Firstly, congratulations on your new venture, has this always been a dream of yours to open a Restaurant?
We have our gorgeous terrace restaurant at No.131, which is our baby, and become something of a must-do in Cheltenham. With Yoku I wanted to create something exquisite for people that really want to do something extra special, they want it to be an experience. Especially after lockdown and Covid, this is a place where you feel you can indulge and dress up. For women that have that dress waiting in their wardrobe, at Yoku you can wear it any night of the week.
Talk us through Yoku, and the inspiration behind this
YOKU translates from Japanese to the desire of doing things exceptionally well and that’s ultimately the inspiration behind it. I wanted to create a restaurant experience, that goes above and beyond right across the design, service and culinary philosophies.
What cuisine is offered?
Japanese Sushi and Asian cuisine that remains authentic but evolved and embellished with a new innovative presentation.
Make us all incredibly hungry and tell us what some of the dishes are on the menu currently
We have such a diverse menu from sushi favourites to our YOKU signatures like fresh sashimi, sushi hand rolls and nigiri, plus warm dishes like black cod and miso scallops, and of course the wagyu beef. Diners seem to really be enjoying the sharing platters Octopus Kingdom and Underwater Kingdom that deliver an almost ‘taste it all’ experience.
What is your personal favourite dish on the new menu?
I would have to say the wagyu beef, it’s a real showstopper dish. The beef comes from nearby Tetbury in the Cotswolds and is exceptional.
Do you use seasonal produce?
We prided ourselves in sourcing the highest quality produce in the UK where possible, and all our Asian ingredients are from the finest suppliers in Japan. The fish is delivered daily from the south coast and the salmon from Scotland. Our motivation for YOKU was to deliver on the centuries-old Shun tradition of serving only the freshest and seasonal produce available.
Will the menu be continually changing?
The menu was crafted over a period of months and fine-tuned by myself and the executive chef with several tastings involving our colleagues too. We are very happy with the menu currently, but naturally the menu will evolve as we do and change with the seasons!
In a few words, why should people book a table for Yoku..What can diners expect?
I can promise a memorable, glamorous evening with fantastic food and a cocktail list unsurpassed with Bar Tokyo by Gin & Juice exclusive to YOKU diners and in-house guests. We’ve designed a high-end signature dining experience that puts Cheltenham back on the culinary map. YOKU is a place where sushi meets style, food meets fashion (my favourite bit of course) and drinks meet design. It’s a holistic journey into a Tokyo vibe and has been extremely well received, if any of the reviews are to go by.