Palate Portfolio: YO!

When we heard that YO! had opened up their new pop-up at Boxpark Croydon we knew we needed to journey down south just to try out their new innovative menu! We’re always down to try Japanese food, considering that it’s one of our favourite cuisines. The new Boxpark menu at YO! has been crafted specially to bring some of the old and bold street food flavours of Japan to Western shores.

On arrival everyone there was so lovely and told us that they’d bring over a few of their speciality dishes for us to try – oooh we love surprises! We waited curiously to see what we were in store for and were very pleasantly surprised by the first set of dishes that came out. We started with beautiful looking sushi, although, we soon realised that this wasn’t just any old ordinary/traditional sushi. We tried the ‘Kickin Salmon’, which was made up of salmon, cream cheese, avocado, cucumber, Korean red pepper, crispy shallots and siracha mayo. This one was our favourite of the 3 because you really can’t go wrong with that flavour combo, being one of our all time favourites. Next up we tried the ‘Ramen-in-a-roll’, which was a really interesting take on traditional Ramen. The Ramen-in-a-roll is essentially made up of all things Ramen and thus contained seared pork belly, Naruto fishcake, soy soft egg, tonkotsu bone broth mayo and crispy noodles. This was a really unique sushi roll and is not something we’ve ever had before but definitely would have again! Lastly, we tried the ‘A-hi! Mango’ that was made up of seared albacore tuna, jalapeño, pickled onion, fresh mango, truffle ponzu and shichimi. We loved the freshness the mango brought to the dish as well as the sweet-savory flavour combo the dish offered. YUM.

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Kickin Salmon (Top), Ramen-in-a-roll (Left) and A-hi! Mango (Right)

Next up we were brought some sashimi, snacks and sides to try and they smelled AMAZING. Firstly, we tried the Tuna, Salmon and Yuzu Tartare, which was made up of Albacore tuna, salmon, yuzu tobiko, lotus root crisps (yes) and chilli ponzu. The dish was very light, fresh and zesty; the lotus root crisps were the wow-factor, adding that extra crunch to the dish. We also had some Furikake fries, which were fries with siracha mayo, yuzu furikake, aonori and smoky bonito and we LOVED these (but really you can’t go terribly wrong with fries). However, our fav of the trio of dishes we received was definitely the takoyaki – being our favourite Japanese street food item of all time (we couldn’t get enough of these in Osaka last summer!). Takoyaki is fried octopus dough balls with mayo and bonito flakes. When you bite into these balls of dough, the octopus flavour and the juicy goodness just bursts into your mouth, which was sensational (6 of these most certainly was not enough).

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Tuna, Salmon and Yuzu Tartare (Top Right), Takoyaki (Middle Left) and Furikake Fries (Bottom Right)

After devouring those magnificent dishes we were then handed our final trio of delectable goodies. Firstly, we tried the delicious Chicken Gyozas – 5 beautiful little parcels of absolute goodness. The orange ponzu dipping sauce was another plus because that was so darn good too. We then moved on to trying those Spicy Korean Gochujang hot wings, which were crispy fried, marinated in sake, miring, soy and lemon and topped with that sticky, sweet and spicy hot sauce. Those wings were oh-so fine and things started to get reaaallly messy.

You got buns hun? Well YO! certainly do!! We were most excited to try some of the buns here so we saved what we thought was the best for last (and we were right)! We got to try the Pork buns, which were stuffed with Teriyaki glazed pork belly, homemade pickled onions and cucumber. The buns were fluffy and light, and the filling was sweet, sticky and the meat incredibly tender. All of that accompanied by the crunchy and fresh cucumber and spring onions just brought the dish together.

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Overall, the entire culinary experience was really quite something. The menu itself was rather unique and presented some really bold, new, creative and fun dishes. When we’re back in Croydon we’ll definitely hit up YO! not only for the amazing food but the incredible, friendly and lovely people that work there too.

S.B.


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