Are you a fan of Japanese food? I absolutely love it — maybe I was smitten from the moment I took my first bite of a Wagamama dish. Aside from Wagamama, I’ve also visited YO! Sushi before — the setup’s so cool!
YO! Sushi is a bit different to other restaurants. Though you can order from a waiter or waitress as you would in other restaurants, lots of dishes are right there for the taking. They make their way around the restaurant on different coloured plates on a conveyor belt, the food passing by you right in front of your eyes. It gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘fast food’!
During October’s Cheltenham Literature Festival, I visited the Cheltenham branch of YO! Sushi during the daytime on a Saturday in October. I had a purple plate of chicken sushi and, from the menu, a diet coke, a chicken fried rice dish and (for dessert) the chocolate mochi balls (mochi is delicious — a doughy-like dessert with a filling). Overall, I paid £15.05 for my meal.
Based on notes I took during my visit, here are the positive and negative aspects of my experience:
- The food was tasty (I especially remember the fried rice and mochi balls)
- There was a nice ambience in the restaurant. Lots of people were eating there at the time, and the place had a nice vibe
- The restaurant was clean overall
- The amount of dishes I got for just over £15 was good, given the overall standard of the restaurant. For that price, I got a drink, a main meal, some sushi and a dessert
- It took a while to be shown to a table
- The button table service that YO! Sushi offers at its restaurants could have been improved at this branch. Both times I pushed the button where I was sitting, I wasn’t sure it was working, given that nothing seemed to light up and it took a while for me to be served. The second time, the member of staff eating his lunch just down from my seat actually alerted someone working at the time, suggesting the button service was below par
- There was no fork nor soy sauce on offer at my table
- I believe the restaurant is open-plan in that chefs cook in front of customers, but the calls for service were loud (according to my notes)
- To get to an area off-limits to customers, staff were squeezing through a small space starting at floor-level, which I feel might look a bit odd for diners
- I saw a fly while in the restaurant, which I feel is a bit of a no-no, but I guess it just hadn’t been noticed
- On a very picky note, the restaurant’s conveyor belt seemed to be jolting ever-so-slightly instead of running smoothly. Maybe that’s just how they work if you look at them closely
- Just because I want to say it: why do YO! Sushi advertise water for sale at the tables? Can you get tap water for free?
So what’s my verdict on YO! Sushi Cheltenham? It’s a bit of a tough one to call. If you’re in Cheltenham and you find yourself stuck for somewhere to go for a bite to eat, this place is fine: the food is tasty and there’s a nice vibe. I would go back for the food. However, if the amount of small but important issues I encountered during my visit constitute a regular occurrence at this restaurant, I’m concerned the place will struggle to keep people coming back for more.