Yo!, the restaurant group best known for sushi conveyor belts and being bright orange, has opened a restaurant without a sushi conveyor belt and with much less orange at Westfield London in White City.
Having reduced its sushi association after rebranding from Yo! Sushi to just ... Yo! ..., the brand is now introducing table service, as well as a sweeping surfeit of pan-Asian dishes. There’s black cod, after Nobu; a Japanese corn dog, which nods to izakaya culture more convincingly than anything else on the “izakaya-inspired” menu and sounds thoroughly good; sashimi pizza, which is actually a seared tuna tortilla and therefore bears no relation to sashimi, or pizza; tonkotsu ramen; kakigori for dessert. It’s long, it’s broad spectrum, it’s probably perfect for the shopping centre location. There is also sushi, just not on a conveyor belt.
90 covers across 2,400 square feet will be attended to with full table service, a first for the group, with the “iconic” coloured plates usually seen snaking around the restaurant replaced by “beautiful earthenware kitchenware.” There’s also a pergola.
All this might sound drastic. But, consider this: Jamie’s Italian, Carluccio’s, Prezzo, and Gourmet Burger Kitchen have all collapsed or seriously struggled precisely because they failed to evolve or innovate. Struggling burger chain Byron Burger has recently announced a total restaurant rebrand — led by an interesting logo — after piecemeal initiatives like mushroom-beef burgers failed. Overhauling an entire brand might seem risky, potentially severing consumer trust and leaving regular diners confused, but when the number of diners coming in simply isn’t enough to make the numbers add up, total evolution — at the mercy of dining trends — is, perhaps, the only viable way forward.
Yo! Kitchen, Westfield London, W12 7GF
Monday — Saturday: 11:00a.m. — 10p.m.
Sunday: 11:30a.m. — 8:30p.m.