Situated on Park Street in what used to be a Starbucks, is new(ish) Japanese restaurant Yakinori, which opened its doors in July of this year (I know, we are a bit late to the party on this one!)
With two other restaurants in Birmingham, both with pretty solid reputations, we went along to see what was on offer and how it fares amongst its Bristol counterparts.
The restaurant is large, with a help yourself fridge placed conveniently by the front door for those who are looking to grab and go (you can also place orders for hot takeaway food as well). It’s filled with sushi, cold drinks and fresh fruit juices. The space on the right hand side of the restaurant is made up of an open kitchen; chefs hand rolling sushi, prepping dishes and cooking for customers orders, it’s a fantastic spot for the voyeur. You can grab a stool at the bar in front of this station, perfect for stopping by for a quick lunch or bite to eat.
Vibrant colours adorn the surfaces at Yakinori, with striking orange, green and red colours slapped onto the walls alongside Japanese cartoon figures. There is also another downstairs seating area, so plenty of space – almost deceivingly so from an outside glance.
We ordered starters to share; duck gyoza with a plum sauce, a selection of sashimi and soft shell crab tempura. We weren’t waiting long for these dishes to arrive and they were fresh, with the tuna sashimi in particular tasting delicious. The portions were generous and I felt the size reflected the price (roughly the £7.50 mark). The soft shell crab was crispy and tasted good. The gyoza was pleasant enough but cannot stand up to Eatchu’s, although that is down to personal preference.
With the sashimi whetting my appetite I decided to go for more at the main event. I ordered the ‘Sashimi Don’ (sashimi grade, thickly sliced tuna, salmon and hamachi, served with sticky sushi rice. garnished with ikura and mixed leaves, drizzled with yuzu dressing) and the fella had teriyaki sirloin steak (teppan-grill sirloin steak in a teriyaki sauce, served on a bed of stir-fried soba noodle with courgette, peppers, onion, broccoli and bean sprouts. nished with roasted sesame seeds). Both dishes were roughly £15. Again, the portions were not shy. I was pleased with the thick, fleshy slices of delicious fresh sashimi sitting atop a bed of sticky rice, my only qualm being once I had eaten the fish, I then had to use a lot of soy sauce to add some flavour to the rice. The teriyaki steak was cooked as we’d requested and there was lots of it. The sauce tasted wonderful and the fresh vegetables added a welcome crunch and gave some texture to the dish overall.
The menu at Yakinori is extensive with plenty of choice and impressively there are also lots of alcoholic and soft beverages to choose from. Milky and fruity bubble teas, a selection of Japanese beers and your run of the mill wines and beers. You can also order sushi platters for if there are a large group of you, or for a party. Yakinori also offer lunch deals which are perfect for those who work and live close to Park Street. The manager Max was really friendly and passionate, which radiated off him when we sat with him afterwards for a chat, I love to see that when I visit a place.
If you are a fan of fresh Japanese food and a nice friendly atmosphere, then Yakinori is a great spot to grab lunch or dinner with your mates or as a family; it’s also quick, easy and convenient. Oh, try the sashimi.