Monday, February 05, 2007

Yo! Sushi

Sun 28 Jan 2007

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned the Yo! Sushi 50% off offer. This meant we just had to pop along to Harvey Nicks and have some lunch. Yo! Sushi is on the fourth floor, the other side of the food hall from the Fourth Floor Cafe, and is a world away from pretty much any other type of restaurant.

I first ate at a Yo! Sushi in Bluewater in 2001, and not a lot has changed. There is still the novelty of the conveyor belt of small plates moving past you, and you sit at a counter and take your pick as you please. We headed in around half past 2, thinking that by then the lunchtime rush would be over. It wasn't the case - and we had a very short wait before being squeezed in. It's not the place to go for an intimate lunch, or if you like your personal space.

The great beauty of Yo! Sushi is that you can by pass the menu completely (which is brilliant if you are like me and can never make a decision anyway, and want to try everyone else's food), and just pull dishes from the conveyor belt. This is obviously more risk free if you are relatively well versed in Japanese food, and for those approaching the meal with trepidation, there is an illustrated menu which explains all the different dishes. This assumes that you can find the dish in the menu, work out what's in it, make the decision to eat it and pull the dish from the belt in a timely fashion. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to manage that.

Andy and I had a good collection of dishes - we ended up with 9 or 10 between the two of us. I started with some green beans with sesame dressing (not the best you will ever have - the beans were a bit sad looking and the dressing was somewhat anaemic). After that, we hit our stride with a good range of sushi and sashiemi. While some of the salmon in particular was a vaguely alarming colour I suspect this was the lighting, because all the food actually tasted pretty good. Because we weren't consulting the menu, I can't really describe what we ate - a lot of fish (mostly salmon and tuna, although also a very good, spicy squid salad), with a solid smattering of vegetable based maki. I also managed to sneak in a few pickled vegetables.

Naturally, we were drinking beer with this - Kirin for Andy and a Sapporo for me (although it must be noted that the Sapporo was not the Japanese brew, but rather brewed under licence in Canada).

I find that I fill up quite quickly eating in this kind of snack-like manner, so it didn't take long for us to decide to call for the bill. The bottom line was a whole £22. A bargain. Bear in mind that we were enjoying a 50% discount on the food, so the real total would have been closer to £40. And at that price, we were both unsure as to whether or not we would actually think it had been good value.

Ultimately, I think the first reason to go to Yo! Sushi is probably the conveyor belt novelty. If you are a nervous eater, then there is the extra frisson of being a little unsure about what you are actually eating. However, it's not a cheap way to eat fish, and I suspect that if you were very hungry you could easily rack up a sizeable bill - which could be a nasty surprise!

We did enjoy our food, and the staff we dealt with were all pleasant and efficient. But the overriding atmosphere is cheap, cheerful canteen style food - and it's just a bit too expensive for that.

1. Yo! Sushi, Harvey Nichols, 107-111 Briggate, Leeds, LS1 6AZ, phone 0113 2450612

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