My youngest sister, while recently visiting, asked if we could eat at Yo Sushi. She lives on the Isle of Wight, you see, and they don’t have one down there. I automatically think of raw fish when I think of this Japanese chain, to be honest. She was taken with the concept of conveyor belt food, while I was intrigued to know what veggies and vegans could chow on if the titular food was taken out of the equation. We popped into the Metrocentre branch, which in itself limits the menu options immediately. In this location tempura and the like are unavailable as they don’t have an extractor fan. With a boast of 15 vegan dishes – although with Tofu Katsu Curry also unavailable the number quoted was not entirely accurate – it sounded like Yo Sushi has it covered.
I always find the conveyor belt daunting, and it would be great if Yo Sushi could perhaps sticker vegetarian & vegan options on there rather than us having to order off a special menu. Trying to work out whether a dish is animal, vegetable or mineral quickly through the plastic dome is like a food version of Russian Roulette for those with dietary requirements. Kinda defeats the whole point of the restaurant though, right? My sister is less fussy (although I’m loathe to use that term when it comes to my ethical choice not to eat meat), meaning straight away she could tuck into the little plates dancing past us. It was great to see a specific menu for vegans though, which many chains are now doing.
We both ordered Vegetable Gyoza, which arrived in super quick time. I started to chew on mine and discovered something suspiciously meaty inside. Upon examination it also looked like meat, at which point I called across the server. It was explained to me that a substitute product called seitan – which is made from gluten, in case you’re interested – is used to give that realistic texture. This surprised me greatly, and not in a good way. If you order vegetables, that’s what you expect. It gave me a bloody fright thinking I’d eaten meat! Many vegetarians and vegans are served up animal products in error so I’m always cautious when dining out. I feel Yo Sushi should mention the inclusion of this ingredient to avoid conversations like this.
Gluten is listed on their allergen menu, as are any other troublesome ingredients. Also ordered was their Pumpkin Katsu (not sure why the Tofu version wasn’t available when this was) and Vegetable Yakisoba. Both dishes were enjoyable, and my sister liked the Chicken Katsu Curry. I couldn’t help but feel we’d have been better off over at Wagamama eating normal portion sizes, however. Also part of a chain, they have a great menu on offer for vegetarians and vegans. I’ve dined in Yo Sushi many times but never tried their desserts. With different flavoured Mochi (glutionous sweet rice balls), Apple Gyoza and Custard Dorayaki on offer, my sister decided we should try whatever was on the conveyor belt. The only vegan pud on offer is their fruit platter, as an FYI. My particular favourite was the Dorayaki, which was served with a particularly tart fruity sauce. It was a bit like a deconstructed Victoria Sponge.
With prices between £2 and £8.50 (for the Sumo) per plate, it quickly turns into an expensive meal if you’re hungry. Our advice is to visit on a Blue Monday, when plates are £2.80 all day. This only applies to dishes on the conveyor belt unfortunately, which poses the issue for veggies and vegans I mentioned above. For the novelty factor Yo Sushi is a nice place for a light lunch, but those with a larger appetite like us are perhaps better suited to visiting somewhere like Waga, or local restaurants like Nudo, instead.
The dishes below are suitable for vegans, although not all branches will offer them as we’ve stated. It may also be possible to ‘veganise’ some of Yo Sushi’s vegetarian options by asking for them without egg, for example, like their Vegetable Futomaki.
Unlimited Miso Soup
Miso Dumpling Ramen with Rice or Yakisoba
Yasai Chana Rice
Tofu Katsu Curry with Rice
Vegetable Futomaki, excluding the Tamago (a Japanese Omelette)
There are other items also available to take away in their cabinets. Best to check with staff to see what is on offer if you are unsure. They seemed quite knowledgeable during our visit.
Thanks for reading,