“We want to be the best”

The TN card is the Tunbridge Wells loyalty scheme that rewards shoppers for supporting local. This month its founder Jess Gibson chats to Kiko, owner of Kitsu, Kiko Sushi & Yakitori and now Momo Bubble café about bringing the flavours of Japan to Royal Tunbridge Wells…


Kiko, you have recently opened your third business in Tunbridge Wells, congratulations! Can you tell us about when you opened your first restaurant, Kitsu on Victoria Road?

Yes, it’s been a busy few years! We took over Kitsu around eight years ago – we saw the potential of sushi in our town and thought ‘let’s give this a go and make our sushi the best in Tunbridge Wells.’ Since then we have seen many new sushi restaurants opening in the town!


Kitsu may be small but it certainly has a mighty reputation for offering the very finest sushi which could rival any London restaurantÉ

Thank you. Our Kitsu customers are happy with and excited by the taste and quality of our dishes, and many return time and again because of our food and warm, welcoming team. We have customers coming to us from all over Kent as well as from Hastings and Brighton, Orpington and even from London! They say our dishes and service are so good that it’s worth the journey!


Where does your love for sushi come from?

Well to be honest, I love food. You can bring me any kind of dish and I’ll give it a go and share it with everyone to try. I am totally passionate about creating new, tasty dishes for people to enjoy. It’s why our menus are so large and spread out – we want to introduce everyone to new, different and delicious dishes.


Was the opening of Kiko Sushi & Yakitori on London Road in 2019 a natural progression for you?

Yes. We wanted Kiko Sushi & Yakitori to be on a par with the best restaurants on The Pantiles. With our manager Dave leading the way, I am confident we are there already.


Your restaurants are always so busy, what is the secret of your success?

We welcome all our customers with open arms and want to make them feel at home. We work really hard to serve the best food we can offer, provide the best hospitality and say both hello and goodbye to them with the biggest of smiles. We endeavour to give great value for money too – despite the rising costs of products.


And now you have opened Momo Bubble on Grove Hill Road, your third business in the town. Many congratulations! For the uninitiated, what exactly is bubble tea?

I’d say bubble tea is a one-of-a-kind beverage! It is originally a Taiwanese recipe, made by blending a tea base with milk, fruit and fruit juices, then adding the signature ‘bubbles’ – these are the yummy sweet and oh-so-tasty tapioca pearls which sit at the bottom of the drink.


What else do you serve at Momo Bubble and when are you open?

We also offer milkshakes and have our signature Momo’s Bubble Waffles, which are crispy and tasty Hong Kong waffles. We make this iconic street food using a special batter infused with a hint of sweetness, and they are cooked to perfection in our traditional waffle irons. We are open from 11am until 8pm from Tuesday to Sunday each week.


Your work ethic is extraordinary and you have built a fantastic team around you. Where does your drive come from?

It isn’t just myself. All our restaurants have amazing team members behind them, who are willing to go above and beyond. Without our managers like Dave and Kevin, and all the others, our businesses would not be the successes they are. My passion and drive for all our businesses is due to them.


Thank you for joining the TN card. Why is it important to support local?

Our town has lots of small businesses like us who have unique stories and products, and really care about their customers so by supporting local we can share all this with our customers. We love getting to know new people each day, making them happy and seeing them come back. We’ve seen customers come to us for a date, then come to us with their new baby, and return again and again as their child grows up. It is a great privilege to be part of people’s lives!

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