Restaurants are packed on the fringes of the famous Garba Jahumpa Road but certainly none matches YOSH’s glamorous outlook.
Built in the 90s by a Gambian, the exotic spot bears hallmark of everything that represents beauty.
An oven-like inspired three decoration is what greets walking towards the entrance, few steps from the tarred road with a silver-coloured stair-stand complimented by some brilliant artworks leading the way to inside of the inner part of the complex.
One’s curiosity begins to envelope further at approach of the gigantic craftworks made out of carefully selected painted wood. Next is an array of fitted chairs dressed in pink coalesced with matching colours.
Folded are cloths of taste, fitted on huge stands. The restaurant is divided to parts, suiting guests’ cravings with lingering green flower leaves providing needed fresh air.
Talk of your typical European-like standards.
The structure hasn’t been functional for years until a certain Swiss-born Astrid Manneh took over its reins, offering it a required sector revamping that today has morphed it into a sought-after spot for dishes of yummy taste.
Recent media exposure has upped its already soaring value, offering it the gateway to a bigger client base.
Opening from Monday to Saturday, the intricate unbelievable structure has not merely won it attention alone but charmed its way into the priority list of music video-makers or content-creators in search for some beautiful outlook.
Multiple award-winning singer Royal Messenger’s recent trend-making “Mbeguel” video, a phrase translating as love, comes to mind. YOSH was used for that footage’s setting which has courted thousands of views on social media platform YouTube.
“The restaurant was built in the late 90s but was not operating for many years. It was 19th May 2018 when I opened the most unique art restaurant in the Gambia. It’s an open air restaurant with different levels,” Astrid, the Manager, tells Gambia News in a recent interview.
She continued: “All my staff are Gambians. Some of them have 10years and more experience, for some others it’s their first job. During the high season I also take attachments to give them some practical work experience. We also operate the full year around.”
Serving dishes ranging from Caribbean, creole, exotic soul food and sushi on preorder, the foods are prepared freshly whilst the guests enjoy the atmosphere.
Music bellows in the background, creating the perfect eating scenario for clients munching away their healthy orders.
“We are open from Monday to Saturday from 11am until 11pm. Last kitchen order by 9.30pm. We do lunch/dinner, birthdays, weddings, company lunches, take-away, catering services as we also host events,” she dwells on.
“The idea of the YOSH restaurant is to attract everybody. It should be a meeting point for experts, ambassadors, Gambian artist, fashion designer, musician to come together and get connected.
“We have morning and afternoon shifts. As I said it’s an open air restaurant so we have to clean it several times a day. The team is a rehearsed team and any new staff will be trained from the colleagues. Our clientele at the moment are Gambians, experts and few tourists.”
The coronavirus sweeping through the world and triggering halting of businesses in all sectors have, like other entities, affected YOSH as well.
However, undeterred, the restaurant’s management continues to operate while respecting the social distancing rules.
“The COVID-19 has affected us like all the other businesses. Since March we are here only for take-aways. We are managing like all the other businesses.
“The tourist season will start very slow as a lot of regulations worldwide don’t make it easy to travel at this moment. Nobody knows how long it will take until we will recover. If we can attract our neighbouring countries to spend their holidays in the Gambia it could make a little difference,” Astrid reveals.