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Fuzion review

Lynda Moyo enjoys a good battering on Wilmslow Road

Written by . Published on March 10th 2010.


Fuzion review

Where there’s students, there’s food. In Fallowfield, it's largely quick, cheap and nutritionless – and it can often be found upturned and covered in beer curdled vomit on a Sunday morning outside Revolution.

The tempura Mars bar is a light and crispy savoury batter cradling a gooey Mars. Take out the exotic sounding word ‘tempura’ and as my friend commented, “It’s like something straight out of a Glaswegian chippy.”

It’s not all bad though. Situated in and amongst the kebabs and pizzas is a student fine-dining Mecca called Fuzion. It’s so popular that it can afford to close when the students are on half-term, much to the dismay of locals who aren’t students. During term time it’s busy beyond belief.

Arriving on a Thursday at 7pm, it was almost at capacity. It’s like a condensed version of Wagamama, with those long, shared benches and menu placemats. It’s the Banksy artwork on the wall and backpacker atmosphere which makes it a little more casual. The waitress, who was clearly a student too, fitted us in like Tetris blocks and my friend struggled to get her leg over in a pencil skirt. Let that be a lesson to you, Kate.

Seating aside, there’s plenty more to stew – or stir fry – over at Fuzion. Firstly you need to decide between noodles, soup or rice – the three main components. At a noodle bar, noodles are obviously the most popular choice and as you walk to your seat, you can’t help but eye up other people's bowls and slurping habits. Rice and soup just aren’t as fun, are they?

Banksy Art

After selecting noodles, there’s then the choice of sauces, meats, flavours and noodle shapes to mull over. Pad Thai (£6.20) is listed in the wok fried specials section. As one of Thailand’s national dishes it was only right that we see if Fuzion could get it right. It came with plenty of assorted meats and seafood, a big wedge of lemon, thickly chopped chilli and a lacing of peanuts for texture. It’s one of the drier dishes on the menu, but Fuzion compensates for the lack of sauce by using fresh, colourful ingredients oozing natural flavours. My friend said it was “yummy” as she traded in her chopsticks for a fork. Eating slowly clearly wasn’t an option.

From the sauce-based noodle dishes we chose the Fuzion special, consisting of assorted meats and seafood in a green pepper and black bean sauce with thick, doughy udon noodles (£6.20). The bench straddler, now sitting comfortably, went for king prawns in oyster sauce, again with udon noodles (£6.20). Of the two, it was the green pepper and black bean sauce that packed the biggest punch, although both were great big boot filling portions which, like the pad Thai, were generously adorned with meat and veg.

Pad Thai

We returned the following week to try the rice dishes. Unfortunately this is where the quantity of menu items (68 in total) clearly overrides the quality in certain dishes. The Vietnamese braised fried rice (£6.20) was a confusing combination, all looks and no depth. Flavour-wise it was as exciting as a packet of flavoured Uncle Bens with a few cherry tomatoes thrown in. The Nasi Goreng (£6.20) wasn’t much better either and appeared to contain no salt whatsoever. There was plenty of bits of chicken, honey roast pork and prawns to be found beneath the Indonesian style rice, but this dish didn’t contain enough shrimp paste and chilli sauce, without which it was both dry and bland.

Luckily we ordered a couple of side dishes (which can also be ordered as starters). Spicy Thai chicken and vermicelli lettuce wraps (£4.10) are a moreish mixture of wok fried chicken bits, vegetables and stringy noodles in chilli and coriander. You dish this into iceberg leaves, drizzle it with sweet chilli sauce and a squeeze of lime before wrapping it up like an Asian-inspired burrito. My male companion found all this a bit too fussy, but I loved it. He preferred the salt and pepper pork ribs (£4), covered in a thick layer of tender meat with a crisp, garlic and pepper smothered coating. Less mess and more meat.

Salt and pepper pork ribsNasi Goreng

Rather than write off Fuzion over its overly ambitious rice menu, we decided that in future it’s best to stick to the well established noodle dishes and those brilliant side orders. Plus there are always the desserts, which are guaranteed to put a smile on anyone’s face.

In other pan-Asian food places, I’ve often dodged the desserts, as they haven’t lived up to the quality of the mains. Fuzion has attempted to make their desserts a little more fun and appealing by using existing skills and maximising them with... Mars bars.

Spicy Thai chicken and vermicelli lettuce wraps

The hot chocolate with tempura Mars bar (£3.99) is a light and crispy savoury batter cradling a gooey Mars. Take out the exotic-sounding word ‘tempura’ and as my friend commented, “It’s like something straight out of a Glaswegian chippy.” Washed down with a rich hot chocolate topped with lashings of whipped cream, it’s the adult version of the kiddies Pizza Hut ice cream factory – magnificent.

Fuzion Special

If you’re not a fan of such sickly sweet delights or the calorie count of a Mars, then the tempura banana with ice cream (£3.99) comes a close second. The hot batter softens the encased banana which, alongside a few berries, momentarily detracts from the plate-sized piece of battered guilt. There are a variety of ice creams to choose from to accompany this dish too, including the green tea. However, upon enquiring about this unusual flavour, I was shocked to learn from the waitress that: “It’s nice, but I’ve tasted better elsewhere.” Now that’s one student who definitely gets an A for honesty. We opted for chocolate instead.

Tempura banana with ice cream

Fuzion is certainly a food force to be reckoned with in Fallowfield. They know their strengths and that includes noodles, tempura and pleasing famished students with low prices and stomach stretching portions. Ask any former Manchester student and they will probably tell you that they visited Fuzion more times than they did Aldi. As an independent twist on chains such as Wagamama and Tampopo, it may be a little more rough around the edges in terms of décor and staffing but it feels real, and the food (bar the rice) tastes it. Venture to this student shrine. You won’t be disappointed.

Hot chocolate with tempura mars bar
Rating: 14/20
Breakdown: 8/10 food
3/5 service
3/5 d├ęcor
Address: Fuzion
264 Wilmslow Road
Fallowfield
Manchester
M14 6JR
Tel: 0161 248 6688
fuzionnoodlebar

Mon 5pm-12 midnight, Tues-Sat 12noon-12 midnight, Sunday 12noon-11pm


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

Hero
GordoMarch 10th 2010.

Great review. I used this place a lot when I went skint earlier in the decade, loved it. I need to go back and try that Mars bar....

Leigh ScottMarch 10th 2010.

I enjoyed that,I feel like i have eaten already and would you look at that wonderful tempura banana with ice cream,what a lovely picture.What do you think of the picture Mr Schofield? I bet Lynda didn't take it with her iphone?

NortherngeezerMarch 10th 2010.

I somehow struggle to get me leg over with anyone in a pencil skirt too, hehehe. Great review BTW.

Lord of the PiesMarch 11th 2010.

This place looks very tasty indeed!

Rose16099March 11th 2010.

Oh give it up for f###s sake scottee. is it all about the pics? arseee

Leigh ScottMarch 12th 2010.

Aww ...what a lovely lady, a real pleasure to be around most of the time i'm sure.

Ros WolfeApril 14th 2010.

Lynda Moyo clearly enjoys Fuzion (and why not, it's great!) - but saying that everything else on offer in Fallowfield is nutritionless kebabs and pizzas gives completely the wrong impression and will potentially prevent people from trying other restaurants in the ares - which in the current economic climate isn't what I'd call responsible reporting!

Has she tried Zucca, for example? I'd suggest she goes in and has a meal there. I'm a regular customer now, the food is fantastic (and yet student pocket-friendly!), the chef and staff helpful and friendly, and the place itself is bright, sylish and modern without a hint of pretension.

Maisy SmithApril 21st 2010.

Firstly, I think the comments in this review are very unfair as it suggests everyone in the Fallowfield area to be drunk students who enjoy nothing more than a dodgy but cheap kebab. Working in Fallowfield I myself like to venture out to eat/drink along with work colleagues and never leave anything upturned in beer curdled vomit. We often enjoy Fuzion and as Wolfie has suggested we are also regulars at Zucca Pasta Bar which I suggest Lynda also visits to realise not everything in Fallowfield is nutritionless junk as while people think this is all the area has to offer they will be put off from visiting places like both Zucca and Fuzion.

lilleth77February 22nd 2011.

I ordered a beef dish from the menu. I ate most of my vegetables before starting on the meat, as is a habit of mine. I choked down two pieces of unpalatable, inedible beef in a valiant effort to enjoy my meal but, when I found it slithering its way back up my gullet, I realised I wouldn't be able to force down anymore and asked that my dish be changed to chicken.

Cue the chef and her absolutely appalling attitude informing me that I had eaten almost 'the entire dish' and as a result she would only be happy 'to put some chicken on top'. On top of a beef dish?! REALLY?! Actually no, that was inaccurate, as there was clearly an almost full bowl of food in her hand which she then slammed onto the side next to her, and it was not going to happen because, as a chef and kitchen manager myself, there was no way I was being fobbed off simply because this creature was unable to cook beef without turning it into rubber.

When she realised I wouldn't be fobbed off this very angry woman then muttered some epithets and stormed off into the kitchen, leaving me in no doubt that at Fuzion, it doesn't matter if your food is inedibly awful, the chef expects you to eat it anyway and will make you feel as small as she possibly can before she will replace it with something that doesn't make you retch as you swallow.

I've eaten at Fuzion for several years and until today have never had a bad word to say about the place. The food and service have always been impeccable and this was the first time I have ever had to return a dish. This horrendous harpy has ensured that I'll think twice before eating here again and certainly won't be recommending it to my friends.

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