Good old Yoshinoya… It had a terrific reputation back in Japan, where a plain bowl of Black Pepper Beef Rice Bowl (or the Pork variant of it) was enough to bowl people over. In Singapore, Yoshinoya had a rather low-cost status. Marketed like a fast food, the decor and upkeep of its restaurants always made the stores felt very budget and un-appetising. Even Mos Burger, which was evidently a fast food joint, felt more atas than Yoshinoya.
With this in mind, Yoshinoya made a change that does not require people to getacquainted with new brand, and yet provide everyone with a refreshing image of the restaurant.
Decor wise, they chose a dark, earthy and mature theme. The seats now come in the form of cushioned chairs, rather than the plastic benches in its old stores. The lighting is now less harsh, tuned towards a warm, cozy feel.
The change in “level” of the store was so successful, one would overlook the fact that they cut (or maybe retained the number of) the manpower: You now have to fill your own drink, retrieve your own cutlery, and they designed their tray return point in such a way that you would even be compelled to clear the food waste before you return the tray!
Food wise, they re-packaged existing food items, and added more.
Despite its old, shabby feel, I liked Yoshinoya for its balance of protein and greens on top of a bed of good quality Japanese rice. In the new concept, they retained the spirit, and instead of boring carrots and peas, they added lotus, (yellow?) cucumber and sweet potato. The colour alone made everything looked more appealing and whets one’s appetite!
New items include a series of “Dainty Meals” that target those who eat less than us mere mortals. In other words, neither me nor my friends have tried one of these items yet 😛 However, one of my colleagues tried the new Teriyaki Saba Set (he ordered Salmon, but the order came different). Despite the wrong order, the grilled Saba was so good that he was all praises for his meal!
We first spotted (and tried) a new concept store at Harbourfront late last year. Since then, they had opened up more of such outlets much to my delight 🙂 As of writing, there are 9 of such outlets, though mainly in the central / east (blessing to the easties!).
I really love the new concept Yoshinoya. They retained their strength and revamped what was lacking, and therefore created a new product that I enjoyed a lot. In fact, I keep craving for it!
Click on this link to have a look at their revamped menu!
Post-Note: Unfortunately, 1 year after I published this post, the outlet at Singpost Centre closed down. On the brighter side, they have opened up more outlets across the island! 🙂 (1 May 2019)
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