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Oishi Q Reviewed

Jonathan Schofield asks what's the story yakitori

Published on April 25th 2013.

Oishi Q Reviewed

FOR two years or so now Manchester's food has become incrementally better every month. 

I want to sing a song for these quails eggs, sit under a tree and write them an epic poem 

It's got better from top to bottom from The French, 63 Degrees, Cicchetti down to Slice, Almost Famous and now Oishi Q.  

The latter has a splendidly clipped and Japanese-functional interior of light woods offset by red detailing inside one of those utterly banal early noughties red-brick pieces of shamefully dire architecture. Going inside is a respite from looking at the crap on the outside.  

Architect: be ashamedArchitect: be ashamed

But you forget design worries when you behold three white bundles of circular delight on a skewer (main picture at the top of the page). I want to sing a song for these quails eggs, sit under a tree and write them an epic poem, I want to dance to their delicacy and cock a little finger as though holding a fine bone china cup of Earl Gray for their finesse. Aside from the dainty perfection of the preparation, the eggs were lifted by a delicately fiery sweet sticky sauce. Beautiful. Food adventurers seek them out.

Oishi Q is a yakitori cafe and takeaway and skewer's are what this style of Japanese food is all about.

The skewers cost £1.55 across the board and there's a minimum order of two skewers per visit. Since two won't fill you, the price can mount up. However if you buy four skewers you get one free or a free portion of rice or salad. For £26.95 you can get 20 skewers and four sides.  

Skewered tasteSkewered taste

Chicken is the staple of yakitori, lightly grilled, and then given a tare sauce to bolster the flavours - the sauce can be either salty or sweet depending on the preparation. Here you get all the classics; skewers of chicken breast, thigh, liver, skin, meatballs, wings. Standout here were the skin, thighs and meatball variants, all sublimely sauced up and delicious to gnaw. 

Other winners were the prawn skewers, that sweet, sticky sauce again performing wonders on prawns that were cooked just so. It took a little extra force on the bite to break through to the soft flesh beneath. Just as it should. 

Prawn funPrawn fun

The cherry tomatoes with pancetta were winners, but better again were the cracking shitake mushroom skewers arranged like cedar trees in a Hiroshige print.  

A word on the rice as well which had seaweed mixed in and was as well timed as the rest of the food.  


Colours and flavours at Oishi QColours and flavours at Oishi Q


The owner of Oishi Q is Raj who is a young man in a hurry. He hails from Singapore and he's all over those two buzzwords of the moment 'street food' like a rash. He wants to entrepreneur up several more of his Oishi Qs in short order across northern cities. 

He's definitely on trend as they say. You only have to look round the corner. Kukoos is another very good outlet - we reviewed it here. This corner of Manchester is becoming street food central, although the idea of street food not being on the street is troubling in its doublethink.  

Raj, young man in a hurryRaj, young man in a hurry

'Oishi' means delicious in Japanese, the 'q' refers to barbeque. Raj seems to be getting everything right here, aside from a little bit of confusion with the service as his proto-Empire beds in. 

But what the lad has done is add more colour to a culinary tour of Manchester.

And he's given me one of the most exquisite morsels of food so far this year with those quails eggs. As Manchester's food advances on all fronts, I thank him for that and wish him godspeed with his expansionist dreams.

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter here @JonathSchofield or connect via Google+


Oishi Q, Unit 7 The Quad, Hulme Street, City, M1 5GL, 0161 237 1112

Rating: 13/20

Food: 7.5/10 (thigh 7, skin 7.5, meatballs 7, quail eggs 8.5, shitake mushrooms 8, toms and pancetta 7, rice 7.5, salad 6.5, prawns 7.5, fish 7)
Service: 2.5 
Ambience: 3

PLEASE NOTE: Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20, we get carried away

Oishi QOishi Q


Meat as wellMeat as well

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