With an interior featuring exposed metal and brickwork, and graffiti-style murals, YO! Sushi's new Camden restaurant gives a nod to its urban surroundings. And although sunburst patterns on the walls and ceilings remind you you're in a Japanese-themed chain restaurant, this is not, like with many chains, an identikit outlet.

Ever since 1997, when the button was pushed to start the first conveyor belt, which carried the first plates of sushi rolls to excited customers, the company has been onto a winner. Camden, which opened in March, is its 61st restaurant nationwide and the 24th in London.

But whether or not you care for the surroundings, it's the food that really counts - and raw fish is definitely not everyone's cup of green tea. However, that's not all YO! Sushi is about. With more than 90 Japanese inspired dishes, it's not exclusively for pescatarians. And if you're counting the calories, each dish has its calorific value displayed on the menu.

On a midweek evening visit, my friend and I chose a range of dishes, both from the belt and made to order from the menu. After a quick miso soup, we ordered a chicken katsu - chicken deep fried in breadcrumbs with a fruity sauce, and a chicken katsu curry - served with rice and mild curry sauce. Both arrived within minutes and these flavoursome dishes did not disappoint.

Keeping on the poultry theme, we sampled duck gyoza, delicious little dumplings of tender duck served with moromi miso sauce. Also made to order, we tried some prawn tempura - black tiger prawns fried in a crispy and light batter with tempura sauce.

We grabbed a passing plate of beef tataki from the belt - this tender, seared meat had the subtle flavour of pepper and coriander. I then watched a plate of tuna sashimi make its way round the belt, hoping that another customer didn't swipe it before it reached my table. Nobody did - their loss: the three slices of premium yellowfin tuna loin were excellent.

My friend chose another fish dish, the salmon selection, made up of three slices of premium Scottish salmon sashimi, two salmon nigiri and two salmon maki. Another good choice.

I decided on one more order from the menu, the spicy seafood udon, made of prawns, salmon, squid, vegetables and udon noodles. It left me with little room for anything else.

Well, not quite. There was just enough space to share a plate of dorayaki - delicious pancakes filled with custard, served with a raspberry sauce.

Along with our drinks - Asahi beer, wine and green tea, our tally came to less than £50.

Throughout, service was quick and friendly, and with plenty of Japanese efficiency. With so much choice in the area - and variation in quality - this is a place where you know what you're going to get. And whether you're in a hurry, or want a long, lazy feast, you're probably going to leave happy.

YO! Sushi Camden is at 10 Jamestown Road, Camden Town, NW1 7BY
Telephone: 020 3394 2600
Website: www.yosushi.com
Open: Sunday - Thursday, noon-10pm, and Friday -
Saturday, noon-11pm.
Takeaway available.


If you've never visited a YO! Sushi before, here are some basics. You can choose to eat at the diner-style tables at right angles to the conveyor, or on stools facing the belt. You have the choice of grabbing passing plates from the conveyor belt or ordering straight from the menu - or both. Whatever you go for, chefs freshly prepare everything in front of customers' eyes, pausing only to obey the regular hand washing commands.

Dishes are colour-coded, and priced accordingly, ranging from £1.70 to £5. At the end of the meal a waiter will count up the empty dishes according to colour, add drinks and give you a form to take to the counter to pay.

Nick Elvin