Yuzu, on Faulkner Street at the edge of Manchester's compact but vibrant China Town, is set to change all that. The restaurant's a simple affair with an understated sign and a paired down interior; reflecting their ethos of serving simple, everyday Japanese dishes.
We were greeted to an empty restaurant when we visited and as the meal wore on we wondered why this place wasn't buzzing with a queue round the block (we did eat at 6pm on a Tuesday).
The food's not amazingly complex or outstandingly different, but is cooked extraordinarily well. A starter of prawn gyoza included large chunks of whole, well seasoned, soft prawns - none of this greasy, unidentifiable, salty mush you get in most places. The boy's chicken katsu was the best we've had in this country; the chicken soft and juicy, almost poached with a crunchy, crispy coating and no hint of old oil or staleness you often find with breaded products.
Mains kept up the high standard. The boy’s tuna sashimi set; a little pricey at £12.95, was served with miso soup, rice and daikon and surprised us with its freshness and the quality of the fish – something not that common in Manchester. The high standard of the dish made the price much easier to swallow as we’ve had worse/less than this at a restaurant just around the corner for much more money.
My tempura kishimen (king prawn and vegetable with traditional kishimen noodles from the Nagoya region) was light and fresh; with a crunchy, gossamer thin batter. The noodles and accompanying broth were as fresh as spring water and delicately seasoned; the subtle taste could have been lost with heavy accompaniments, but the balance in the dish was spot on and even for simple food the execution and presentation were exquisite and a snip at £8.95.
Many restaurants in the area should sit up and take notice of Yuzu. They source locally, the service is quiet yet first rate and the food is truly amazing considering most dishes are under a tenner and the most expensive thing on the menu is £15.95. The idea of keeping it simples ensures that what they do, they do well and nothing is lost in gimmicks, fusion or simple bluster.
Yuzu is a hidden gem, it’s a brilliant little restaurant that’s getting everything right – let’s just hope that enough people ignore the brash neon signs of its neighbours and realises that simplicity is the key to success.
Ps – Yuzu is also open for lunch with most dishes priced very attractively at 5.95!
Cost for two starters, two mains and a beer - £32.20
Food – 8/10
Atmosphere – 6/10
Service – 9/10
Value for money – 7/10
Total – 30/40
Would you visit again? Yes definitely!
Yuzu, 39 Faulkner Street, Manchester M1 4EE – 0161 236 4159