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Launching onto campus: Alcuin Kitchen

Our editors walk you through the new menu available in The Kitchen and YUSU’s plans for the venue

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Image Credit: Annabel Mulliner

Yesterday night we had the pleasure to attend a VIP menu tasting of the new Alcuin Kitchen menu that is set to launch today at 5pm. Sampling a selection of their mocktails and food options, we run you through the highlights of the night.

The selection of mocktails was light and refreshing. Our standout favourite was the mock Mojito, which tasted just as good as the real thing, minus the headache. Bamboo straws were a lovely eco-friendly touch. The Kitchen is one of the first unlicensed university venues in the country, and it will be interesting to see the reception that this gets. I think that being alcohol-free will help The Kitchen stand out in a very positive way, hopefully being just as buzzing as Courtyard and the like, while perhaps being a little bit calmer and more inviting. The Sober Society were present at the launch, and I can definitely see The Kitchen as a great space for an alternative society social, or for live music.

Adding to the inclusivity, The Kitchen’s new menu boasts a variety of vegetarian and vegan options, including Bao Buns with hoisin “mock duck” and BBQ pulled jackfruit. Another exciting option is the vegan Turkish shawarma pizza. They even have an entire section of the menu dedicated to customisable hummus and falafel pittas. Though Wentworth’s Vedge has been a game changer for non-meat eaters on campus, it’s fantastic to see that The Kitchen is creating even more options, that will be available in the evening. Hopefully, as The Kitchen becomes more successful, we will see them expand into offering even more diverse options.

It might not win any Michelin stars, but The Kitchen are offering decent food for decent prices. The menu is very personalisable, with 10 different sauces to accompany the chicken wings, and a mix and match system for their filled pittas or mezzalunas. We tried a classic plain falafel pitta which would be a perfect snack during a committee meeting, and is very reasonably priced, at only £3.50 each. It seems clear that The Kitchen could be a perfect, and economical, alternative to a takeaway on those nights where you don’t fancy cooking- with a 12” pizza coming in just under £8.

It’s great to see some more unusual toppings appear on the pizza menu, including a “Full English”, complete with hash browns, and an “Indian” with Tikka sauce. The Spanish chicken and chorizo pizza was also a success. It definitely feels like The Kitchen are making a niche for themselves, with an ambitious menu reflecting a more international theme than we might have previously been used to in other YUSU establishments. Once again, the customisable element appears with their Hirato Bao Buns, with 5 different fillings available. Although these are the main changes in terms of the menu, the venue itself offers something quite unique in comparison to other YUSU bars on campus.

In a short opening statement, YUSU president Samara Jones highlighted that the one key feature setting The Kitchen apart from the rest is that no alcohol will be served or consumed at the premises. This may initially come across as a bit of a shock, but the change is likely to be welcomed with open arms by many students. While drinking is often regarded as one of the central aspects of university life, catering to non-alcoholic activity demands on campus is slightly overdue and very much appreciated.

The Kitchen provides an ideal space for societies large and small to use to their liking; whether that be for an important committee meeting, a casual social, or even just grabbing a quick bite after a late session. The YUSU Catering Operation and Development Manager suggested that the space is perfect for hosting an array of events that could range from a debating society session, to some poetry reading or even a live music night, and we couldn’t agree more.

During our brief chat with the CEO of YUSU , he emphasized that this isn’t just another Courtyard or D-Bar, The Kitchen offers a different concept and we’re there for it. We’re not saying Courtyard isn’t great, it is. But having a relaxed venue that offers great food selection and a cosy atmosphere on campus is priceless. YUSU is encouraging students and staff to treat the revamped The Kitchen as an extension of their home (although we have to admit it is a whole lot nicer than most student houses out there), and it’s a perfect space for when you and your friends are looking to have a laid-back night that doesn’t involve ordering the same old takeaway for the third time that week.

The Kitchen will be open Monday through Friday from 5:00pm to 11:00pm in addition to its current daytime opening hours. Bookings can be made by directly contacting YUSU.

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