It’s been years since I last visited YO! Sushi. When I lived in London, I used to visit their Islington branch quite regularly with friends and family, until I discovered Kulu Kulu on Brewer Street which quickly became my new favourite. I have no idea what it’s like now, mind…
We were invited to enjoy a meal at the Cabot Circus restaurant as part of the shopping centre’s “Come Dine With Cabot” week in February: a week in which members of the public could download and print a voucher that would entitle them to a set meal deal at a number of Cabot Circus restaurants from just £8 upwards. They’re running the offer again from March 3rd – 6th, so if you missed it the first time round, click here to read more and to download your voucher…
The YO! Sushi meal deal seemed like pretty good value for money: four plates each, plus a small glass of wine, bottle of Kirin or soft drink each for £12 per person. YO! veterans will know that the different dishes on offer have colour coded plates with varying prices, and this offer excluded the grey and yellow plates…still giving us plenty of choice.
It’s a pretty futuristic looking venue. Diners can choose to eat at the counter, or at booth-style tables which offer a more relaxed dining environment. We chose to sit at the counter, giving us an easy view of the tempting plates of food that passed us by…
When sitting at the counter, you have everything you need to hand: stacks of empty glasses and taps for both still and sparkling water, chopsticks, napkins, wooden cutlery, soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi. Counter stations also have a button you can press for assistance, with a blue light tube in front of you that glows red and speaks when the button is pressed, alerting the service staff of the fact that they are needed.
The menu divides dishes up into hot food, different types of sushi, salads, desserts and more. Cold food passes by on the conveyor belt that circles the restaurant, each dish time stamped so that YO! employees know to remove it after a certain period of time. Hot food is ordered from the servers, and delivered to your station.
I decided to go for a bit of a mix: two hot dishes, one nigiri sushi and a dessert. I grabbed the assorted nigiri (normally £4.10) from the conveyor belt as it passed: three blocks of sushi rice, one topped with salmon, one with tuna and one with a cooked and butterflied prawn. The seafood tasted perfectly fresh, the rice well cooked and prepared…a great start!
My spicy seafood udon (normally £4.10) was a steaming bowl of soup: shrimps, salmon, squid and various vegetables on top of a pile of thick udon noodles, all served in a spicy broth. And spicy it was: no skimping on the chillies here! The seafood and vegetables were perfectly cooked, although the noodles could have done with slightly longer.
I also went for the spicy pepper squid (normally £3.60) – the squid tender, the coating crunchy and with a lovely amount of heat (especially with the sliced chillies that adorned it!)
Finally, onto dessert and the chocolate dorayaki (normally £4.10) – one of their new dessert options, as you can see from the squiggly raspberry sauce lettering! A sweet chocolate ganache sandwiched between soft and fluffy Japanese pancakes, with a tasty but slightly artificial tasting raspberry sauce.
Among Chris’ choices was the chicken katsu (normally £3.60) – slices of chicken thigh fillet coated in Japanese breadcrumbs, before being fried and drizzled with a fruity sauce. He said the chicken was cooked nicely, but the dish could have done with a little more sauce.
He was also pleased with his choice of salmon firecracker rice (normally £3.60): a combination of sushi rice, crunchy vegetables, flaked salmon and spices, topped with sesame seeds. The crunch of the vegetables provided a lovely contrast to the softer rice and fish – a tasty dish that could even have been made slightly spicier.
Before we left, we were also invited to try one of the restaurant’s brand new dishes: tuna tataki & ponzu (normally £4.10). It’s not something that we’d have chosen for ourselves, but it turned out to be a dish that we would happily order again. Thin slices of tuna had been coated in black pepper and seared ever so slightly, before being served topped with chilli daikon, crispy shallots and a beautifully citrusy ponzu dressing – a light and refreshing dish that truly was delicious.
If truth be told, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed YO! Sushi after so many years. There’s a great deal of choice, and some fantastic new dishes on the menu that will appeal to non-raw fish lovers too. I do love the concept of serving yourself, and when we ordered hot dishes, the service was prompt and friendly – and the environment in which you eat is quite futuristic and something a bit different. Recommended.
Please note: this meal was received free of charge, but in no way impacted on our opinion. We were not obliged to write a positive review, and the venue did not see this review before it was put up on the site.