It’s no secret that Manchester has an abundance of top Chinese restaurants. Yang Sing, Sweet Mandarin and Wings spring to mind.
But one of the top rated restaurants on TripAdvisor is one you probably haven’t even heard of.
One Plus offers up a quirky dining experience that has left diners so impressed it is now sitting in the top 3 best restaurants in Manchester out of a whopping 1,895 restaurants.
The main attraction at One Plus is the Chinese Hot Pot – a bubbling cauldron of stock into which you dunk various ingredients – and a Yo Sushi style conveyor belt but with traditional Chinese cuisine.
It’s a relatively new concept to Manchester and at the moment is the only one of its kind in the north west. That’s one of the reasons why it has quickly become one of the most popular restaurants in town.
It was named Oriental Restaurant of The Year 2019 at the Manchester Awards, beating the likes of Tattu and My Thai.
The man behind One Plus is Alan Ng a Bury-based restaurateur who gave up a career in recruitment to start one of Manchester’s best oriental restaurants after being given the idea by his wife Michelle.
He’s managed to fill a gap in the market by appealing to diners who come for the experience as well as some tasty food.
“Myself and my wife Michelle hadn’t ever considered going into the restaurant industry,” he told me. “I originally owned my own recruitment company and one day I just decided it wasn’t for me. My wife jokingly said, ‘Why don’t you open a restaurant’ and it got me thinking.
“We were in China one year and came across a restaurant that served up Chinese Hot Pot that diners could make themselves using only raw ingredients. We thought it was a great idea. So we thought we would try that here in Manchester. We can’t believe how well it has done.”
We popped in to the restaurant to see what all the fuss is about. As you sit down at your table, it quickly becomes apparent that you will be doing the cooking yourself – you are faced with a little hob and some mini kitchen utensils.
On a conveyor belt that snakes around the room trundle over 50 different raw ingredients including seafood, meat, veggies, and tofu, each costing between £1 and £4. Each one comes with its own cooking time.
There are also various broths to choose from. We opted for one spicy and one chicken. Then off you go. Throw in whichever veggies, meat or fish that take your fancy and keep an eye on how long to keep them stewing for.
After an hour of plunging, slurping, steaming and the occasional chopstick mishap, we were full to the brim filled with all kinds of goodness, some of which we had never heard of before like lotus root and beancurd.
It’s safe to say Chinese people have a real taste for flavours, and it was very helpful that the staff where on hand to advise not only how to work your little cooking station but what flavours work best together.
And it doesn’t stop there. Up another level is the Chinese BBQ, a similar concept where you can warm your food up on your own coal fired grill in the centre of the table.
This is the newest addition to One Plus. It’s only been open a mere six weeks and it’s already heaving with diners.
“Diners have been known to come in and eat on all floors,” says Alan.
“We had a couple come over from Blackpool for their anniversary. They couldn’t decide which floor they wanted to eat on so they started with the Chinese Hot Pot, had a full meal, then went upstairs and ate at the Chinese BBQ.”
Alan couldn’t have been more surprised by the restaurant’s success at the Manchester Awards.
“I wasn’t even going to turn up to the event,” he says. “I wasn’t entirely sure what it was about. I just got told I was nominated. Michelle told me I should go, network and see what it was all about and One Plus ended up winning Best Oriental Restaurant of the Year 2019. I couldn’t believe it. I was over the moon.”
With One+ offering up something for everyone, it’s a perfect place for a night out with your friends or a date night with your partner. However, if your ideal night out is for somebody else to do the cooking, this might not be the one for you.
Otherwise make sure you pop along to One Plus and have a fabulous time. But remember, you’re cooking the food yourself. If you don’t like it you only have yourself to blame.
One Plus is open 7 days a week 11.30am – 9.30pm.
42 Charles St, Manchester M1 7DB