Eating simple Japanese food at Yo Sushi, Whiteley [review]

This is a review of my meal at Yo Sushi Japanese restaurant at Whiteley Shopping Village near Fareham.

One of the reasons I rarely order things like steak, roast dinner, a cooked breakfast or pasta when I eat out is because I always go for foods that I wouldn’t normally cook at home.

One food I can’t prepare at home is Japanese food. And while my friend Sarah assures me that sushi dishes are easy to make at home once you know how, I haven’t got around to learning yet.

We used to head to Old Town Kitchen or Zen in Southampton to get our sushi and sashimi fix.

Recently though we’ve been nipping over to Yo Sushi in Whiteley Shopping Village, which is a bit handier for us to get to from Hedge End.

We popped over there again last night for dinner.

Conveyor belt food

Although Yo Sushi is a UK company, its restaurants are in the style of Japan’s Kaiten-zushi bars.

This is how it works: a selection of cold dishes move through the restaurant on a conveyor belt. When you see something you want, you simply reach over and take it from the belt. As such, it’s great if you’re in a rush as you can eat as soon as you arrive. It’s fun for kids too.

Waiting staff take orders for hot food and dishes not available on the belt. They’ll take your drinks orders too – there’s an array of Japanese and European alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks available.

Simply press the button on your table to get their attention.

File 09-07-2016, 21 19 47 Colours

The cost of each dish is based on the colour of the plate or bowl it comes on (green, blue, purple, orange, pink, grey or yellow). Prices range from £2 (green) to £6 (yellow).

When you’re ready to leave, staff tot up the cost by looking at what plates and bowls you have on your table.

File 09-07-2016, 21 23 06 Seating is at small booths or on stools at the bar overlooking the open-plan kitchen where you can see chefs preparing food. It’s all very cool.

The Whiteley branch is in its own glass pod in the middle of one of the shopping centre’s “streets”. So you can watch the world go by as you munch on your maki and sip on your saki.

File 09-07-2016, 21 22 21 Not that I had saki tonight.

Instead, I stuck to tap water. There’s also unlimited still or sparkling filtered water from the taps on the tables for £1.20. Plus wasabi, soy sauce, pickled ginger to accompany your food as well as napkins and chopsticks.

File 09-07-2016, 21 15 47 Before we got stuck in to some dishes from the conveyor belt, I ordered a miso soup to share with Tiff (£2.20 – unlimited refills). Plus a chicken katsu curry (£4.45), despite this being one dish I do know how to make at home.

File 09-07-2016, 21 21 11 Less adventurous

Yo Sushi has recently launched its new summer menu. However, as you’ll know if you’ve been following my search for Hampshire’s best burger, I’m not very adventurous when it comes to trying new food. So I stuck to what I know best, even though the portions are the ideal size for sampling.

I started off with a simple yellowfin tuna maki (£2 for four servings) and an even simpler kappa maki (cucumber roll) (£2). I think it’s probably the soy sauce, wasabi and picked ginger I like most about eating Japanese food. And these simple dishes are a great accompaniment to that magic combination, even though it should really be the other way round.

File 09-07-2016, 21 20 46 File 09-07-2016, 21 20 30 Soon my chicken katsu curry, complete with rice and pickled strands of ginger, arrived.

This isn’t the healthiest dish, so it’s handy to have a smaller portion.

File 09-07-2016, 21 22 01 After I scoffed that down, I swiped a salmon sashimi (£4.45) off the conveyor belt. Years ago I never thought I’d be able to eat raw fish. Now though, I love it.

And Yo’s is especially fresh. Served with mooli (a type of radish), it’s delicious after a quick dip in wasabi and soy.

File 09-07-2016, 21 21 27 Satisfied

The experts says that eating white rice can leave you feeling unsatisfied. By now though I was already feeling pretty full. That didn’t stop me eyeing up every dish that passed me though. I have the same problem when I eat tapas – I don’t know when to stop.

I satisfied that particular urge with another sushi roll – avocado maki (£2) this time. I’d been having cheeky nibble on a few of the things Tiff was eating too.

File 09-07-2016, 21 22 42 Now though, with my eyes getting bigger than my stomach by the minute, it was time to call it a day. We got the bill and, after counting up our plates, our bill came to £35. Not a bank-breaker for a meal for two, but maybe a little expensive bearing in mind that this didn’t include drinks.

That said, I did enjoy the food. And with noodles, tempura, hand rolls, soups, salads and desserts available, there’s loads of offer for anyone more adventurous than me.

My only major qualm tonight was with the new menus.

They’re in the style of magazine, which makes them a little difficult to navigate, especially as the images of each dish are illustrations rather than photographs. Plus the newspaper the menus are made from makes them feel grimy.

File 09-07-2016, 21 16 52 File 09-07-2016, 21 16 13 Info: Yo Sushi, Whiteley is at Unit K1 in Whiteley Shopping Centre, PO15 7PD pretty much in the centre of the complex. Look out for it between Frankie and Benny’s and Starbucks.

Tom's rating: