I love sushi, and although I can prepare it myself, I much prefer to let someone else do the work
And I always love visiting Yo! Sushi – whether it’s for a quick bite of lunch before catching a train, or a longer relaxed meal with a glass or two of wine. The only problem I have is that my teenage sons both love going to Yo! Sushi as well. And believe me, two teenage boys can eat a LOT of sushi!
So when Yo! Sushi invited me to visit their new restaurant in Selfridges Birmingham, I didn’t take long to accept the invitation. They’ve actually had a restaurant in Selfridges for quite a few years, and it’s one that I’ve visited on several occasions.
But when they moved to a new location within the store, the restaurant got a swish new look, and an exclusive Selfridges menu. I met up with Mark when he finished work one evening last week, and we paid Yo! Sushi a visit for dinner.
A new look for the new Yo! Sushi restaurant
All of the Yo! Sushi restaurants I’ve visited before have had the same kind of decor. it’s been very fresh and bright, with a lot of colour and energy.
But the new Selfridges restaurant has a very different look and feel.
Gone are the bright colours, and they’ve been replaced with this sleek and modern look.
There’s a lot of blonde wood, polished chrome, and modern sculptural decorations that bring the look of the restaurant right up to date.
And I really love the artwork that runs around the back wall of the restaurant. All in all, I think it’s a great look, and really entices you in to eat.
Of course some of the familiar Yo! Sushi elements remain. There’s still a long bar that you can sit at to eat, and the food still winds its way around the restaurant on a conveyor belt.
But you can also sit in little booths as well, which makes it easier to chat if you’re eating with friends.
First time at Yo! Sushi?
You can find Yo! Sushi restaurants all across the UK – click here to find one near you. But if you have never been to Yo! Sushi before, you may not be quite sure how the concept works. It’s very simple, just a little different to most restaurants in the UK.
You will be seated either at the bar or in a booth, and your drinks order will be taken. Yo! Sushi have a good selection of soft drinks, beers and wines, or you could try a glass of Japanese Sake.
The taps on your table or seating area provide unlimited still or sparkling water for a small fee. You will also find chopsticks and napkins, as well as pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce.
Plates of food travel along the conveyor belt through the restaurant, and when you see something you like, you simply take it off the belt. The colour of each plate shows its price – green and light blue are the cheapest, yellow and grey the most expensive.
New plates get added regularly, but if you can’t see the particular plate that you want, you can order it from the menu by pressing your ‘help’ button.
And when you’ve finished eating, your bill is calculated by simply totting up the different colour plates on your table and adding on your drinks.
But I don’t like raw fish (and other misconceptions)
Every so often, I’ll hear someone saying that they don’t eat sushi because they don’t like raw fish.
This is often because when they picture sushi, they see the little rectangles of rice topped with a piece of raw salmon. That’s a nigiri, and it’s just one type of sushi.
You see, the word sushi actually refers to the rice, which is prepared in a specific way using a special blend of rice vinegar and seasonings.
That rice can then be mixed with all sorts of ingredients and toppings to form a wide variety of different types of sushi. Yes, some of them do include raw fish, but others may include cooked meats, cooked prawns, or vegetables.
In fact, Yo! Sushi have a range of 83 different dishes on their menu. 26 of those are vegetarian, and 16 are vegan – so you can definitely eat at Yo! Sushi if you are not a meat eater. Mark loves the pumpkin katsu in the photo above, and always orders these when we visit.
And the plates of thin slices of raw fish is called sashimi. They do serve sashimi at Yo! Sushi, but you certainly don’t have to eat it if you don’t want to!
Yo! Sushi – our meal at the new Selfridges restaurant
So how was our meal at the new Yo! Sushi at Selfridges?
After being so excited by the restaurant redesign, I’m glad to say that we had a fantastic meal!
Because we’ve been to Yo! Sushi many times, we’ve both got our own favourites that we generally pick up off the conveyor belt. Gyozas, nigiri, little maki rolls filled with fish or vegetables, teryaki beef with chilli andd lime – these are my standard Yo! Sushi fare.
So this time we decided to try some of the Japanese street food from the menu, and to sample some of the exclusive Selfridges menu as well. After we’d picked a couple of plates from the conveyor belt, I rang for assistance and we placed our order.
The platter of Nori Tacos pictured above is one of the items that is exclusive to Selfridges, and they were out of this world.
The Nori (a thin sheet of seaweed) has been fried in tempura batter, which turns it into a crispy, chewy taco shell. That is then filled with sushi rice, and topped with either avocado, salmon or tuna, with a range of complementary seasonings.
It may look as if it will fall apart when you bite into it, but actually the Nori shell does a really good job of containing the fillings. The combination of textures and flavours is amazing – crunchy, chewy Nori, soft slightly sweet rice and then the toppings.
The avocado one was my favourite, combining the creamy avo with spicy sriracha, tangy yuzu salsa and crispy shallots. I could have eaten a platter full of these!
We also ordered a couple of bao (steamed buns) and some furikake fries to try out as well. I’ve seen people eating these on previous visits and always forget about ordering them until I’m too full of sushi.
I chose the Hoisin Duck bao, which was divine – I love hoisin sauce, and the duck was beautifully tender. Combined with the slight crunch of the pickled cucumber and wrapped in a pillowy soft, sweet bao bun, it was just so comforting. I’ll definitely be ordering this again!
Mark decided to go for the Pork Belly bao, and said it was delicious, with melt in the mouth soft belly pork in a sticky sweet sauce.
And the Furikake Fries didn’t disappoint – they arrive with a coating of spicy sriracha mayo and sprinkled with a variety of savoury seasonings.
We placed one final order to round off our meal. Mark ordered the Pumpkin Katsu which is pictured on the purple plate further up the page. And I ordered some of my beloved Salmon Skin Rolls – I have to have these every time I visit.
They’re an inside-out sushi roll, with the rice on the outside, then a layer of nori, and then a filling of salty, savoury shards of fried salmon skin. Believe me, you have to try these!
Normally, Mark would finish off his meal with a plate of the Custard Dorayaki pancakes with their sweet raspberry sauce, but he was too full tonight. So it was time to stack up our plates and ask for the bill.
Yo! Sushi – the Verdict
Our meal was complimentary, but the total bill for our meal at Yo! Sushi came to £54.95. This included two glasses of white wine, two soft drinks, the Nori Taco platter and the 7 plate pictured above.
I think that’s pretty good value for what was a fairly leisurely meal. The food was excellent, and I love the updated look of the new restaurant. I’m still dreaming of those Nori Tacos and the soft, soft bao. I can’t wait for our next visit!
* I visited the Birmingham Selfridges restaurant as a guest of Yo! Sushi, but all opinions remain my own.