Recently, I went with a very good friend to Chekov’s 3 Sisters, at the Young Vic. My friend had organised the tickets (second row, no big deal), so I was in charge of organising the dinner. I very much like to eat out, but I have 2 very specific requirements of restaurants.
1. I usually bike everywhere, so arrive for almost every social occasion desperately thirsty. Any restaurant who bothers to bring me the ‘vat of water’ I have begged for quickly will instantly rise in my opinion. (Which, obviously, is extremely important to them, I imagine).
2. I am happy to spend money in restaurants. I am fully aware of mark-ups, and price hiking, and overheads and so on, and I still think that the whole arrangement is splendid- the idea that you get to choose exactly what you want, that someone else makes it, and you don’t have to clean up afterwards. I am only unhappy if I leave a restaurant still hungry.
With these requirements in mind, I made my dinner choice carefully. Having been the victim of several ‘serious discussions’ from my housemates on why ‘it is not normal to eat an entire loaf of bread for dinner’, I plumped for sushi.
I was first taken to YO! Sushi years and years ago, when it had just opened its first London restaurant. To this day, I am saddened by its later removal of the original drinks-delivery robots, who used to beep alarmingly whenever an unsuspecting customer stood in their path.
Luckily, they have continued to serve their food on those awesome conveyor belts, so, swallowing sadness about my lost robot friend, I decided to book us in there.
‘I need these,’ I told my friend, as we sat down. ‘These little at-the-table fizzy and still water taps. You know how some people have those boiling water taps? These are so much better.’ My friend mumbled something indistinctly through a mouthful of salmon sashimi. ‘You’re right,’ I continued. ‘I should start eating.’
When I was first taken to YO! Sushi I gleefully told my Mother that, here, finally, was a restaurant where you were encouraged to play with your food. ‘Look,’ I exclaimed happily. ‘The dishes go around on the conveyor belt, and you snatch them off and eat them! The person with the most empty dishes at the end wins.’ Although my Mother tried valiantly to convince me that this was in fact not correct, I still approach YO! Sushi in the same manner.
Salmon sashimi (very good, and they have lots of fresh ginger on the table which is awesome, because often Japanese restaurants are very stingy with the fresh ginger and you keep having to ask for it and they hate you and spit in your green tea).
Chicken Gyoza (which, taking the advice of my friend, I ordered hot from the waiter) were excellent, and as somewhat of a dumpling expert, I feel confident in saying this. (I have become a dumpling expert through an arduous process of trial-and-error, shovelling dumplings into my face weekly all over the world. I am also a toothbrushing expert, but there is no need to show off).
Soft-shell crab inside-out roll (because I love love love soft shell crab and don’t like to play by the rules- once I even ate an after-eight mint for breakfast. It tasted horrible, but that might have had more to do with it being breakfast time than being before 8pm).
Fresh crab and mango inside-out roll (because it is terribly important to eat fresh fruit, and this concoction of Fresh crab, avocado and mayonnaise wrapped with fresh mango with keta caviar looked absurdly delicious).
I would have eaten more (I am always exceptionally keen to win) but we had to pop off and see the play. My friend ate some things too, but as her end tower of stacked empty plates was far shorter than mine, I’m not sure it really counts.