Northern Ireland may not be the first place you think of when seeking out exciting Asian cuisine in the UK, but this contemporary dining experience in the heart of Belfast’s city centre is well worth the journey. Combining Pan-Asian food with slick service, Yügo’s reputation has grown and grown since it opened in late 2016, with diners often encouraged to book early to avoid disappointment.
With a name that translates in Japanese as ‘fusion’, Yügo dishes up vibrant Asian flavours but with an Irish twist. Combining both modern-creative and traditional Asian styles of cooking with a Belfast/Bushidō attitude, it’s a restaurant unlike any other in the city.
The main menu is broken down into five sections – snacks, smalls, bigs, bao buns, and sides – that each list three to four options. The choice may appear limited, but the range of flavours is extensive. Snacks include steamed pork dumplings; and Iberico pork neck with black garlic, while small plates feature dry-aged dexter beef rump with wombok, truffle and egg.
Bigger dishes, meanwhile, include Skeaghanore duck breast served with a spring roll, beetroot and piccalilli. Bao buns can be filled with kimchi, pickled ginger and chilli sambal; or prawn, wasabi kewpie mayonnaise and spring onions, while on the side there’s Chinese cabbage with palm sugar and lime; and wok-fried green beans with spicy pork mince.
Visually, Yügo is a traditional Japanese noodle house put through a bright Instagram filter. It’s a good look.
The Best Restaurant in Northern Ireland award is sponsored by Hildon