Tag Archives: Japanese

Yuzu, Manchester

16 Sep

As a Manchester Food and Drink Festival 2013 ‘Restaurant of the Year’ nominee, Yuzu will be pitting itself against five other Manchester restaurants (63 Degrees, Michael Caines Restaurant, Cicchetti, Damson, The French at The Midland); the winner being revealed at a Gala Dinner on the 7th of October. As the vote is up to us – the public – all of those involved should be ‘upping the ante’ in terms of quality and service in the attempt to secure themselves that winning spot.

So, my thoughts…? I like Yuzu. I like it a lot. (Saying this, I have yet to find a Japanese restaurant that I don’t like.) It is clean and elegant in its simplicity. Yuzu was brought about because, according to the owners, there were no ‘real’ Japanese eateries to be found in Manchester; so with Yuzu now being an established restaurant in Chinatown, we went in the hope of finding some authenticity…

Unfortunately it took us a while to find. We managed, somehow, to walk around twice without seeing a thing (and of course, Google Maps was once again of zero help). What finally pulled my eye to the large ‘YUZU’ sign had something to do with the tattoo parlour to the left… Inside, the walls are all pleasant shades of paneled beige – caramel, tan, oatmeal – with a darkly tiled floor on which stand the tables and Yuzu’s characteristically low benches.

Yuzu, Manchester

Yuzu, Manchester

I felt slightly bitter that, in a Japanese restaurant, there were no sushi options on the menu. However, I found out this was because (in the words of Yuzu themselves), “We do not sell sushi, as sushi has to be made by a properly trained sushi master, which we are not.” Fine with me. I’ve recently gained a seriously deep amount of respect for sushi masters after watching Jiro Dreams Of Sushi; stunning – find it and be in awe.

The drinks we ordered were simple; it was a wee too early for sake drinking (Yuzu’s selection is extensive) so I chose the refillable Barley Tea. I had this over the Green Tea, as it was new to me – I chose well! My friend had the Kirin Ichiban, and guzzled it down with relish (I’m assuming this was positive…).

Yuzu, Manchester

Yuzu, Manchester

I’ll be frank – when it comes to food, I truly am a glutton. I wasn’t fully enlightened to this fact until I began to realise that normal people are able to choose their meals delicately, deliberately, precisely; I instead just order all that firmly takes my fancy, in case I miss out the ‘star of the show’. This method of attack does often work out well for me; instead of sticking to known favourites, I am able to branch out into the world of the unknown. A prime example being the daikon and wakame salad. I’d heard it was delicious (holy cow)  but would I have chosen it over the chicken kara-age if I’d been forced to side with one? I dare not answer. Don’t miss this one out guys, here uncomplicated does not equate to mundane. It was quite possibly the highlight of my meal.

Daikon and Wakame Salad; Yuzu, Manchester

Daikon and Wakame Salad; Yuzu, Manchester

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Chicken Kara-age; Yuzu, Manchester

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Chicken Kara-age & Agedashi Tofu; Yuzu, Manchester

After the light salad came out starters: Jay Rayner said that Yuzu’s chicken kara-age “makes all other fried chicken look like a first draft”. I can, hands down and without guilt, admit to being an all-round fried chicken enthusiast, but this… I probably did let out an audible squeal of delight to the surrounding diners as I popped the kara-age into my mouth. The sweet and citrusy ponzu dipping sauce helped keep the dish from becoming too much of a savoury overload. I enjoyed the agedashi tofu very much; tofu is the creamy carrier for many strong flavours, and it held up against the ginger-infused broth. Yum!

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House Prawn Gyoza; Yuzu, Manchester

The house prawn gyoza came served with a bowl of rice and miso (with lots of spring onion, wakame and tofu…). The gyoza themselves were impeccable – soft yet crisp, with large pieces of chopped prawn. The ravings from other reviews lived up in this one.

Scallop, tuna, organic salmon sashimi; Yuzu, Manchester

Scallop, tuna, organic salmon sashimi; Yuzu, Manchester

Lastly, we shared a platter of the sashimi. Sadly, the sweet prawns were missing off of the dish but we assumed that, because all of the fish was so fresh, the prawns simply could not be obtained that day. Never shy with silky and sumptuous raw fish, it was devoured in seconds of lip-smacking triumph.

What a fantastic evening!  Will be looking forwards to seeing how they fare in the Manchester Food and Drink Festival…

Yours,

Joss

P.S. Having been to Yuzu (and tried my best to peer over those sake bottles into the kitchen –  alas, I am a shorty and cannot stretch high enough), I found this youtube video of behind that sake-wall very interesting… if a tad slow. It also made me giggle a bit.

Yuzu on Urbanspoon

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Seoul Kimchi and why to go off the beaten track.

3 Jun

About a year ago, and after an offer to study at university, I came to Manchester to suss it out. My first thoughts of this mother city were, uninspiringly, that it was big. Bigger than the little Leicester that I had come from. We arrived at night and the sprawl of lights spread into the distance, surrounded by dark hills. If anything, I felt claustrophobic – away from the comfort of familiarity. 

The morning dawned in Salford Quays and we drove our way around the city, passing the conspicuous Seoul Kimchi along the way. These were not roads known to me and I suffered to remember the place we had passed. 

A year later and a taxi ride along that same route in which I recognised the back end of the Manchester Royal Infirmary, I’ve found it. By now the persistent feeling of being alien has disappeared and the investigation into the whereabouts of this restaurant has been solved. Welcome to Seoul Kimchi. 

When we visited, it was a miserable day. The fact that it was so desolate (grey, drizzle, icy wind) must be remembered because when we left Seoul Kimchi, we were skipping out of the door. Nothing improves my mood more than a good feed (and nothing worsens my disposition more than hunger). I was satisfied. 

The interior was tight, only four separate tables and two long counters. Somehow, we arrived at the right moment to be shown to the seats with a fascinating view of the kitchen (always interested). It took us a while to order as the menu had many traditional Korean dishes that I had never come across; curiosity is forever making me slow with decisions. Eventually, we did decide on a few (an awful lot) of our favourites and one exciting extra. 

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Seoul Kimchi, Manchester

First to arrive were the accompaniments. We had homemade cucumber pickles with sesame, wickedly hot kimchi and –  when I asked – a type of bean curd in a mildly flavoured chilli oil. The latter I had never tried before… It was delicate and smooth, though I have yet to find out precisely what is it. 

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Beef and kimchi gyoza; Seoul Kimchi, Manchester

Soon after came our beef and kimchi gyoza. Without a doubt, gyoza – no matter the filling – are a favourite of mine; I cannot help but be thrilled when I spy them on a menu. These particular gyoza perfectly alterated between crisp and succulent. 

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Sushi; Seoul Kimchi, Manchester

With the sushi, the tamago was the only disappointment – I didn’t find it quite as gratifying as I usually do. Apart from that, I have no complaints! The standout pieces were the tobiko – it was sublime, the ‘pop’ not too strong – and the unagi, which from my first taste at Umami I have fallen in love with – it lived up to all of my expectations.

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Seafood Stew; Seoul Kimchi, Manchester

Lastly came the bowl of seafood stew and rice. Packed with baby octopus, clams, mussels, fish, shrimp, it bubbling away at us until it cooled enough to eat (believe me, I tried tackling it as it was still boiling and funnily enough, burnt my tongue). The half-moon shaped daikon added a curious, yet much needed, crunch to the dish. It was lovely, the amount of chilli just what we needed to warm our cockles and send us off into the cold outside air once more. 

 

Yours, 

Joss

Seoul Kimchi on Urbanspoon

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