Stepping from a typical dodgy Manchester road into Kyotoya is like stepping through a magic wardrobe into food Narnia. The restaurant is afloat with red paper lanterns and fairy-lights, which give a lovely scarlet tinge and orange warmth to the intimate restaurant.
As we sat nestled in comfort, our first starter, Kimchi, arrived. This Korean dish, essentially fermented cabbage with spicy seasonings, does not sound like the most appetising of dishes (in fact, far from it!) The sour creation was served refreshingly cold and peppered with red dashes of chilli, whose spicy kick Kate clearly couldn’t handle. Perhaps a little too pungent for some, Gina loved it and thought it should be more aptly-named Golden Kimchi due to its sparkling appearance.
Typically paired with all meals (including breakfast), it comes as no surprise that South Korea measures up as one of the slimmest nations in the world, given how much cabbage they consume. Up next was the Shichimi Tofu. This was grilled tofu served with garlic and chilli in a dark salty broth. With four generous slabs of soft and spongy tofu, this dish is ideal for cold winter nights – pleasantly counteracting the Kimchi’s spicy taste and texture.
For our main course we decided to be daring and chose the Mixed Sushi 12 pieces, letting the expert chefs choose our sushi for us. The dish arrived in a delightful wooden boat, with ginger and wasabi tucked into the helm and flowers positioned delicately amongst the Maki and Nigiri.
The selection did not disappoint: Old favourites such as Salmon and Tuna Nigiri sat alongside more adventurous offerings such as Squid Nigiri and Inari, a sweetly fried parcel of tofu wrapped around rice.
Apart from the Squid Nigiri, which was too tough for our liking, every single piece of sushi hit the spot. The salmon and tuna melted in the mouth, and the California Maki perfectly balanced the flavours of avocado and salmon.
The Sweet Eggs Nigiri, which Kate had never tried before this point out of fear of the unknown, was a surprisingly delicious break from the largely fish-oriented plate. Mixed platters are a fantastic choice when eating a cuisine you aren’t familiar with, and we highly recommend this one.
Alongside this we attempted to maintain the air of unforeseen delight, and chose the Tobiko California Maki, made of crab roe. Apart from being awkwardly sized, this dish was as fresh and flavoursome as the rest of the sushi, and had a delicate fishy flavour, which even those who do not love fish might be able to enjoy.
Prepared to order, Kyotoya’s sushi is some of the freshest and tastiest in Manchester, without the normal drawback of robbed pockets. One word of advice—don’t go here on a first date, as the large sushi pieces don’t exactly make for dainty eating! However, if you want a truly satisfying meal that doesn’t cost the world and leaves you wanting to come back the very next day, this is the restaurant for you.
28 Copson St,