Yo! Sushi, Bluewater Shopping Centre, Kent
We’ve walked past Yo! Sushi at Bluewater at least 374 times… Well, we’re not keen on sushi, despite trying it several times, so why would we like Yo! Sushi? How can we be SO wrong! After a casual tweet about a Katsu curry not being up to its usual high standards, we were invited along to try Yo’s new winter menu. An example of how powerful social media can be and that Yo! Sushi are using it well. We didn’t know what to expect. But as we waited to be seated, I caught a glimpse of the soft shell crab and my face lit up!
We sat in our little booth, our waiter gave the lowdown on how Yo! works. Basically you help yourself to the colour coded plates on the conveyor belt that weaves through the restaurant. (Yo! Sushi fact 1 – The food conveyor belt at Bluewater is definitely the longest in Europe and possibly the world!) Hot items are ordered via the waiter by pressing the ‘fun button’ on the table.
The Bluewater branch of Yo! was packed, even the recent launch of Westfield Stratford City hasn’t slowed trade. (Yo! Sushi fact 2 – Bluewater is the second busiest branch in the UK, behind Heathrow and serves up to 1000 people a day!) Now that Glow Bluewater has opened, with our favourite Wahaca and good old Wagamama we’re going to be spoilt for choice.
We skipped the dishes from the conveyor and tried ALL the new winter katsu dishes…
We will start with our least favourite, Tofu katsu £2.90, it had the texture of a firm crème caramel while the dipping sauce was ultra salty, it made my lips tingle. But the quality, thickness and taste of the Japanese bread crumb on all the katsu dishes was the best we’ve had to date (the offerings being from Tsuru and Satsuma). We have yet to try Wagamama’s katsu, which my lovely food-loving colleague Farzana is still insisting is the best out there.
One of my favourites from Satsuma, the Soft shell crab £5.00 looked exactly like a deep-fried crab! (Satsuma had broken the pieces up). The legs were very crispy with hardly any meat but the crunch was very satisfying. The body had very tender and flakey white meat while the chilli sauce added a nice little kick. Next up came the Crab Onigiri (currently a special), soft balls of sticky rice, crab meat, coriander and chopped spring onion served with a light mayo type dressing with a hint of mustard or possibly wasabi. The balls had a much stronger fishy taste than the Soft shell crab. These were Saffron’s favourite, especially when dipped in one of the hot chilli sauce.
The Beef & ginger katsu £3.90 was my star of the show. The ground beef made a nice change from the white meats of chicken and fish, even the Japanese bread crumb took on a darker appearance, a bit like a posh corned beef fritter! Not too much ginger and topped in a sweet fruity sauce, the Beni shōga (a type of Japanese pickle) was a tasty bonus!
The delicate Tilapia katsu £3.40 was good, but easily overpowered by the coriander in the mayo, which tasted a little like tartar sauce. Nice to see Tilapia on the menu though, we are big fans. Saff’s favourite, as ever, was the Chicken katsu curry £3.90. We weren’t given the choice of breast or thigh meat (like Tsuru does), but the rice was light and fluffy and it was served with a good portion of curry sauce, which is vital! Saff liked the occasional hit from the fresh ginger pickle that’s sprinkled on top. All in all, on a par with the best katsu she’s had. But she missed the chunks of potato that she gets in her regular Katsu.
Next time we visit we’re going to take advantage of Blue Monday (see above) and try some of the other dishes on the menu. The Prawn tempura and Dorayaki (sweet pancakes) are top of my hit list! (Yo! Sushi fact 3 – There are over 90 dishes on their menu, over 25% of which are vegetarian.) Another thing we happily noticed was the amount of young children with their parents, there were probably more kids there than at Pizza Express. It’s great to see kids being adventurous and not opting for a Maccy D’s. Yo! even run a Sushi School for kids called Mini Ninjas, going to look into that for my two children.
With an average person eating 4-5 dishes and spending between £14-£20, it’s a fantastic way to try freshly prepared japanese food in a fast and fun way.