Drink: That sunken feeling

Want to get down to some seriously funky drinking in a hip and hi-tech ambience? Welcome to Yo! Below
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Yo! Below is the basement bar, underneath the automated Soho sushi bar, Yo! Sushi, and it's got more gizmos than a Tokyo trade fair. Those who enjoy sitting on the stairs at student parties like to get down to Yo! early enough to clamber round the Japanese-style sunken tables which have their own beer tap dispensing Asahi for pounds 1 a glass (it's metered - you pay for what's on the clock). Ashtrays built into the tables are connected to the air-con system to extract any smoke. Those not hell-bent on beer drinking can order bento boxes by pressing a help button on their table.

Cocktails include the Saketini, a Martini which uses sake, and the Manga Mary, their version of the Bloody Mary. Manga videos play non-stop on monitors around the room. The music turns live when the singing waiting staff belt out their practised renditions of customer requests into a radio mic and they are then relayed over the sound system. If all this sounds too exhausting, masseurs are on hand to provide free stress relief (to shoulders and hands) until 8pm. Recipes overleaf

Yo! Below, 52 Poland Street, London W1 (0171-439 3660). Mon-Sat noon-1am, Sun noon-11pm.

Yo! Below drinks

Sake, the Japanese rice wine, of between 15 and 16.5 per cent alcohol, gives some of Yo! Below's cocktails their distinctive Japanese twist. A little sweeter than vodka, it's also less potent, so is not a substitute spirit. In an MX3, for example, Absolut is added to sake and lepovitan B3 is used as a Red Bull alternative. You won't find anything like these cocktails anywhere else, possibly not even in Japan; they illustrate the Yo! team's ingenious Japanese-ish interpretation of Western mixed drinks. In Japan they drink their sake straight, chilled, or warmed by a special machine of which there's an example behind the bar at Yo! Below.

Manga Mary

Far right: The Yo! version of the tomato juice cocktail is a little less bloody because it uses more sake than the vodka variety. In a cocktail shaker, mix tomato juice, according to taste, 1oz sake, 1/2oz soy sauce and, again according to taste and the spiciness required - beware, it's very hot - 1/4-1/2 tsp wasabi (Japanese horseradish), a squeeze of lime and ice. Pour into a tumbler, garnish with oba leaf (a Japanese salad leaf) and filigrees of mooli (radish).

Tokyo Rose

Not quite as sweet as it sounds, as the cranberry adds dryness. Mix 1oz sake, 1/2oz Archers (peach schnapps), 1oz orange juice, 1oz cranberry juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour into a tumbler, garnish with strawberry and slice of orange.

Memories of a Geisha

Right: a pretty and refreshing layered drink that turns dark pink when it's stirred. Into a chilled champagne flute, one-third filled with ice cubes, pour over 3/4 oz umeshu-kishu plum wine, then 2oz cranberry juice, and top up with Champagne. Each will form its own coloured layer until the drink is stirred.

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