Yujo Sushi Bar & Izakaya: Probably the best Japanese Restaurant in E.A
To comprehend how good and tremendous the quality of the food is at Yujo Japanese Restaurant, you don’t need to look far. Rated as the Number 1 restaurant in Kampala on TripAdvisor, Yujo has held that spot for a year now. Even a TV crew from TV Tokyo in Japan came to Uganda to shoot a documentary about the food at Yujo. Opened three years ago in 2011 and on Plot 4 Kyadondo Road (Nakasero Hill), Yujo prides itself in quality and authenticity of their food and anyone that’s visited the restaurant can attest to that.
Upon entrance into the gates at Yujo, the first thing that grabs your attention is the sushi bar to your left and as you walk straight ahead, you also notice the Izakaya dining area. The ambiance at the bar is pleasant with well-lit with Japanese paper light boxes which captivate you. There is a glass stand display at the counter of the bar that displays fresh prawns, grilled eel, crab stick, omelette, squid, octopus, salmon and tuna the main ingredients of the foods at Yujo. Other main ingredients they use that you won’t see on display are common white colored fish: red snapper, mahimahi and grouper.
For those not familiar with what Sushi is, Wikipedia describes it as a Japanese food consisting of cooked vinegared rice (sushi-meshi) combined with other ingredients, usually raw fish or other seafood. Ingredients and forms of sushi presentation vary widely, but the ingredient which all sushi have in common is vinegared rice. The vinegared rice is also called shari and sumeshi Raw meat (usually but not necessarily seafood) sliced and served by itself is sashimi. Many non-Japanese use the terms sashimi and sushi interchangeably, but they are not synonymous. Sushi refers to any dish made with vinegared rice.
While an izakaya is a type of Japanese drinking establishment which also serves food to go with the drinks. They are casual places for after-work drinking.The name “izakaya” is a compound word consisting of “i” (to stay) and “sakaya” (sake shop), indicating that izakaya originated from sake shops that allowed customers to sit on the premises to drink.
The highlight and main feature of Yujo Restaurant is the Tatami Room, a Japanese style room which is to your right as you head down a stone pathway. The tables in the Tatami Room are built into a hole in the ground, since not so many people are familiar with the culture of sitting cross-legged, a clever innovation by the proprietors. Here everyone is required to take off their shoes at the entrance and you can opt to sit cross-legged or you can comfortably slide your legs into the hole in the ground under the tables as you enjoy your meal. Dining in the Tatami Room is an experience like no other and a trip to Yujo is not complete without visiting the Tatami Room.
When meeting Richard Prado, one of the proprietors of the restaurant who is soft-spoken and humble,after exchanging a few pleasantries, I asked him about Yujo being the number 1 restaurant in Kampala on TripAdvisor. “Oh that!” He quickly shot back “Yes! Yujo won a certificate from the folks at TripAdvisor. It’s framed and I keep it at home. You see at Yujo we don’t believe in showing off our achievements. We’d rather the quality of our food speak for itself.” For the doubting Thomas’s and those who think Yujo paid off some clients to write their reviews on TripAdvisor, Richard chips in saying “Neither me nor my partner have ever written any review on Trip Advisor. In fact, at a certain time I didn’t know such a website existed”.
Their cuisine is definitely Japanese food and almost all the dishes on their menu are always available.If you prefer a full course meal then my recommendations would be:
Starters and Soups
Prawn Tempura (29,500 UGX) which is five pieces of prawns served with miso soup and Wakame salad. The prawns taste really good I must say. They give a house salad with whatever starter you chose to have. Meals are served with Japanese style service items such as chop-sticks, white glazed chop-stick rests and little bowls and saucers.
For Main Course
You should definitely try out the Salmon Teriyaki (39,000) which is sliced boneless fillet grilled in tare sauce served with seasonal vegetables and rice plus soup in Japanese style bowls.
For those that would love to give their sushi bar a try, their Sushi Wave Platter comes highly recommended. With 23 pieces, it has 8 pieces of Boston roll, 3 Tuna Sashimi, 3 Salmon Sashimi, 1 Kani Sashimi, 2 Salmon nigiri-zushi, 2 Tuna nigri-zushi,, 2 “Seafood of the day” nigri-zhushi plus 2 Ebi (Prawn) nigri-zushi and costs 78,000 UGX.
On the sushi being fresh, Richard explains why they are ahead of the “competition” and cautiously advises sushi junkies that they should be careful where they partake of their sushi from. “At Yujo, we put a lot of effort in ensuring that all our food, be it fish or even the cooking oil, is fresh and of top quality thus most of our food is imported” Said Richard. “You can’t serve raw fish which is not fresh. For example if someone is going to eat raw Salmon, Tuna or Red Snapper, it’s not a matter of walking to Nakasero Market and buying this stuff there, clients are going to get food poisoning”.
You should definitely give the Banana Supuritto cake a try. It’s a crispy baby banana Katsu served with two scoops of vanilla ice cream and costs 11,000 UGX.
The prices on the menu are definitely affordable considering all the food is imported and very fresh. The service is good and the waiters are knowledgeable about the food.
Please note that Yujo has a separate lunch menu with discounted dishes.
Yujo also has a decent range on their drinks menu and serves both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Sake’s which are Japanese rice wine served cold or warm range from 6,000 UGX for a cold shot to 75,000 UGX for a large carafe of 10 cups. Soft drinks range from 2,000 UGX for a bottle of mineral water to 7,000 UGX for Iced Maple Tea with Star Anise. Beers range from 5,000 UGX for local beers to 10,000 UGX for a Corona to 12,000 UGX for an Asahi Super Dry (Japanese beer). Cocktails range from 4,000 UGX to 10,000 UGX for a Lemongrass Mojito while a glass of wine costs 9,000 UGX. Spirits range from 4,000 UGX for a shot of Captain Morgan Dark Rum to 15,000 UGX for a Glen Fiddich 12Yr Single Malt Whiskey.
Please note that all prices on the food and drinks menu are susceptible to change in the future.
They also have Teppanyaki and its available only after bookings (two days in advance). Wikipedia describes Teppanyaki as a style of Japanese cuisine that uses an iron griddle to cook food. The word teppanyakiis derived from teppan, which means iron plate, and yaki, which means grilled, broiled, or pan-fried. In Japan, teppanyaki refers to dishes cooked using an iron plate, including steak, shrimp, okonomiyaki, yakisoba, and monjayaki.
Modern teppanyaki grills are typically propane-heated flat surface grills and are widely used to cook food in front of guests at restaurants. The teppanyaki is more suitable for smaller ingredients, such as rice, egg, and finely chopped vegetables.
I always read these lists of things you must do before you die, but allow me to rephrase that. There’s a new list of things to do in 2014, a list of things fellas should do for their women before the year ends and that is to take your loved ones for dinner at Yujo Restaurant. For those that are single by choice it doesn’t hurt to pamper yourself to a nice meal with your friends at Yujo.
Yujo Japanese Restaurant is the best restaurant in Kampala by at least 2 kilometres. As I finished my meal, I applauded Richard on quality and taste of the Salmon I’d just eaten. He quickly turned, stared me in the eyes with a serious stern look on his face and said “Martin, I still have a lot of good food on my menu”.
Yujo is now open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week from 12PM – 3 PM & from 6PM – 11PM.To contact Yujo for reservations or to keep up with the latest additions to their wide menu, see the details below:
Mobile: +256 (0) 794 289 856