Have you heard of Hump Day? For the uninitiated (that was me until last month), it refers to Wednesday, traditionally the mid-point of a week when moods are at an all time low due to the usual 9-5 grind. To put a spring in your step and banish those mid-week blues, I suggest you get down to Yo! Sushi. Pronto.
Yo! Sushi is the latest restaurant to rock up at Intu Derby, which is quickly becoming something of a mecca for foodies. Opening its first restaurant in 1997 to present day, Yo! Sushi now has an enviable international presence after launching across the pond earlier this year. It has that canteen, high-end diner appeal and booths are a good distance apart, so as to maintain a healthy distance from fellow diners. I loved the lights, which I thought were avant garde and pretty.
We were soon seated in Derby’s 60 cover restaurant and having been to a Yo! in Manchester, knew what the deal was. Still, I found myself getting excited as I spied a conveyor belt full of confectionary coloured bowls. For those new to the sushi game, you may want to consult the menu first, which is handily colour-coded. I personally dig the pick-n-mix nature of dining and because I was in the mood for something random, lifted passing dishes as they glided past me.
The thing to bear in mind, is that sushi dining is very much like tapas, where you can sample vast swathes of the menu without breaking the bank or your jeans belt.
We kicked off with the Kalso Salad (sesame marinated Japanese seaweed, edamame, carrot, su-miso). I could have munched on this all day, because the dressing was punchy with a moderate citric tang on the swallow. They say, don’t they, that you feast with the eyes and this little chap didn’t disappoint. Ribbons of emerald green and effervescent orange were a pleasure to behold and fellow diners wouldn’t be blamed if they thought I was gawking at my dish as if it was Sean Connery (who also happens to be a dish).
The lovely Cucumber Maki consisted of sesame seasoned sticky rice with a slight bite, encased in seaweed rolls and topped with a cucumber rectangle. The cool cucumber gave the rolls a nice lift, and I couldn’t resist popping them into my mouth (perhaps a little too quickly) with a dash of soy sauce.
The magicians at Yo! Sushi also serve hot food, and the Hokikaido Scallop Katsu (sweet, succulent breaded scallops) were little mouthfuls of heaven. Their yuzu mayonnaise was beautiful, the creamy, slighty garlicky sauce hitting all the right notes and singing their own gorgeous harmony. That’s what I love about Yo! Sushi. They pay attention to the bigger picture and lavish attention on the finer details, including the jar of wonderfully pungent, pickled ginger preserve that other eateries would charge (albeit a nominal fee) for.
The Kimchee Salmon (kimchee marinated oven-baked salmon, mayonnaise, coriander, spring onion, sesame, served in a steam bun) was the highlight of the menu and my week. I loved it so much, that I will be dedicating a standalone post to it (so if you’re a Yo! Sushi fan, keep your eyes peeled).
Soft Shell Crab Tempura (battered and served with sweet chilli mayonnaise) was reminiscent of onion bhaji but with a fishy, oriental twist. Chicken Gyoza (chicken dumplings served with soy and vinegar sauce) were good, with tender chicken in a crisp pastry with a slight chew. The sauce wasn’t to my taste (I found it a little too sharp and it had a slightly burnt aftertaste) but I was more than happy to dip away in my many pots of yuzu mayonnaise.
Popcorn Shrimp Tempura (glazed shrimps in creamy miso sauce) were tasty, but I couldn’t help feel the sauce was a little too much on the sweet side. So much so, that I didn’t feel like having a pudding (and I always round off my meal with a dessert).
Beverages are reasonably priced, including craft ale, Japanese beer, sake, Prosecco and wine. What I found a teeny bit unusual, is the non-option of free tap-water; instead you are offered bottomless triple-filtered still or fizzy water for a charge of £1.20. I have never been to a place in the past two years, that doesn’t serve free tap water. Maybe I’m used to this, which is what caught me off-guard at there being a charge for tap water.
Alex, the courteous, polite and well-groomed manager runs a tight ship. The service was impeccable, food reached us in light-speed time and our servers on the night (Kirsty, Abbey and Josh) were superstars whom I wanted to hug (I couldn’t because that would be just plain weird).
Yo! Sushi is wonderfully moreish and I cannot recommend highly enough. For fresh, hot of the griddle food that will leave you with a smile on your face, check them out. Hop onto their website here or go and check out the delicious food. Their Blue Plate Mondays (where everything from their conveyor belt is a pocket-friendly £2.70) is the best thing since Hotel Chocolat’s Billionnaire Shortbread Slab).
Star Rating 1-10 (1: “I’d rather eat my own shoe, I hated it that much” – 10: “I’d pillage for a meal here”.)
Value for money: 9
Rate or Slate? Rate. (I’m still dreaming of that Kimchee Salmon.)
*The meal and drinks were courtesy of Yo! Sushi
Address: Derby Intu, Level 2, West Mall, Derby DE1 2PL. Tel: 01332 412304