Review: Yakinori, Bristol

Park Steet has gone through a few phases in its time; from originally being a residential street back in the day, it has zipped between being mainly retail, to a nightlife hot spot, and now the balance is tipping towards cafes and restaurants.

Yakinori is a small chain which originated in Birmingham and has chosen Bristol for their first base outside of the city. The company likes to promote that it is small and family owned, with an emphasis on fresh and flavoursome food. The team invited us to come over to their new Park St branch and see what we thought, so we did.

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The restaurant makes a good first impression – it’s bright, spacious (surprising, given how narrow the footprint of the place is) and I really liked the large murals and photos spread across the walls to give the place a fun and modern feel.

Now, I like variety as much as the next schmuck, but I also get menu anxiety, so imagine my feelings when I saw that I had to decide from this behemoth selection:

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The menu at Yakinori covers bento, noodles, sushi, ramen and grilled dishes – I decided to sit up at the bar to watch the dishes being prepared, and if anything this made my decision even harder.

In the end we opted for a chicken katsu sushi roll (£3.50 for 2 pieces) and mixed gyoza (£7.50 for 6) for our starter – both came out reasonably quickly and looked appetising.

The chicken katsu roll was a good size and well packed but lacked much of a punch flavour-wise, although that was helped when I perked it up with some pickled ginger and wasabi – a big post of each placed on our table along with soy sauce & chilli oil.

I’m a bit spoilt when it comes to gyoza, as I’m a big fan of the potsticker approach at Eatchu (fried, steamed, then fried again so they have a nice crispy base and soft centre). The gyoza at Yakinori had tasty enough filling but were lacking that nice contrast of softness and crunch – that’s a personal preference thing though!

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On to mains – my friend went for the chicken & prawn chilli noodles (£10.75) and I opted for the prawn & salmon kokonatsu curry (£12.99) – we ended up ordering these after seeing them go out to other diners and getting serious food envy! Both dishes arrived at our table piled high and smelling gooood.

You can choose from soba, udon or rice noodles for the chilli noodle dishes and my friend went for rice noodles – she enjoyed the generous amount of veg, prawn and chicken as well as the gentle heat of the dish (if you’re a spice fiend you can layer up with the chilli oil!). Again flavours weren’t that complex on this one, but for a hearty and comforting plate of noodles, this was on point.

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My kokonatsu was like a milder Thai green curry (no bad thing if you’re not a fan of lemongrass), again the portions here were generous and the prawn & salmon were both nicely cooked in the sauce. Once I’d finished this dish I couldn’t manage another bite – and I’m a greedy so-and-so usually!

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There’s a good choice of soft drinks on offer, from freshly-squeezed juices and fizzy drinks to bubble tea (warm or cold – we were persuaded to try a traditional Taiwanese style one and I’m still not sold on them, but again this is just me – I know plenty of people who love a bubble tea!). They also have a small selection of wine, sake, plum wine and a range of familiar Japanese beers (Asahi, Sapporo and Kirin Ichiban).

Service throughout was top notch – the team both in the kitchen and serving tables were friendly and helpful (quite a few times the chefs caught me oggling dishes and explained what they were to me, despite being super busy), and I really enjoyed watching the action up at the kitchen view tables.

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I had a fun evening at Yakinori – our meal would have come to around £40 for starters, mains & soft drinks for two people, which is slightly higher than I’d usually spend on a casual meal like this, but the portions of those mains do mean that I think the prices for those are fair.

There are other places I’d still prefer to go for sushi and gyoza, but the noodle and curry dishes were tasty and very filling. It’s worth checking out their lunch deals too. Oh, and their menu is also available on Deliveroo, which seemed to be doing a roaring trade while we were there.

A cheerful stop-off in the city centre – let me know what you think if you do pay them a visit!

Yakinori
78 Park Street
Bristol BS1 5LA
www.yakinori.co.uk/park-street-bristol

Disclaimer doodle: As stated above, this visit was by invitation so the meal was free of charge, however we were not asked to send any copy in advance and this did not sway our mega professional opinion and honesty. Tru dat.

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