Sakana Pan Asian, Manchester

Rory and I have been officially ‘boyfriend’ and ‘girlfriend’ for a year, mental! How he put up with me over this year is beyond me but he has, and to celebrate we tried out Sakana in Manchester (check it out here). It is crazy the amount of incredible deals you can get in January, definitely the worst time to be on a health kick! I highly recommend eating out in January, we were spoilt for choice, but decided to take Sakana up on the offer of 51% of all food from the A La Carte menu (which was a lot!).

On Friday evening we dolled up, sacked off the diet and drank a bottle of prosecco before heading out to Sakana. Located a short walk from St Peter’s Square tram stop (although we got an Uber because they also have a deal on!), just next to the infamous Albert’s Schloss (you can see where the nights going…).

As you walk into the restaurant you instantly get a great vibe, the front room is a lovely bar serving elegant looking cocktails, with music that is upbeat and friendly. Going through into the restaurant is wonderful; they have the kitchen on show in the back of room, and beautiful décor all around. There is a large tree with red lanterns on which looks really funky and on the way to the toilet they have painted glow in the UV paint in a floral cherry blossom tree, which is so vibrant as you walk through it is beautiful!

The staff were really friendly and helpful, although they had some licensing issue, that meant all drinks were in hard plastic cups/wine glasses, and any bottles of wine were kept at the bar. They were very hot on topping up our glasses so no complaints from us, just a little strange. The menu was huge, so much choice and most of it included in the 51% off deal, the waitress explained clearly what we could and couldn’t have and then gave us time to decide.

Rory and I have big appetites, and we decided we were going all out. SO MUCH FOOD! It was heaven. Instead of getting a traditional starter and main we decided to order 7 different dishes and some rice and pick at it tapas style. While we waited for the food we ordered some thai prawn crackers, controversial to many peoples opinions but I like these more than normal ones, they are crunchier and have so much more flavour, and the sweet chilli dip blew my mouth off!

Sakana - thai prawn crackers
Thai prawn crackers and sweet chilli dip – £3
Before we had even finished nibbling on these the first of 6 dishes arrived. Kataifi King Prawns, these are King prawns wrapped in a soft string pastry (reminded me of rice noodles) and served with a creamy chilli sauce. This was my favourite of all 6. The prawns were perfectly cooked, fat and juicy. The weird pastry string complimented the crunch beautifully and the sauce was delicious with the right level of kick.

King prawns
Kataifi King Prawns – £7
Next up, we had a ¼ aromatic crispy duck, classic order and a delicious one at that. I love duck pancakes, the spring onion and cucumber, the pancakes, hoisin sauce and duck just go together so wonderfully, I wish I could eat this everyday! Really lovely dish, and a staple choice! The duck was shredded at our table in a very quick and easy fashion, and a great amount of quality meat on the table.

Crispy duck pancakes
¼ aromatic crispy duck pancakes – £12
While eating our duck one of Rory’s orders came to the table. I was a little bit taken back by this when he suggested it, but decided to jump in and try it. This was Taiwanese buns with Chicken Karaage; steamed fluffy buns with Japanese fried chicken and sweet and sour sauce. Rory hadn’t realised that it came separate and bit into a plain bun, realising his error he quickly filled it up. I was pleasantly surprised by these; the plain bun acted like the bread of a burger, taking away some of the spice but keeping all the delicious flavour of the chicken. They weren’t my favourite but I would definitely have them again.

Taiwenese buns with chicken karaage
Taiwenese buns with chicken karaage – £9
Next up are two different beef dishes we ordered, a beef Galbi; Korean marinated beef, served with kimchi, sesame seeds, spring onions and chilli with Galbi sauce. The second beef dish; Chinese black bean beef skewers, tender beef marinated in a black bean sauce, these were both a little overdone meaning the beef was chewier than I like, but Rory loved them and ate anything I didn’t want.

Beef galbi
Beef galbi- £11
Chinese black bean beef skewers
Chinese black bean beef skewers – £9
Then arrived the Thai Grilled Chicken (Kai Yang). These were chicken thighs marinated in lemongrass, coriander and turmeric, with a spicy tamarind dip. They were delicious; juicy and flavoursome, and the tamarind sauce complimented the chicken very well.

Thai grilled chicken kai yang
Thai Grilled Chicken (Kai Yang) – £8.50
Lastly we were disappointed with the duck spring rolls. It was a rushed decision as they had ran out of the vegetable golden money bags (which sounded incredible), I’m not sure what the problem with these were, they just lacked flavour and I think a little overdone. Throughout this meal we also had a bowl of jasmine rice which we used to eat some of the sauces; probably an unnecessary order but nice all the same.

Duck spring rolls
Duck spring rolls – £8
So there we have it, a crazy delicious menu, with a huge array of choice, flavours and cooked beautifully, a couple of things could have been done better but I was really impressed, and will definitely be back. With the discount, and a bottle of prosecco all of this was only £30 each plus a tip, pretty good deal if you ask me! Sadly our evening didn’t stay cheap, after leaving we went to Albert Schloss (it would have been rude not to) and ended up buying many shots. But you only live once and it was a wonderful way to spend our anniversary.

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