By
Ariana Díaz Celma

The tandem formed by the Peruvian chef Juan Otivo and Kyoko Li continues to draw smiles and satisfying sybarite palates. Despite his youth, he has worked in restaurants such Asiana Nextdoor, Tampu, Astrid and Gastón and Ceviche 103. Kyoto Li, on the other hand, was the right hand of Albert Adrià at Pakta for years. In 2016, they opened one of Barcelona’s most surprising Nikkei proposals, Kokka, which now has a new companion, the Big Kokka, a restaurant that occupies one of the most emblematic premises of the Born, the legendary Big Fish. Although it retains the structure of the original restaurant, it has been renovated to introduce touches of exoticism by designer Clara Arnús. A highlight is also the original dragon-laden wall paper by Batabasta, a project Arnús shares with Leti Cano.

The Big Kokka menu goes further and includes a lot of hot dishes that can’t be cooked at Kokka’s cold bar

The restaurant’s menu features Kokka hits such as Nikkei oysters, causa with huacatay aromas, roasted eggplant with yellow ají sauce and sweet potato threads, or the Kokka salad with quinoa, cucumber, seaweed and turnip pickles and ginger. It has also inherited ceviches and tiraditos, as well as some Nikki-style futomakis, uramakis and nigiris –we recommend the butterfish with anticuchera sauce and scallop with black garlic alioli. Another classic is the red shrimp. However, the Big Kokka menu goes further and includes a lot of hot dishes that can’t be cooked at Kokka’s cold bar.

The menu includes a Tenshin section featuring shrimp gyozas, chicken and peanut sauce with spicy oil, and fried wanton, as well as robata dishes such as butterfish marinated in miso with pickles; braised mackerel and Waygu beef with Andean mustards, among others. There are also wok dishes, with tirabeques, kenya and perona beans; peas and shitake; seafood; green rice with soft shell crab or sauteed noodles with Iberian game.

Desserts are also surprising. Don’t leave without trying sesame mouse with candied lime and sesame seeds; matcha green tea tiramisu; coca with pisco coffee biscuit; tofu cheesecake with sesame and plum crumble or the classic mochis and ice cream.

Every Monday, Big Kokka has a lunch menu for € 16 with entrees to choose from, a second one, dessert and drink.

Big Kokka is also very good news for lovers of good drinking. You’ll love it if you’re into Peruvian-Japanese distilled drinks and cocktails. The evening can begin – and end – with pisco sours. The drinks menu includes four recipes that, in practice, are eight, since all cocktails are also served in their sake version. Lime, shiso, passion fruit or chicha are the variants in this mixed drink made with goma, egg white and a few drops of angostura. There is also a sake menu, served in 120cl jars.

Big Kokka also boasts a selection of some of today’s best organic and biodynamic wines. The restaurant has opted for natural wines since their product selection is based on sustainability. But the drinks section doesn’t end here. At Big Kokka guests will also have the chance to enjoy a selection of liqueurs from Japan and Peru such as yuzu, sho shu and a wide range of Japanese whiskey.