International sushi joint reaches Dubai

The London-based Yo! Sushi is hoping Dubai will be the launch pad for future operations in the region.

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By  John Irish Published  October 8, 2003

UAE Sushi fans are in for a little more raw fish guzzling after the London-based Yo! Sushi opened the first of what it claims will be five-outlets in the Emirates within the next two years. The restaurant, which lies in Dubai's recently refurbished Bur Juman shopping centre, is the second Yo! Sushi in the Middle East following a test launch in Kuwait.

"What Yo! Sushi offers is excellent food, but with a swift service," said Sami Daud, managing director of Yo! Sushi Emirates. We wanted to inject some of the fun back into dining, and the restaurant is full of signature details that have seen us develop a key clientele in a very short time," he added.

The concept behind the chain proved extremely successful in the UK. It turned the Japanese raw-fish-on-a-conveyor belt system into something hip, trendy and all at affordable prices.

Although Dubai was handpicked partly due to the cosmopolitan nature of the city, the firm hopes that the restaurant's quirky reputation will also appeal to all strands of society. Among the idiosyncrasies are plates colour coded according to price, and chefs in the open kitchen ready to divulge the secrets of creating sushi.

The menu will also include the full range of Japanese-inspired food, including soup, noodles, rice dishes, as well as chicken, beef and vegetarian delights.Will the concept work here?

According to TimeOut Dubai's food critique, Rob Orchard, the restaurant should do well, despite its location backing on to a car park.

"It's a good concept and sushi is amazingly popular here. Plus it'll be much cheaper than its competitors. It's also likely to appeal to office workers in the neighbourhood," he adds.

Despite this not everybody is convinced that the new outlet will succeed. "I'm not sure that eating sushi from a conveyor belt is for me. I had it in the UK, but it wasn't really the best quality," says sushi addict Ahmed.

Nevertheless, Daud is in no doubt that the concept will eventually take off in Dubai. "We are confident the concept will work well. In the short term since our soft opening, we have seen that our customer base crosses all segments, ages and nationalities," concluded Daud.

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