From Japanese seabass ceviche to pumpkin katsu curry and yuzu cured salmon salad to beef curry ramen, Yo! Sushi have some exciting new additions to their 2015 menu. Yo! is hands down my favourite ever restaurant chain, making sushi more and more accessible to those who might not think (or dare) to usually try it. As the Highcross Yo! Sushi in Leicester has recently had a swanky face lift, I went along to see what it looked like. And of course, what everything tasted like.
The expected modern and minimalist feel was still very much there, although it felt spruced up with a mix of Japanese prints and glaring neon lights reminiscent of Tokyo. The bustling open kitchen was in full flow for a Friday night and we were lucky enough to grab a booth to take our pick of the sushi plates.
I ordered a selection of new dishes and tucked into old favourites whilst we waited; the Salmon Dragon Rolls (£4.20) and Cucumber Maki (£1.90). The beauty of sushi, and probably one of the reasons I love it so, is that you can pretty much start eating instantly. I always enjoy grabbing a small veggie plate whilst I wait for something that isn't on the belt. The salmon roll is made up of a classic Western inspired Californian roll with crab stick, and then topped with fresh salmon sashimi and shichimi, a Japanese chilli. It's like a jazzed up version of one of the most popular and accessible sushi rolls.
My dining partner went for Crispy Salmon Skin Rolls (£1.90) too, again not raw and a brilliant and delicious way for them to use up the salmon offcuts.
With these, we enjoyed a couple of the new drinks offerings. I had the Yuzu & Pear Juice (£3.00 for 250ml) and he had the Kagua Craft Rouge (£5.80 for 330ml). This is a fruity Nippon craft beer that comes in at a whopping 9%! Having tried a zesty, lemony yuzu juice before, I knew I'd love my drink. Yuzu is a little bitter in the same way as a grapefruit, so the pear balanced it out and made it super refreshing.
First, out came our Oishii Buns! I'd been super excited to try these for a while, having had a go at some similar Chinese steamed buns last year.
The duck was deliciously sticky - all packed up in a soft and sweet bun! Think Hoisin duck pancake and times it by 100. I had the kimchi salmon, which was really tart with a tangy mayo topping and fragrant coriander.
Next I tried the new Tuna Tataki & Ponzu (£4.30), with seared yellowfin tuna, crispy shallots and a tart ponzu sauce. This citrus based sauce made my eyes water, with the crunchy onions creating an opposing sweetness. Really gorgeous sashimi too, which I was pleased to see was yellowfin rather than the critically endangered bluefin.
I tried Soft Shell Crab Tempura (£6.00) next - which was a real hit! I can't quite put my finger on what soft shell tastes like but I just love the texture alongside a light and crispy batter and sweet chilli mayo. Quite pricey, but in my opinion totally worth it.
My boyfriend ordered one of the hot dish specials too - the Beef Curry Ramen bowl (£4.30). This had very similar warming flavours to that of katsu sauce, with a kick of chilli oil. It was a very wholesome and filling bowl with great Japanese veg and fat ramen. However, the least favourite part was the beef, which was really tender but at the same time didn't have much flavour.
One thing I was sad to see went off the menu in favour of new dishes was the sesame seared salmon. Seriously, my favourite ever. I've never seen it in other sushi restaurants either! Just a moment whilst I cry salty soy sauce tears...
So to compensate for this woe, we shared their Salmon Selection plate (£5.00) of sashimi (slices of premium raw salmon), maki (the little rolls) and nigri (slices of salmon on sushi rice). With their gorgeous sushi grade salmon, it just about made up for it. PLEASE BRING IT BACK YO!
Finally, we tried one of the more recent Yo! Sushi desserts, the Strawberry Cheesecake Mochi. I've tried the little glutenous rice morsels before in the old pink and green flavours you may have seen before. Pronounced "moshi," I wasn't really a fan of these until our friendly waitress explained the anatomy of a cheesecake version. With a cream cheese inner, strawberry jam and biscuit crumb, these really are properly yummy. They don't look like much for a photograph - but I urge you to try them!
In all, it's fair to say I still like Yo! just as much as I did before. I'm giving them 9.5/10 because they've dropped the sesame seared salmon. (Watch this space as I'm going to have to try a recipe out to get my fix!) Yo! may not be everyone's cup of green tea and I've not yet been lucky enough to go to Japan and try the real deal. However I just can't fault their inspired dishes, approachable flavours and their ability to keep up with the foodie trends. High five, Yo!
Have you been to try the new additions to the menu? What is your favourite dish?
Find out more at yosushi.com ♥
Note: We were invited by Highcross Leicester for a complimentary meal to sample the new menu. All opinions are honest and my own.