“ Address: Unit 3 / Riverside Park / BT51 3NA / Coleraine „
Yoko is a noodle bar/Chinese restaurant in Coleraine, Co Londonderry. It is located in the Riverside Retail Park, beside McDonalds, on the outskirts of the town.
Yoko has been open since the early 2000's although a fire completely gutted the restaurant in 2005. The rumour that I had heard at the time was that the fire was an arson attack by the Coleraine 'Chinese Mafia' as the correct permission from the mafia wasn't sought before the restaurant opened. I have no idea of the truth of this story, but it's an interesting story nonetheless.
In time the restaurant was reopened, and the interior size was effectively doubled with the addition of a second diming area and a mezzanine level above, providing more seating.
Depending on where you are seated, you can watch the chefs in the kitchen, as the right side of the restaurant (where the kitchen is) is completely open plan. There are large screen tvs on each wall, and are usually tuned into a music channel. My only slight niggle is that sometimes the music can be a bit loud, but that's easily remedied.
There is a very extensive menu available, with what is definitely the largest variety of dishes available in any Chinese restaurant in the area.
Starters include Tempura as well as the more traditional chinese starters such as spring rolls and ribs. There are also sharing platters available for around £8 or so to start.
The mains include an amazing array of noodle dishes as well as the traditional chinese favourites. A friend of mine recently ordered soup as a main course and it came in a bowl so big that she thought she could swim in it!
Desserts are the real star though. Though the menu is fairly simple, with staples such as cheesecake and pavlova, what sets them apart is the presentation. Each dessert comes encased with a large bowl of dry ice and this effect lasts for a few minutes, leaving you feeling like you're eating dessert through a cool, misty cloud. I always order a dessert though when I eat there, so maybe it's a marketing gimmick that really does work (or I am simply very easily amused!).
There is also a wide variety of drinks available including cocktails, but as I am usually here for lunch, I don't sample the cocktails. There is also a very extensive wine list.
I have never had a bad meal here, the food is always fresh, hot and tasty, and each dish is served with a small side salad, which always looks very fresh. Presentation is also excellent. Service is great as well, with all the staff very friendly and helpful and happy to cater to your every need.
They offer a takeaway service as well, but as I have never tried this, I feel I am unable to comment fully on that.
Admittedly I haven't been to Yoko in a while, as I find they are just too expensive. The last day I was there, it was £30 for 3 courses, and that's more than I'd want to spend for a lunch. They now have a lunchtime menu, which is a starter, main choice, side and fruit salad for £7.95, which is good value, although you do get them all served together, school dinner style, which is slightly off putting. They have also recently introduced a Tea Time menu, for around £7.95 for a main course and side.
Yoko did have a website, but it seems to have disappeared, but the full menu and their offers are available on their Facebook page.