Mari Kure, owner of Ludlow’s only Japanese restaurant, the deliciously distinctive ‘Koo’ takes a stab at our insider's questionnaire.
The Shropshire Star recently described Koo as being “modest & unprepossessing, quiet and humble, it offers delightful, healthy, flavour-licious food at fair prices in congenial surroundings. Mari Kure is one of the country’s unsung foodie heroes."
Mari told us her passion is to ‘make people happy’ through her authentic Japanese food which does sound heroic.
1. Tell us your connection to Ludlow:
Are you an incomer (fell in love on a visit)
Returner (grew up here, went away, glad to be back)
Have never left the 'shire (why go anywhere else?)
I grew up in Tokyo, Japan and in the past I ran traditional restaurants in both Tokyo and Los Angeles. I moved to England 22 years ago to run the Bell Inn in Yarpole with my (now ex-) husband. After we sold the pub, I felt that Ludlow with its growing reputation as a ‘foodie’ destination, was the right place for Japanese cuisine.
2. Finish the sentence: Living in and around Ludlow is the bee's knees because…
The people, the beautiful scenery and of course, the food.
"Ludlow was the right place for Japanese cuisine"
3. Tell us something about Ludlow that no one else knows.
There are so many skilled craftsmen in and around Ludlow. I have met so many skilled people since I moved here. The other day I got chatting to an elderly gentleman called Bob. It turns out he was once a pottery teacher but is now retired. He offered to teach me and I’m now having weekly pottery lessons. It’s amazing who you meet just wandering through the market!
4. Your favourite haunt and why?
The Green Cafe at the Millennium Green. The food is always fresh, light and inspiring and the scenery is beautiful all through the year.
"I ran traditional restaurants in Tokyo and Los Angeles"
5. What would your perfect day in Ludlow look like?
It would be a nice summer’s day, a morning spent wandering around town. Then a stroll down to the Millennium Green for coffee and cake. In the afternoon, I would wander through the market, bumping into friends and chatting to new ones and then a spontaneous coffee at Cicchetti’s.
Finally, your recommends: your top spot to eat, drink or visit in the area?
The Stag at Titley is a wonderful restaurant. And of course, The Green Cafe!
Ed’s Note: Ludlow lost one of its leading lights after Mari Kure passed away. Koo Restaurant closed in May 2018