Monday, 20 May 2013

Harvey Nichols Yo! Sushi: a terrifying future

Silly food, silly concept. Loved it.

Fast food: even the sushi wouldn't stay still
Like most of London, I've just been to Yo! Sushi. But I'm going to write about it. Not because you should go, and certainly not because you shouldn't, but because you should read about it. Because it is a "dining experience" so far removed the what we would imagine that term to mean that I actually found myself slightly angry.

It was like Mozart (me) being confronted with Cradle of Filth (Yo! Sushi) and wondering what  happened to classical music. It was unrecognisable as anything I perceive as food service. What has happened to the structure, the pomp, the sense of occasion, the waiters.

But wait, there are waiters. Sure, some food comes on a conveyer belt (wtf gf!), bumbling around the restaurant like shit cars from the Jetsons, but the other half you have to order from a prissy waiter. There's no point in the conveyer belt because the company still pays the sodding waiters, and you have to tip them. Apparently bringing hot food straight to your table to order has gone out of fashion, but not so completely out of fashion that we can let go completely. Like deck shoes in Notting Hill.

Sushi on a roll
And on that subject, when did hot food go out of fashion? Why does it now have to do three laps of the restaurant like a fat kid in gym class? I hate faff. I hate wondering whether to pick something, knowing I don't have to decide immediately because it will come back around again. I wanted to chop the arms of the people reaching out and then retracting their arms. Because they wanted it, but just thought that something better might come along. Faff. But then the edamame beans do, and you realise that each second you faff is a second closer to death and, more importantly, a second longer spent wondering why there are sodding conveyer belts. We are not collecting luggage, and this is the Harvey Nichols Food Hall, not an airport.

If this was an airport, the food would probably be as infuriatingly shit as the concept. But it's not. It's cold, for sure; it's slightly congealed, granted; is over-seasoned, inevitably (it's Japanese); it's effing MOVING AWAY FROM YOU. But god help me, that avocado and salmon handroll was addictive with the (yuzu?) mayo, the gyoza crispy and light, and the korroke (deep-fried meat and/or pumpkin with a sweet and sour dip) as addictive as anything I've ever eaten.

In fact, within about 10 minutes I'd eaten £20 of sushi, and still had eyes for more. And suddenly I understood Yo! Sushi. It throws all kinds of food at you, tempting you and never quite disappointing you, always sucking you in for more. By the time the Generation Game of food was almost over I couldn't remember a single dish. If Jim Davidson had asked me to recite them all I'd have been able to do (after punching him in his misogynistic mouth) would be belch and ask for the cheque. Or pudding.

I was hooked. I saw the rainbow mounds of plates on other people's tables and thought "I can do that. Gimme those chopsticks". Before you know it you've built a gay pride flag out of sushi plates and spent a week's wages. It's damned clever and means the owners of Yo! Sushi must be very pleased with themselves. And the great thing is, their customers are too.

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