Kirkcaldy’s Japanese restaurant opens second Fife base

Jerzy Urmilowicz and Monika Michalski at Koko Shui (Pic:  Fife Photo Agency)
Jerzy Urmilowicz and Monika Michalski at Koko Shui (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

Kirkcaldy’s Japanese restaurant has proved to be such a success that its owners are opening at a second Fife location.

Koku Shi, on the corner of the High Street and Kirk Wynd, was opened three years ago by partners Jerzy Urmilowicz and Monika Michalski.

And despite some local scepticism, the business has gone from strength to strength, being featured on television, winning awards and is now set to open in Dunfermline.

Monika said: “Polish people making Japanese food in Scotland I think is a great thing!

“People said that Kirkcaldy was too small a town for this sort of thing, but it has worked. People love our food and we are educating people as well.

“We hold workshops here and we do classes for children in schools. We teach them about the history of sushi and show them how to make dishes.

“But of course, Japanese food is much more than just sushi. We have other dishes in our menu as well.”

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Monika said a change in menu two years ago was the turning point in the restaurant’s success story.

“It showed people that we would give them what they want.

“The first few months were very busy because people were curious to try what we were offering and they would tell us that they had friends who would like to come but weren’t that keen on sushi, so that’s why we added so many more dishes.

“We also started a vegan menu and everything we pack our food into for takeaway is 100 per cent biodegradable.

“All our products are free range and organic whenever possible. This is a bold statement, but I think we are the healthiest restaurant in town.”

It was also the addition of a traditional Scottish favourite that gave Koku Shi a unique selling point which took them onto the small screen.

“Making sushi with haggis is something that’s never been done anywhere else in the world,” Monika said.

“People are coming to try it from all over because they’ve heard about it, even from abroad.

“We had STV2 coming in and film ing a demonstration about how we use haggis in our dishes and we won an award at the end of last year from the Scottish Asian Food Awards for the Japanese Restaurant of the Year.

“It was amazing, we didn’t expect that, but I think they liked our fresh ideas.”

Along with building up the business the couple say that it’s important to them to work with the local community.

“We did food for the beach clean up that Revolution Barbershop held a few weeks ago,” Monika said. “That was very close to our heart.

“We want people to think local and shop local. Whenever people complain we say, no, Kirkcaldy has potential.

“So even though we have plans to expand we will never forget where we have come from.

“The dream is to have 10 restaurants across Scotland. But we have so much to be grateful to Kirkcaldy for. This is where our journey started.”