After a welcome from the staff, we were seated by the famous conveyor belt and were given a brief introduction to each new plate by Sean, a development chef at YO! We tried seven of the new twelve dishes and enjoyed an Asahi beer along with the meal.
The new plates include hot Asian street food trends including Chicken Katsu Sando and traditional Tokyo Banana Cake. Eagle eyed diners may have noticed the 'Sushi' has been dropped from the restaurants logo and frontage. The new menu certainly moves away from the raw fish side of Japanese cuisine. There may be less fish on offer but now more choice overall on the menu.
Things kicked off with Chicken Katsu Sando, a plate that's YO!’s bestselling dish in New York. There's tasty chicken thigh coated in a panko crumb nestling between soft white bread that’s spread with a satisfying tangy tonkatsu sauce and Japanese mustard. This was followed by a Beef Katsu, a dish served in Japan since the 19th century. The YO! twist comes in the form of seasoned mince beef coated in a crispy panko crumb with a drizzle of fruity tonkatsu sauce. What’s more, this contemporary comfort dish is one of three winners from Group Executive Chef Mike Lewis’s ‘fresh tastes of Japan’ competition; a process which saw Lewis invite his talented teams to test their creative talents, crafting delicious new dishes worthy of YO!’s famous Kaiten belt.
Our favourite dish of the event was the Osaka Style Squid, crispy fried, responsibly-sourced squid topped with smoky bonito flakes, aonori, beni shoga, mayonnaise and tonkatsu - a wonderful flavour and texture. Another winner is the Seared Beef Roll, tender beef wrapped around fresh, homemade tsukemon pickles with a dusting of shichimi powder. Putting a mouth-watering spin on tradition, YO!’s irresistible Pork Teriyaki is a must-try dish. Comprising of perfectly tender slices of pork belly served in a sweet and salty teriyaki glaze, this heavenly hot dish is accompanied with a soft-boiled egg in true Japanese style. The only new fish-dish is the Cod Nanbanzuke. This sweet and sour plate has crispy fried cod bites have been dipped in a temptingly tangy sauce for a seafood taste sensation.
Tokyo Banana Cake is a new dessert item, it has fresh cream swirled into a delicate banana sponge. This authentic handmade dessert is commonly sold at Japanese train stations and purchased as a homecoming gift. It's a well sized dessert that is an ideal end to a meal at YO!
Dishes range from £2.20 to £6 and are colour coded. You can pick dishes from the conveyor belt or ask for specials to be made up for you. If you really fall for a particular dish you can 'Go Sumo' for £9 and get the dish in a larger size. Dishes stack up and you pay at the end.
The kitchen is on full view at YO! and it's always entertaining to watch the skilled chefs preparing the myriad of dishes.
- 8 Old Christchurch Road
- BH1 1LG
- Telephone: 01202 048940