Rhiannon Stickley tries out the takeaway service at Selly Oak’s latest oriental addition, Yakinori: the restaurant everyone is talking about
Yakinori is an attractive new addition to the food scene on Bristol Road. The stylish exterior is far more inviting than the other, more run-down restaurants that Selly has to offer, making me eager to check it out from the moment it caught my eye.
Specialising in sushi and noodles, this modern Japanese restaurant has an excellent takeaway option. You can either chose from the full, eat in menu or if you’re on a tight budget, the Express Menu is great value for money, with food starting from just £3.99.
Ideal if you’re in a hurry, ordering from the Express Menu means almost no waiting time at all, as the food is set out in a buffet style right in front of you. In fact, the overall service is fantastic. Not only were the staff efficient but they were incredibly friendly. My housemate (also an avid foodie) and I, decided on a box of sushi and two bento boxes between us. This worked out at £6.50 each and included five pieces of sushi, a base of either stir fried noodles or steamed rice, plus a choice of three authentic Japanese dishes per box. The bento box is a tray-like plastic lunch box with separate compartments for each individual dish. If you’re indecisive when it comes to food, I would highly recommend this option, as you can experience a little bit of all your favourite flavours in one meal.
The meal itself was really delicious. Our dining room filled with the smell of aromatic Japanese cuisine as soon as we ripped the packaging open. The stir fried salmon was beautifully cooked, falling apart in my mouth with the delicate flavour of the sauce complimenting it perfectly. The texture of the crunchy mangetout and red pepper added a pleasant contrast to the soft fish.
Both the chicken and the prawn katsu got the thumbs up from me, but for different reasons. The golden coating of panko breadcrumbs was far crispier on the king prawns than on the chicken, as the chicken was covered in katsu curry sauce,which, whilst keeping it tender and moist, did turn it slightly soggy. Nevertheless, the flavour, which was sweet and rich, was on par with katsu curries I’ve had before from more established Japanese restaurants such as Wagamamas.
The stir fried noodles were nicely spiced and a good combination with the black bean beef, which was tasty but needed the noodles to balance out the sauce which was, at times, overpoweringly salty. Many of the dishes contained chunks of water chestnut, commonly used in oriental cooking for the fresh and mild taste. It was fun to try something new, such as the gyoza, a steamed and grilled Japanese dumpling filled with yasai vegetables and served in a honey and chilli sauce.
The sushi was also very flavoursome and came with sachets of soy sauce, wasabi and shavings of ginger to add if you like that extra kick. Although considerably more expensive than the sushi found in supermarkets, I think you certainly get what you pay for at Yakinori.
The portion size was spot on, as afterwards I felt satisfied and energised without that sluggish feeling often associated with fried takeaway food. However, one criticism would be that the saltiness of the food made me feel thirsty for the rest of the day. I would recommend trying some of their iced green tea as refreshing accompaniment, as this certainly helped. The other downside is obviously the lack of a delivery service, but the food is definitely worth the walk. Plus you can feel slightly less guilty about pigging out after a long trek home.
The Yakinori takeaway more than lived up to my expectations; the variety of food on the menu is the main selling point so it’s perfect for foodies who can’t decide what they fancy!