce was also flavoursome without being overly bitter like others I have tried in the past, so all in all I was happy!
I also tried a spring roll donated to me by my fellow diner and work colleague Matt, which was good and crispy. There were a number of other vegetarian options available including inari tofu, seaweed salad and edamame beans which I intend to work my way around to slowly but surely in subsequent visits. The staff at Kokoro seems to be a split of either very friendly or very direct, so I would imagine your customer serving experience could be very different depending on who you get!
I would say that overall Kokoro is probably better as a takeaway eatery because it can get quite hectic inside, I certainly wouldn’t choose it as a destination for a leisurely lunch. In terms of quality and taste though, the food is definitely worth trying and for regular visitors there is a loyalty card which gets you to a free lunch if you collect the stamps.