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Chorlton fused

Jonathan Schofield visits Yakisoba in Chorlton

Written by . Published on June 12th 2007.

Chorlton fused

Chorlton’s fully functioning when it comes to food and drink shops, it has good delis (Barbakan, North Star, Belgian Belly), a good fishmonger (Out of the Blue), a good butcher (Frosts), a good wine shop (Carringtons) and a splendid vegan grocer (Unicorn). Tip: never buy your humorously twisted organic veg at Unicorn after a trip to Frosts: that meat filled bag’s a give-away, a dead give-away so to speak. Honestly, if looks could slaughter…..

The best dish was five flavours fried rice bento, a cracking mix of jasmine rice with king prawns, duck and shiitake mushrooms.

Whether the other retailers of Chorlton, aside from the food and drink places, have it so rosy is a different matter. There are two truths about this suburb, look at a house for five minutes and it’ll have gone up £5K, and whenever a shop closes a bar or café or restaurant (or all three combined) jumps in there in about three minutes flat. Many of them are predictable and amateurish, scarcely working on a neighbourhood level let alone providing a destination for those living more than two minutes walk away.

Yakisoba seems to buck this mediocre trend. The place has been recommended so many times to Manchester Confidential we decided to take a look. It opened before Christmas and is a good-looking space. There’s a nice little terrace under a lovely glass canopy on the main road to watch the Magic Buses swing by. Inside it’s a model of neat, tidy, contemporary Oriental design done on a budget. Very admirable.

Most people have described Yakisoba as Japanese, largely because of the name. The menu isn’t very Japanese at all though, so I asked. “Is this a Japanese restaurant?” “Perhaps,” came the reply. Very foxy. “Is it a Chinese restaurant with Japanese, Thai and other Far Eastern bits and bobs?” The waiter smiled and nodded, “that’s right,” he said. Glad to clear that one up then. Fusion food here we come - once again.

We went for the £6.95 early evening Bento and appetizer menu. This was good value in terms of filling us up. Taste-wise it was middling to good. The best dish was five flavours fried rice bento, a cracking mix of jasmine rice with king prawns, duck, shiitake mushrooms and so on. This was light and floaty yet packed with a range of flavours that created a satisfyingly spicy whole. Presented in a lacquered bento box which also came with salad, fruit and soup it was winner.

The chicken noodle soup and the stir-fried soy marinated duck in Thai red curry weren’t so good: a blur liberated from any sort of defined flavours. At least the three starters had been up to the standard of the five flavours bento, especially the gentle, easy-going chicken gyozu and the rich coriander vegetable triangles in their light batter.

Yakisoba is a classic sum of its parts. Nothing is exceptional but it combines the various elements to good effect. Service is brisk and usually comes with a smile and it’s cheap. There’s a buzz about the place too. If you want to people-watch Chorltonian diversity it’s exceptional. Is the woman with the big-wheeled pram making majolica somewhere? Is the guy with the little beard in graphic design? Are the four people round the table at the back, all teachers? Is the man with the tattoos and the shaved head – er..totally out of place?

Yakisoba isn’t a restaurant to cross town for but worth popping in if you’re passing by. There’s a take-away facility too.

Rating: 14/20
Breakdown: 6/10 Food
4/5 Service
4/5 Ambience
Address: Yakisoba Thomas’s
360 Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton,
0161 862 0888
Open: Mon-Thurs 5pm-11pm, Fri 5pm-midnight, Sat noon-midnight, Sun noon-11pm

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25 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

HenryJune 12th 2007.

are you able then to post under different aliases? do you? and where's the anonymous thing gone. If you respond to something and then delete it leaving your response, isn't that censorship? I read a big gumpf about letting us the readers have their say and being independent etc and you're deleting stuff you don't like. It's a joke isn't it?

Jonathan Schofield - EditorJune 12th 2007.

Henry, the policy is as stated above and as amended. Keep checking in future to see if you can find cracks in it. Monitor us. And if you're passing through Chorlton, Yakisoba is worth a visit especially if you're in a hurry or on a budget.

Jonathan Schofield - EditorJune 12th 2007.

Huge debate in the Confidential office right now.

HenryJune 12th 2007.

what did anonymous say? where's he/her gone?

SiJune 12th 2007.

Yes I've had a comment deleted after pointing out an error too. What's the point of doing that? It only serves to confuse. This is the internet, you have infinite space for all the comments and you don't exactly seem to be awash with them anyway- you need all you can get.

TarquinJune 12th 2007.

My dad never went to Manchester University.

RoJune 12th 2007.

Er. i know the link says 'Click to rant' but maybe this is taking it a little too far! BTW love Yakisoba. Great service and good food.

scottJune 12th 2007.

err....i came on here looking for a nice food review....whats this all about?

TristanJune 12th 2007.

Got take out from Yaki's the other day and loved it. Seems to fit the current Chorlton ethos of building 'em thin and comfortable (Escape seems large in comparisson) and seems nicely busy without being too hectic even though filled with people. I'll admit feeling elements of hangover at the time though and it took a lot of effort to work out what was going on with the menu as there's no clear seperation of starters, mains, drinks or bentos (which i still don't fully 'get'). I had the tea smoked chicken though and loved it, my girlfriend had something I couldn't pronounce then and won't try and spell now and enjoyed it just as much. Two bowls of (what I think was) tofu soup didn't go down quite so well but finding Tsingtao beers was a much loved and little found treat. £30 for take out for two, not expensive but not massively cheap either. Would definately go again :)

Phil TaylorJune 12th 2007.

Nice pics on this review too.....

HenryJune 12th 2007.

thank you for responding jonathan. you should get your pic up, so readers can judge on your cuteness. seriously, though, are you being totally truthful? Tristan replied to my message within seconds: did he seek permission? What about aliases? I've seen posters names change. On Friday one on Sleuth was up as James then changed to Mr T? Surely only staff can do that? was that permitted? was it relevant? And I personally would like to see what's been responded to. Looks weird otherwise

Jonathan Schofield - EditorJune 12th 2007.

Right Henry you win. We will keep all comments up no matter how trivial...from... NOW. Done and dusted. People power triumphs.

Jonathan Schofield - EditorJune 12th 2007.

Thanks for the maths, Anonymous.

Jonathan Schofield - EditorJune 12th 2007.

Henry, nobody is allowed to reply from this office under a pseudonym except Gordo and Sleuth.

frostyJune 12th 2007.

editor you really dont have to worry about going into unicorn with a bag our beautifull meat, we all get on very well with the guys at unicorn. by the way.... nice too see young stuart thompson as head chef at harvey nicols.. good luck chef, il be in touch soon.

MarkJune 12th 2007.

I like Yakisoba, its not trying 'hard' to be more than what it is. Its not pretentious and over-priced. You ex-Manchester Uni hurrays-'I live in Didsbury and call my Son Tarquin-speak in a posh accent-but went to a comprehensive' should appreciate it for what it is. Service is spot on.

HenryJune 12th 2007.

thank you jonathan. admit you also told a big fat one about about only gordo and sleuth posting as aliases and about staff asking permission and we'll call it quits and get back to nice food

GordoJune 12th 2007.


Jonathan Schofield - EditorJune 12th 2007.

Henry, we very rarely post on the site. In this case you are right that Tristan, who know's Yakisoba, has posted something. That's fine as long it's relevant and permission is sought. Otherwise we post when it's a direct question from a reader or when it's a correction, in this case over my maths in adding up the rating. Not sure this simple statement of fact was too interesting, so we corrected the bad adding up and acknowledged the reader - as much as an 'anonymous' can be acknowledged. Nor do we censor words unless obscene, defamatory and so on. Jayne's left by the way, I'm the editor now and sadly far less cute. I can sing 'the sun has got its hat on' backwards however.

HenryJune 12th 2007.

plus you've just deleted tristan's reply to me, which I've referred to, so it looks like I'm imagining it.

hellersdadJune 12th 2007.

Outed myself, it was just our friends at MC couldn't get the scoring to add up, but have finally got their Casio to give the correct answer

HenryJune 12th 2007.

see you at the job centre then

HenryJune 12th 2007.

ps. I've looked a few times at the pics of you all - the editor jayne being particularly cute, ahem, and notice there's a Tristan there. Is that him above? Do all your staff post messages to your own pieces?

HenryJune 12th 2007.

weird thing is. you don't only censor post you dont like from readers but you censor your own staff. For other readers, Tristan said he often posted when had something inetresting or outlandish to say. this was deleted by the editor who may or may not be cute and replaced with how thye rarely post and seek permission.

sue p chorltonJune 12th 2007.

For a real treat down at Yakisoba, try the mixed steamed dim sum (way better than the overpriced versions at the Laffin Buddha in Didders) followed by the XO Seafood Udon Noodles. As with a lot of places, the secret is in knowing what to order. If you live in Chorlton, it is a great neighbourhood restaurant. If you live in Didsbury, it's still cheaper than the Laughing Buddha, even with taxis both ways....We paid £170 (excl. tip) for 4 people at the L B the other day. In my book that does not represent good value for money.

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