On Monday I found out that I was going to an event with the Bournemouth Bloggers to Yo! the next day to taste their new menu items. It was well timed as I was home alone and it meant that I wouldn’t have to cook for myself. My only slight concern was that I had never eaten sushi before. I know its a crime, I mean how can I be a human without eating sushi! I admit, I originally believed that sushi was just raw fish, but I was SO wrong. According to the head chief sushi is anything with vinegard rice. I found this absaloutly crazy and couldn’t believe it. I was also told that they are rebranding YO! Sushi as they are dropping the Sushi part from the name of their brand as only 49% of the food that they serve is actually sushi.
Now like I said I had never eaten sushi before, let alone been in a YO! Sushi, so this was a whole new experience for me so I was super excited when I got the invitation to go and try their brand new menu items! For the new Flavours of Japan menu, they went back to Japan and looked at the different street food items to create the brand new authentic Japanese menu items.
We were lucky enough to try 7 different dishes from the new menu
Bullet-Train Chicken Katsu Sando
Now this one may look like your ordinary chicken sandwich, however it is no ordinary sandwich. Originally this is the staple snack of street vendors and food carts across Japan’s network of Bullet-trains, however YO! have put their own spin on it. This dish has succulent chicken thighs which is coated in the panko crumb and fried to the perfect crisp, then covered in Tonkatsu sauce and placed between white bread. According to the press release this dish also comes with a spread of Japanese Mustard, however we did not have this in our meal, therefore if you are not a fan of mustard they can easily make it for you without the mustard.
This was the first dish that we had and it was seriously yummy! I didn’t think that anything else would match how good this was!
Fruity Beef Katsu
This dish was created by one of the Head Chefs as part of YO!’s Fresh Tastes of Japan competition. This is seasons mince beef in a crispy panko crumb, fried until golden and then topped with a generous drizzle of fruity Tonkatsu sauce.
If you want my honest opinion, this one tasted like a beef burger! The waitress even said at the beginning that everyone will like this one as it literally does taste like a burger, so if you have little ones this is probably a good option. It is also served with white cabbage which went really nicely, but the waitress also told me that YO! have now started to serve fries as a dish which would go perfectly with this dish, however these aren’t your ordinary fries. From what I remember the fries had some spices on and also some Japanese Mayo (its probably better to ask the waitress than rely on that terrible description!).
Sweet & Sour Cod Nanbanzuke
This is another head chef masterpiece. This dish involved fresh pieces of cod, fried until crisped dipped into our tangy ‘Nanabn’ sauce.
I’m going to be honest with you, when I first read the press release I wasn’t sure about this one! I knew that I loved cod and I love sweet & sour sauce, but I seriously could not imagine them together, and I couldn’t have been more wrong. This dish was a firm favourite, I even think topping the Bullet-Train Katsu Sando! The sauce tasted exactly the same as what you would get at a chinese takeaway except it wasn’t that ridiculous orange colour! Also, the batter was just a lot lighter than a normal batter you would get at a fish and chip shop. This was also a firm favourite with all of the Bournemouth Bloggers!
Seared Beef & Pickle Roll
Who says sushi has to be raw fish? Tender beef wrapped around fresh homemade pickles with a dusting of shichimi powder for that added kick.
This was a dish that I was excited to try as it was the only real sushi dish that we were trying. And I’m not going to lie, I didn’t particularly like it to begin with. The beef was to tough and the rice was just too dry. Some of the other bloggers said it was too spicy for them, however I found it the perfect amount of spice otherwise it would have been too bland for me as I have a high spice tolerance. This dish is also one that I would not recommend to eat if you are on a first date! It was too big to put in your mouth all at once but it was just too tough to bite, therefore there was no elegant way of eating this so I wouldn’t have chosen this if I was on a date! As it was all a little bit tough and a little dry I thought it would be a better idea to put somme soy sauce on it. This made me like it much more so than before and I actually thought it was alright! So would 100% recommend putting some soy sauce on as it makes it so much nicer!
Izakaya Pork Teriyaki
This is a delicacy in the back-street bars of Japan’s Izakayas. The Pork Teriyaki uses perfectly tender slices of pork belly served in a sweet and salty teriyaki glaze. This rich dish is paired with a soft-boiled egg.
Now I know what your thinking. “Egg??? With pork?? NO WAY.” I was thinking exactly the same thing as you. I thought that there was no way that it was going to go together and what a weird combination to have! Well, I could not have been more wrong again! The egg was such a nice addition to the not too sweet and not too salty pork. I would seriously recommend giving the egg a go with the pork. I was seriously so surprised that I liked the egg with it. It made the pork so creamy and it just melted in the mouth and it was just a gorgeous experience that you need to be there for!
This is YO!’s homemade crispy-fried squid osaka style with smoky bonito flakes, aonori, beni shoga, mayonnaise and tonkatsu (I do not know how to pronounce half of these words!).
Now, I have tried squid and was not sure how I felt about this one, when it came it smelt absaloutly delicious and it looked super yummy! Now, my only issue was that it was a tad little bit too salty for my personal liking, however it was still yummy and I still ate it, but if there was anything I could do it would be to make it less salty. Another good thing about this is that it didn’t look like squid (no tentacles or anything like that). Therefore, if you gave this to someone without telling them the name of it they would probably think it was just a normal fish or something. I still really enjoyed this one though and the flavours were incredible!
Tokyo Banana Cake
This is fresh cream swirled into a delicate banana sponge topped with chocolate. You can see why this dessert is traditionally given as a homecoming gift in Japan!
Most of you will know reading this that I am not the biggest fan of chocolate, however I still ate all of this up as I could not taste the chocolate in this, so if you are not a chocolate lover this is still a great dessert! I’m not going to lie the cake did taste a tad synthetic to me (I am a tough judge on cake), however the cream swirled throughout made it taste so much nicer and it made it lose the synthetic taste! You can tell I liked it so much that I ended up taking another bit home in a takeaway box!
As you can tell with pretty much all of my ratings that I’m now a big lover of these dishes and I can’t wait to go back and try more!
Over the last few days I have had to convince so many of my friends that YO! is not just sushi, they also include Japanese street food that is incredibly delicious and I can’t wait to go back and try more things from their menu! I highly recommend that you head to your local YO! and try out some of the food there.
A massive thank you to YO! for inviting me and also a MASSIVE thank you to the Bournemouth blogger girls for an incredible night!