Earlier this week, I went for dinner with a friend to YO! Sushi, who currently are promoting their January sale featuring 11 vegan dishes, all at £2.80 Monday-Friday, including two new options that have been added specially to the menu. With the explosion in popularity and awareness of Veganuary, a good number of restaurants are expanding their vegan offering, or at least using it as an opportunity for a marketing push for their already existing vegan-friendly options – great news for those of us who enjoy eating out!
We ordered a mixture of freshly prepared dishes and some sushi off the conveyor belt. With Katy only choosing veggie options too, we both noted that it was quite difficult to identify which ones were safe. Perhaps there should be a green sticker on the dishes or something to show that they were at least vegetarian? Some of the clear plastic lids on the sushi were steamed up, and regardless we know that the photography on the menus rarely looks like the actual dish as it’s presented. Despite this, the waiter was super helpful and friendly so we didn’t really have an issue finding what we wanted – it’s just something the restaurant could perhaps consider for future.
Having tried YO!’s PETA-award winning tofu Katsu curry before and enjoying it a lot, I decided to try the pumpkin version this time. Sent round to us on a little remote controlled cart above the conveyor belt, we didn’t have to wait long at all for our curries to arrive. The pumpkin was crispy on the outside but sticky and soft in the middle, and was pretty sweet, going well with that familiar katsu curry flavour. I felt this was definitely the best value dish of the evening, as the bowl was full to the brim with the sticky rice and a generous pouring of curry sauce. Katy ordered the tofu curry and that seemed to go down well too! There aren’t many places you can get a vegan katsu curry so if you’re missing that I definitely recommend trying either of these two out.
I also ordered the Harusame Aubergine, which I’d expected to come warm but was actually a cold aubergine salad in a soy dressing. I love aubergine, and this was fried so that the skin was a bit chewy but the fruit flesh melted in your mouth. It was nice, but though it didn’t come straight off the conveyor belt, I got the sense that it still wasn’t particularly fresh. The gingery garlic flavoured dressing complimented the aubergine perfectly, so in terms of flavour it was good. Overall, probably on the level of what I expect from a chain, and perfectly edible but I wouldn’t necessarily choose it again.
The Spicy Pepper Cauliflower is one of the new vegan dishes on the menu, served with a sprinkling of spring onion and chilli. The cauliflower is deep fried, with a crispy salt and pepper seasoned batter not dissimilar to that you’d find at KFC. This is the best way to eat cauliflower in my opinion, and certainly the best way to make a healthy thing unhealthy! Pretty greasy and definitely not gourmet but fairly enjoyable none the less – more of a hit for me than the aubergine.
To finish off i picked the Inari Nigiri off the conveyor. The sugary tofu parcel filled with sticky rice was deliciously sweet, and stodgy but in kind of the best way. It was Katy’s first time trying it and she loved it, saying it tasted like a yum yum, which I think is a fairly accurate description! While these were very enjoyable, and a decent portion size for the price, they didn’t remotely compare to the quality of the fresh inari sushi I tried from Roll With Me Sushi. Good for a casual meal out, but maybe you’d want something a bit nicer if you were treating yourself.
With the plates all at such a low price, I probably chose a lot more food than I needed (in fact, I took two of my sushi home with me as I got too full to eat them), and I felt it was a really good value meal for what it was. Conversely, had I gone outside of the hours of the deal, it would have been quite expensive to eat enough food to fill me up, and in terms of the quality of the food I admit I probably wouldn’t want to pay much more than I did. A quick look at their website shows you probably never need to pay full price if you’re savvy about when you go – the £2.80 offer is valid all year round on Mondays, but otherwise YO! offer a 25% student discount, 1/3 off on your birthday, or a supersized bowl of katsu curry for £9 (my favourite thing on their menu and probably more worth the money).