I’ve always been a fan of Korean BBQ ever since I was living in China and the local Korean place offered a refreshing change from the typical Chinese grub that I ended up having to eat every single meal of every single day.
It was made even better with the fact that you could cook the food yourself on a little hot plate in the centre of the table, ordering in raw meat and vegetables and spending a couple of hours cooking, chatting and scoffing beers with my fellow teachers.
Manchester and its surrounding areas have seen a slew of rather impressive Korean joints turn up over the last few years with the likes of Ban Di Bul and Annyeong hitting the centre while Stockport is home to the wonderful Baekdu Korean BBQ (which you should certainly visit!)
Well, looking for something to do last Thursday evening I decided to check out a place which I’ve passed on the bus hundreds of times but never been in – Azuma in Hulme.
A true hidden gem, Azuma looks very unassuming from the outside, with very little signage, a rather difficult door to find and an almost invisible online presence to boot. It’s all a bit of a mystery and so I went down to find out what was going on and dispel any fears you may have about giving it a try.
Things like this can be rather daunting to some people, and to be fair if it wasn’t for my previous experience of Korean BBQ in China I would have probably been too scared to go in – fearful of looking like a plonker in front of my date (and everyone else in the room).
Upon entering Azuma though all potential issues were quickly dispelled. We were given the choice of two menus – the BBQ or the A La Carte. “BBQ please” and just like that we were seated in front of a hot plate with a sheet of paper in front of us.
For the measly sum of £22 per person you can have All-You-Can-Eat Korean BBQ (with unlimited soft drinks) and it’s absolutely bloody brilliant.
You order your meat, vegetables and sauces from the aforementioned sheet of paper – ticking exactly what you want brought to the table. If you want some more, just grab a friendly server and tell them and they’ll plonk it down with the rest. You have 2 hours in which to get involved – which even for us – was more than enough.
We ordered some Pork Belly, Chicken Hearts (get these!), Chicken Wings, Black Pepper Beef and an array of vegetables and dips but there’s LOADS more on offer.
Seafood lovers will most likely tuck into the King Prawns or Squid, whereas there’s also some impressive looking Pork Chops on offer, as well as Beef on the bone.
Once you’ve ticked everything off its a case of cooking it to your liking, eating it however you want and generally having a bloody good time. Paired with a few ice-cold Tsingtao it was the best meal I’d eaten in ages and I ended up with some significant meat sweats towards the end.
Even with the Korean BBQ options in the city centre, Azuma is certainly well worth a visit. £22 All-You-Can-Eat is fantastic value, the service was impeccable and the food was mega. What more could anyone ask for!?
Azuma, 73 Cavendish St, Manchester M15 6BN
0161 226 1776