Scribblings from the hard shoulder of the Information Superhighway

Turning Japanese

(The Vapors)

There are times when even I, a confirmed carnivore and ‘salad dodger’, just can’t face another Burger or Pulled Pork meal. Okay, it doesn’t happen often, but it happens.

Here in central Manchester, on those occasions I’ve turned to Wasabi in The Printworks. The Printworks, for the uninitiated, is a large dining and leisure complex situated in the shell of what was once one of the country’s largest printworks – hence the name. Where once the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Times ran off the presses, now it’s home to some twenty restaurants and bars, a health club, and a twenty screen cinema (with iMax).

Wasabi at Tolfalas.com

Wasabi occupies what is probably the smallest restaurant unit in The Printworks, but still manages to seat around thirty people each side of a familiar looking conveyor belt. There’s a small bar/counter near the door and a couple of flat screen TVs showing Japanese MTV. Wasabi (Manchester) is not connected (or indeed similar in any way) to the London based Wasabi chain.

Let’s be honest, you’re not going to stick around for the ambience, but it’s okay for a quick food fix. The special set meals include a ‘three sushi dishes and a hot rice or noodle dish’ or ‘six sushi plates and miso soup’ for £8.50 which is pretty good value. The hot dishes include Chicken Katsu Curry with rice, roast pork with ramen noodles and chicken teppan yaki with yaki soba noodles. If you’re feeling really hungry then £15.95 will get you a hot dish and ten sushi plates.

There is an a la carte menu that seems to serve mainly to demonstrate what good value the set meals are. Chicken Katsu Curry is £7.25, while the sushi plates start at £2 each. Do the math. There’s also a takeaway service, that includes party platters.

As a Japanese sushi restaurant with a conveyor belt Wasabi inevitably invites comparison with Yo! And yes, to be fair, it doesn’t do all that well in that comparison, but it’s good value, reasonable quality food, and filling.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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