We had watched with great anticipation, as a new eatery in Ballyhackamore began to take shape in the old First Trust Bank during the winter months.
Then, all building work was cruelly cut short due to the pandemic, and we were left wondering what this new venture would be and indeed would it even see the light of day? But as lockdown lifted, and work recommenced we were really excited to find out that Yugo were opening a new restaurant on our doorstep. Our expectations were high as we’ve eaten in the original Yugo many times and really enjoyed the adventurous, inventive menu and the buzzing atmosphere of their city centre restaurant.
We were looking forward to this new incarnation and visited with some friends on Thursday lunchtime.
The restaurant has a stylish, minimalist interior, a great wine list and cocktail menu. The service is friendly and informative, although we would have felt more comfortable had the staff been wearing masks.
The lunch menu is small, but would cater for all tastes and requirements. They kindly offered to adapt the duck fried rice as a enoki mushroom vegetarian option. We also sampled the muffin with brown shrimps and hollandaise which was light but packed with flavour.
Although we enjoyed our first experience at Yugo East, we felt that the lunch menu was perhaps a little pricier than most other venues in the area. The food is excellent quality, but the Asian-fusion style of the original restaurant seemed to be lacking here. We always loved the soft shell crab bao buns, the sushi selection, the cured stone bass and the tofu massaman curry- none of which featured on the new menu. Hopefully the lunch menu is not a fait accompli, and will be developed further as time goes on.
We will definitely return to Yugo East for an evening meal and we welcome this high end Asian Fusion restaurant as a much needed addition to the restaurant scene in East Belfast.