You may have visited Japanese restaurant Sapporo Teppanyaki in Castlefield with a group of friends or work colleagues for the entertainment at the flaming teppanyaki hotplate.
This traditional but very theatrical style of cooking where master chefs create your dishes right before your eyes is a fantastic way to spend an entire evening. But what about when you just need a quick lunch? We went along for a quick lunch away from the office to give it a go.
The menu offers guests two courses for just £9 per person. The large space is contemporary and bold, a few groups sit at the teppanyaki tables to the front. We were seated with a few other couples in the relaxed sushi lounge to the rear which has large windows and some great views over Castlefield basin.
We sipped on some rather excellent Asian-inspired cocktails as we perused the Express Lunch menu and sushi menus. The Senji Caiprina (£7.95) made with sake and strawberries was particularly refreshing and moreish. The Nomimasu (£7.95) is a more serious affair with Appleton gold rum, apple juice, passionfruit and hot chilli flakes. There is a good selection of starters and mains and we were pleased to see some decent vegetarian options on there as well.
Being a dumpling fan, we ordered Chicken Gyoza to start. Ground meat wrapped in thinly rolled dough, created in China but popular throughout Asia. They were plump and juicy parcels packed with flavour and delicious. BBQ Ribs of slow-roasted pork were stickily covered in their sweet tangy sauce. Fingers required here. And some very delicate Shake Salmon Nigiri Sushi, the simplest form of sushi rice fingers topped with fresh fish and served with radish, pickled ginger and wasabi.
The sushi was that good we decided to throw in a couple of extras from the sushi menu while we waited for our mains. Another nigiri sushi, Soft Shell Crab (£4.95), was even tastier, the lightly fried soft shell crab adding some great texture, and the tangy tobiko sauce a spicy edge. The salty Ikura Salmon Roe with seaweed (£3.95) was one of my favourites. I just love that soft popping sensation in the mouth as the roe dissolve. And finally Wakame Temaki Sushi Roll (£6.50) was a strong vegetarian option but still full of flavour, hand-rolled seaweed cones with vegetables and sesame seeds adding extra depth.
For our main courses we had Oko-Nomi Yaki, again vegetarian – a new one for me as I’ve not come across it before. It was like a Japanese Spanish omelette, a savoury pancake with cabbage and shiitake mushrooms, topped with yakisoba (grilled noodles) and nori seaweed. It looked fantastic on the plate, and the taste was subtle and elegant.
Dragon Roll was even more impressive to look at. Six pieces of sushi roll filled with grilled eel, prawn tempura and cream cheese, wrapped in avocado and topped with tobiko (fish roe) and crispy tanuki (I’m assuming the thick noodle and not the cute Japanese racoon). The textures again were spot on and the taste was there to match.
We enjoyed a fantastic lunch and even with our added sushi course we were still done within the hour. It’s a great way to dine quickly, with no compromise on flavour, and good value too.
The Express Lunch Menu is available Monday to Friday 11.30am till 4pm for sit in, takeaway and delivery.