I haven’t really been posting much as I’ve been kinda busy lately but I was able to drop by the new Yo Sushi on Grainger Street in Newcastle. Yo Sushi used to occupy a space inside Fenwicks food hall which then closed and there was no Yo for about a year or so. I was doubting if it would ever re-open but here we are. It’s a large restaurant which actually used to be two shops joined together, everything inside is shiny and new. It’s actually opposite another quick service sushi joint – Nudo.
If you’ve been to a Yo Sushi you’ll know the deal; I always think of Yo as being a very sanitised version of Japanese cuisine, it’s tasty but very safe. You won’t find much beyond Salmon, Tuna and Crab. For UK sushi it is pretty good, the quality of both fish and rice is decent. As a chain they do a very good job of a consistent taste everywhere you go.
There have been some good menu additions recently the Saba (mackerel) which is on the menu tastes fantastic, in fact I think it’s easily their best sushi dish on the belt. Your mouth will thank you. They’ve also added a favourite of mine – Takoyaki, but the pieces are from frozen and deep fried which gives the balls a bit of a muted flavour profile. The Okonomiyaki fairs better being made fresh but again the flavour somehow seems a bit tame. I also tried their new matcha latte which I didn’t think had a strong enough flavour, also the matcha roll cake sadly just tasted like cream and had a crumbly texture. I don’t think I’d order it again.
As for the layout in this particular shop I find it a bit awkward, the belt just has some difficult seating in that it feels like your dining a little too close to other people. I always find the clientele in Yo fascinating and I’m often surprised at how many kids under the age of 10 you see. Somehow when I’m in there I get sat opposite a sushi newbie or someone who’s visibly having a bad day. I actually sat opposite someone once who complained their miso tasted ‘fishy’ and that they didn’t like fish, a very pacient staff member went through the non fish dishes on the menu with them. It’s the downside of their shops layout.
Another thing that’s a minor irritation – they play generic pop music when they have a DVD of JPop videos playing on their TVs. Just play the JPop!
On this visit everything tasted really fresh even though it was blue Monday, in the past I’ve sometimes found the quality to be better on some days than others. It feels like they’ve been putting a lot of effort into the taste of their dishes particularly the vegan and vegetarian options. That effort really shows but it’s not the same as even the cheapest sushi in Japan, clearly I’ve been spoiled. It is expensive but it’s fun and in the main tastes consistently good. 7/10