Yo got to be kidding me…Yo! Japanese street food launches in Glasgow
Back with a bang and a fabulous new location, Yo! should get Glasgow’s sushi lovers excited.
Locations don’t come much better than Yo! (no more sushi, just Yo!) in their newest venture in Glasgow’s city centre.
Floor to ceiling windows offer a birds-eye, triple-aspect view onto the heart of the city, steps away from Buchanan St and that strip’s vibrant dining and nightlife offerings. The space, in a historic listed building, is spectacular.
High, origami inspired wooden ceilings, sleek booths and white subway tiles give the space a serene feel. Considering that traffic flows past at all hours of the day and night, it’s surprisingly easy to sit and watch the hustle and bustle outside whilst feeling entirely removed from it. Shoppers looking to rest and refuel, take note.
The Kaiten belt, a customer favourite, is here, it is skillfully prepared little colour-coded plates tempting as they revolve around you. (just one more?) If sushi isn’t your thing, the sights and smells emanating from the open-plan kitchen should ensure that no-one leaves hungry. Our two hungry little dining companions (Summertime Sushi Specialists) wolfed down chicken katsu sandwiches, gamely trying some sushi but deciding it perhaps wasn’t for them yet. A bowl of miso soup, (you had me at unlimited) unctuous salmon sashimi and a spicy seafood broth hit the spot my side of the table. Seafood heaven.
Yo! feels rejuvenated in its 20th year, and no wonder. Dipping its toes into the US market with a branch in New York’s Flatiron district, expanding the menu’s vegan and vegetarian options, the company has also committed to using only Scottish salmon in its 78 UK restaurants.
The CEO, Robin Rowland explained, “the dropping of sushi from the name was a conscious decision to get back to basics and reconnect with the Japanese food and culture which inspired our creation. Using local produce reinforces that commitment.” Celebrating 18 years with the company, (happy anniversary btw!) he lauded Glasgow’s food and drink scene as ‘genuinely exciting,’ and gave me a sneak peek into the as-yet-undeveloped 2nd-floor area.
After a sneaky peek behind the scenes, on Thursday 7th July the Glasgow Living team headed on down to the evening launch party of Yo! Sushi Central in one of the city’s iconic listed buildings on West George St to sample the sushi, sip the sake and listen to Glasgow soundtrack selection specialists, Sensu on the decks!
We took a little stroll along Buchanan Street and were greeted by a fun red rope welcome at the old Pizza Hut site and papped in true Glasgow style as we walked inside and handed a glass of sparkling sake, a first for me but it was bubbly, sweet and set me up for the night ahead We arrived just after 7 pm and the restaurant was already full to the gunnels and buzzing with the Glasgow glitterati and a never ending supply of sushi and sake – not to mention Asahi beer and a selection of red and white wine. The interior has strong hints of classic Japanese style with a modern twist including a stunning Origami-inspired ceiling and ‘Shoji’ screen-inspired cladding to the internally illuminated belt.
We grabbed a seat across from the kitchen making sure we got the first pick of everything that was put on the traditional sushi conveyor belt and ate way more than we should have but it was too good not to try. The food was theatre: sushi topped with gold leaf, liquid ice pouring out the plates and science pipettes to drip the sauce on your sushi.
Highlights for GlasgowLiving were the katsu prawns, crumbed pork poppers on skewers, the temaki and crispy seaweed but everything we tried was delicious and even had a little ball of chocolate something and a deep fried apple to finish off. The salmon was fresh, delicious and we discovered that from now on only Scottish salmon will be served in YO!’s 78 restaurants across the UK: a win for Scotland and looking after our local businesses plus YO! is one of the only high street restaurants that prepare the food fresh, on site in an open kitchen.
Wow. That’s all I’m allowed to say Glasgow, but wow. Watch this (and that) space.
Yo! 85 West George St, G2 1QG
Phone: 0141 233 0080
Sunday-Thursday: 11:30 am – 10 pm
Friday-Saturday: 11:30 am – 11pm
***Words By Louise Marques & Luciana Markey***