Thursday, 25 February 2016

Sapporo Teppanyaki, Manchester

Sapporo Teppanyaki, Manchester
A couple of years ago, all my friends were recommending Sapporo TeppanyakiThis fell on totally deaf ears, as I was going through my awkward decade of insisting that I hated all fish. Granted, salmon still gives me the creeps, but it turns out that some cat scraps are actually very nice indeed. Furthermore, Sapporo Teppanyaki does all sorts, not just fish as I had originally dreamt up.

We went on a random weeknight before a gig, so expected it to be really quiet. Nope, half term was in full swing, and we were sat at one of the large communal style tables with lots of children and a work's do. Turns out the children were the best behaved of the lot!

We were a little flummoxed by the huge menu, so opted for banquet style stuff, meaning we got to try a little bit of lots of goodies. First thing's first though, drinks were promptly offered and ordered.

Cocktails (clockwise)
Please note, these were not all consumed in one go, yet I'm confident that had that been required, we would have fared well.
  • Saké’tini - Saké, infused with Chambord black raspberry liqueur, strengthened with vodka, then topped with fresh pineapple juice: Seemed rude not to sample something Saké based to begin with. Word of warning, you may think it just tastes like fruit juice, but it gets stronger as you drink. Very pleasant little number though. 
  • Sapporo Japanese Beer: There aren't a huge amount of beers on the menu, but at least they had something Japanese which complemented the food. 
  • Senji Caiprina - Saké with strawberry puree, strawberry, sugar, fresh lime and strawberry liqueur: I could drink these all night.
  • Tokyo Ice Tea - A blend of vodka, Bacardi rum, Gordon’s gin, tequila, Midori and Cointreau, finished with lemonade: I liked the sound of this because it appeared to have all the spirits in it. Even the melon balls were infused with the booze!
  • Grateful Dead Iced Tea - Premium vodka, white rum, gin and Cointreau shaken with lemon and lime: My cocktail drinking homie polished this off pretty quickly, so I can only presume it was a success!
  • Nihon Hiji (Japanese Elbow) - A twist of saké, tequila and Midori with apple juice, a dash of lemon and touch of salt: I imagine too many of these could kill you off! Pretty strong but with a decent tang. 
  • Suntory Old Fashioned - Hakushu whiskey aged for 12 years blended with Cointreau, aloe vera, agave and orange: This was recommended by our waiter, who insisted we try a cocktail with Japanese whiskey in it. They are noticeably stronger than the fruity ones. Gee whizz.
Sapporo Teppanyaki, Manchester
Miso wakame soup: I can't help but get the Mighty Boosh 'Soup' song in my head whenever I read 'miso'. Check it out. This was a refreshing spring onion broth served with one of those slightly awkward spoons, which somehow adds to the overall experience.
Sapporo Teppanyaki, Manchester
Namasu salad: I cannot say enough nice things about this. I want all coleslaw style dishes to taste exactly like this, from this day forth. Crunchy, sweet, tangy and wonderful.
Sapporo Teppanyaki, Manchester
Nigiri sushi, barbecue spare ribs and smoked chicken roll: These next dishes were the first proper part of the banquet, served as our chef 'Ninja' was firing up his grill in the centre of our table. These were lovely little tasting platters served with wasabi, pickled ginger and sweet dips. We both agreed we could probably eat a full rack of those delicious ribs. I avoided the raw salmon...
Sapporo Teppanyaki, Manchester
Vegetable spring rolls, prawn tempura and maki sushi: That prawn tempura made me angry that I was such a fish-o-phobe for so long (yes, totally made up word). It was heaven when dipped in soy sauce.
Sapporo Teppanyaki, Manchester
Grilled vegetables and sapporo sauteed potatoes: These had been sizzling away on the grill whilst we ate. Oh my word, this may look like a pile of veggies, but they were amazing! Again, that sweet crunchiness that I was previously unfamiliar with, which got sky rocketed to my 'what could you just have?' list.

I have to note here that the chef's game of throwing potatoes into diners' mouths is not for me. I was the cacked handed frigger who 'gracefully' caught one on my top, and batted the other at the children sat to my left. My dining buddy caught his first time with no warning. I think he'd been practicing.
Sapporo Teppanyaki, Manchester
Egg fried rice: Preceded by a show of egg-throwing-about skill by Ninja, this was made on the grill in front of us. Hotter than the surface of the sun, but so much better than the stuff in a sweaty tub from your local takeaway.
Sapporo Teppanyaki, Manchester

Ninja doing his thing
Beef sirloin and beef fillet: No exaggeration, the steak was out of this world. I was getting really full by this point, but managed quite a bit. We were asked how we wanted it cooking too, so it was utterly perfect. I've starred longingly at this picture several times since.
Sapporo Teppanyaki, Manchester
Sea bass and king prawns: Both from the sea, both gorgeous. I'm a total convert now.
Sapporo Teppanyaki, Manchester
Half lobster: Looks like hell, tastes like heaven. I always insisted I could not eat anything with a face, so I just didn't look him in the eye. Really buttery and sweet, with a lovely soft texture.
Sapporo Teppanyaki, Manchester
Jumbo prawns: I didn't try the prawns, only because I was verging on not being able to move. I was assured that this was also delicious and beautifully cooked.
Sapporo Teppanyaki, Manchester
Chicken fillet with asparagus: I know I'd sort of declared myself out of more food, but this was too good! Smoked chicken wrapped around asparagus and cooked over that lovely grill.
Sapporo Teppanyaki, Manchester
Strawberry cheesecake and P&D deli ice cream: The cheesecake was the only dish that we weren't overly keen on. The base was a little soggy and the cheesecake lacked flavour. However, brownie points were regained for the old skool ice cream basket. It would be nice to see some traditional Japanese desserts as menu choices.
Sapporo Teppanyaki, Manchester
In summary, we were impressed with Sapporo Teppanyaki. We weren't really sure what to expect to be honest, and first impressions were a little marred by a room full of children and a screaming work's do beside us. However, as soon as they started feeding us, all was forgiven, and the sound of the grill drowned out mouth-almighty beside us...

The cocktail menu isn't huge, but the ones they offer are well considered Japanese versions of classics, with a few signature brews thrown in for good measure. We were big fans of the live cooking, and the grill which seemingly turned meat into little pieces of heaven. One tip though, leave the drinks menu with the diners; we kept having to ask for ours back.

I would highly recommend the banquet style if you're unsure what to order. I tried some wonderful things that I would never have dreamed of ordering if picking from a menu. I think Sapporo is best visited in a big group, where the theatre and communal seating arrangements can be fully taken advantage of.

Disclaimer: I was invited to Sapporo Tappanyaki to sample the food and drinks, however I was under no obligation to say nice things. Likewise, they did not force me to eat fish, however they didn't give me any warning of low-flying potatoes. 

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