Lunch at the YO! Sushi in Harvey Nichols in the Victoria Quarter in Leeds
YO! Sushi, 4th Floor, Harvey Nichols, 107-111 Briggate, Leeds, LS1 6AZ.
YO! Sushi are a chain of Japanese inspired sushi restaurants. This branch is on the fourth floor of the Harvey Nichols in the Victoria Quarter in Leeds, a set of linked shopping arcades. Access to the restaurant is from the department store itself, even outside of the store's normal opening hours. Nearby parking includes some limited on street as well as various multi-storey car parks.
For those who do not fancy sushi, it is not just raw fish, as that's classed as sashimi. The restaurant serves a range of cooked dishes, both hot and cold, as well as some raw or seared dishes, and a range of sweets.
There is a cooking area in the centre of the restaurant, around which are a number of booths and a counter, at which there are seats. There is a conveyor belt between the eating area and the kitchen, on which dishes are placed and can be taken from it. Dishes not currently available on the conveyor can be ordered; this is done by pressing a call button and placing your order, which will then be made for you. On entering into the restaurant, you are shown to a seat and asked if you have visited before and are therefore familiar with how the place works. If it is your first visit, the process will be explained. After you have finished, your dishes are totalled up and you can go and pay for your meal.
At the booths and seating areas there are wooden chopsticks, easy chopsticks and spoons, paper napkins, a stack of small dishes, a container of wasabi, a hot Japanese horseradish, one of pickled ginger and a bottle of Japanese soya sauce. The various dishes come on coloured plates ranging, for the normal dishes, from £1.95 to £5, with some £6 specials also available.
The branch was visited early on a weekday lunchtime and was very quiet when entered, with not many dishes on the conveyor belt.
Two drinks were ordered, one of which was green tea, which comes with unlimited refills, and the other was a 330 ml bottle of Coca Cola. Five dishes were ordered; two of these were taken from the conveyor belt, and the other three were ordered from the staff.
This consisted of four slices of black pepper seared beef with a coriander dressing. This came with a slice of lime and curls of white Japanese radish. The beef is seared, which means that is only cooked on the outside. There was quite a bit of the coriander dressing, as well as the radish, and the dish was fairly spicy.
Salmon and Yuzu Salsa Tataki
This was five slices of raw salmon that came with a cucumber and cherry tomato salsa on top of it. Ponzu is a Japanese citrus sauce that, in this case, was made with yuzu, a Japanese citrus fruit. This was quite flavoursome, although raw salmon will not be to everyone's taste.
Spicy Pepper Squid
This was five pieces of squid that had been coated in a crispy batter and fried. It came with sliced red chilli and spring onion as well as a lemon wedge. This was hot and just cooked and, with the chilli, quite spicy.
Duck and Mango Roll
This was two rolls that were wrapped in a yellow film, which was a mango wrap, that contained sushi rice, shredded duck, cucumber, spring onion and hoisin sauce. The mango wrap was a change from the nori (roast seaweed) that such rolls are normally wrapped in. There was a decent amount of duck in the rolls.
This was sliced chicken thigh covered in Japanese breadcrumbs over which a fruity sauce was poured and served on a bed of sliced white cabbage. There was plenty of sauce, more than enough for the chicken and enough to eat the cabbage with too.
The cost of the meal including drinks came to £16.45. The restaurant was visited during a promotional period known as September Blues, where 50 of the dishes, which were of various types, both hot and cold and including a couple of desserts, were served on the blue dishes, making them all cost £2.50 rather than their normal price, which resulted in a saving of £6.50 for the meal. This applied to those dishes that were on the belt, and those that needed ordering. Sometimes, the promotional prices only apply to dishes that are made and on the belt and not to those that need ordering.
One advantage of YO! Sushi is that you can eat as little, or as much, as you like, depending on how hungry you are, by simply selecting the number of dishes that you want. Each dish is unlikely to be enough to make more than a snack in itself, but several can quickly become a meal.
The service, when needed, was prompt and friendly. All the food was tasty, and much of it was freshly cooked. This YO! Sushi is recommended for anyone who wants a flexible meal, and don't expect everything to be raw fish, as it isn't.