Student-friendly Japanese restaurant serving decent sushi, noodle dishes and pan-Asian curries
Ten years ago the closest most Manchester students got to Japanese cuisine was a Pot Noodle, but the arrival of cafeteria-style noodle bars such as Umami has secured the presence of pan-Asian casual eateries as a mainstay in most university towns. Located on busy Oxford Road, around the corner from a flurry of favoured student pubs and bars, Umami is an unassuming restaurant, popular with both students and university workers.
The menu is big on choice: there’s plenty of Japanese-style dishes, such as udon (a thick, wheat flour noodle) broths as well as expected staples like teriyaki salads and katsu curry. You’ll also find other Asian classics such as coconutty rendang curry, pad thai and Cantonese roast meats. When it comes to their ‘small plates’ (most under a fiver), it’s hard to go wrong with something deep fried; try their vegetable tempura or salt and pepper squid.
All dishes are available to take away, and there’s also a sushi menu if you don’t fancy a hot dish. While their nigiri is no contender for those who are used to the likes of Nobu – or Manchester’s own Umezushi – it’s world’s apart from the supermarket stuff. What Umami lacks in authenticity, it makes up for in value: two courses from the lunch menu will set you back £5.95 between noon and 3pm (beware the out of date menu on the restaurant’s website), and the majority of the rest of the menu is under £10. Booze is cheap, too, keeping it student budget friendly.
Umami can get busy at lunchtimes, but the service is usually efficient. It’s also a great stop off for a pre-gig fill if you’re heading to the Academy further up the street.
147/153 Oxford Road