Middle Eastern and South Asian cuisines collide in this grab-and-go street food spot.
As Kukoos’s big sister, Zaika, realised a little while ago: street food post-recession is all the rage. And so, busy with streams of people queuing for tables on Saturday nights, Zaika maximised on its output by opening Kukoos on Oxford Road back in early 2013. It’s not quite up to the same standards set by its siblings, but it’s certainly being guided in the right direction.
The food is wide-ranging: inspired by countries with complex flavours and spice mixes, you’ll find Moroccan, Lebanese and Indian cuisine here. Choose from salads, wraps, dosas and soups, and mix and match to find a new hybrid cuisine, all for a fiver or less. Smoothies and lassis are rich, the mango version of the latter topped high with whipped coconut cream. It’s more of a dessert than a drink, but no-one’s complaining.
For now, Kukoos is the closest we’ve got to a salad bar in Manchester, save the pitiful looking ones at Pizza Hut (complete with bacon bits). Thankfully, it’s a much fresher affair here: channa chat (spiced chickpeas) works well alongside Middle Eastern labneh (a yoghurt-style dip), while broccoli and chilli leave you feeling positively virtuous when combined with the golden quinoa. Wraps might offer spinach, lamb and hummus – a sort of Lebanese/Pakistani hybrid – or cheese and onion bhaji (tastes less like an Indian pack of Walker’s than it sounds).
The place is bright, staff are friendly and the high footfall means produce has a good turnover at lunchtimes, which is when you’ll get to taste the best Kukoos has to offer. There’s relatively little seating - it’s more of a grab and run sort of place, but on a strip where Greggs is the other main lunchtime offering, it’s a welcome addition.
12a Oxford Road