REVIEW: Authentic Asian with fusion twist

Satay Yo! Beer on London Road
Satay Yo! Beer on London Road

They say travel broadens the mind - but it also broadens the tastebuds.

And it’s hard to accept below par pizza, after experiencing the finest Rome has to offer, or sub-standard sushi following the real deal in Toyko.

Satay Yo! Beer on London Road

Satay Yo! Beer on London Road

I have searched, mainly in vain, for authentic Thai food in this country since returning from a three month trip to South East Asia several years ago.

Often it’s been made to suit what people think the British want - a slightly spicier imitation of Chinese food.

Occasionally it is right; but then usually it is expensive. It’s hard to stomach paying £15 for a main course and extra for rice when the same thing served on a Bangkok side street would cost 50 pence.

That’s why the pork red Thai curry at Satay Yo! Beer, which opened on London Road a month ago, was such a pleasant surprise.

For a start, what is there not to like about pork in a curry, two of the best flavours in the world, uniting as one?

But the delicate balance of ingredients in the fragrant sauce was spot on too - lashings of fragrant fish sauce, creamy coconut covering a slowly building chilli heat - it took some restraint not to lick the bowl clean.

For anyone who doesn’t fancy an epic journey around the world, Satay Yo! Beer serves food from a whopping seven countries.

Manager Susan Poh, who hails from Malaysia, said: “We are trying to introduce more Asian flavours to the local area because we realise there is a lot of people now who have visited there and we also came to London Road because there a lot of people here from all the different countries in Asia.

“It’s about fusion food as well - we can take dishes from one country and have them with another, or you can stick just to one type of cuisine.”

The chefs here hail from Malaysia, China and Hong Kong - and a curiously addictive live kitchen screen in the corner of the restaurant allowed us to watch one rustling up some egg fried rice, although for most of the night it appeared to be focused on a sink.

Inside, it’s all very casual, ideal for the vast market of Asian students now in Sheffield.

The stripped-back wooden tables and walls are decorated with dozens of quirky signs, there’s the ubiquitious Chinese hanging lanterns and fish tank.

Someone with a sense of humour has also put bottle of Henderson’s Relish on tables next to the chilli sauces - now that is fusion food.

We smelled the potent and curious-looking Chinese wine standing on the counter, although a lodged goji berry prevented any from coming out.

Susan said: “We want it to be a relaxing environment, we’ve also got performances on at the weekend so people can enjoy a full night rather than just coming for something to eat .”

We started with a couple of ice cold Singha beers, authentically served with no glasses and a few free peanuts, by an uber polite waitress.

To get normal restaurant service of starters and mains, we had to ask, and they arrived one by one rather than all together, so sharing was the best option.

With a name like this one of the first dishes had to be satay, and chicken (£4.80) came recommended.

Four chunky sticks were served on pretty patterned plates.

It would have been enough for a small main course.

There were juicy squares of golden marinated chicken, and a thick, creamy , salty sauce with big chunks of peanut to drizzle over it.

It was fantastic.

He burned his mouth on the next dishes to arrive, steaming dim sum and crispy deep-fried Vietnamese rolls.

There was sticky barbecued pork inside the somewhat gelatinous dumplings, and the prawn rolls were positively naughty compared to the usual paper thin options.

Each had been cut diagonally to reveal the colourful insides.

We realised how rapacious we had been when the mains turned up - there had been no need for starters.

You could have a main and a beer here for £12, and still roll home absolutely stuffed.

The Gang Ped (£9.80) came with crispy then soft pork belly slices, and even broccoli and green beans tasted interesting with that sauce.

If you looked very closely there were minute flecks of chilli in the layers of it.

There were sides too - a heap of egg fried, rather than traditional Thai sticky, rice - and a mixture of Chinese and Thai crackers.

His beef and black bean sauce (£8.80) proved to be a rich, meaty broth with a silky rather than sticky consistency, encasing tender beef.

He liked the moist rice with plenty of egg scrambled in too.

There are desserts on the menu - as well as more exotic dishes involving lotus root crisps, chicken feet and durian.

We stuck to a frozen solid and very sweet toasted coconut ice cream. The bill including two beers each was £47 but be warned, we had to pay in cash.

Satay Yo! Beer, 158 London Rd, Sheffield.

Tel: 0114 250 9133