Sakana: Review

By Tim Alderson | Last updated 6 June 2016

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A friend of mine came to visit the other week and was pretty blown away by how much Manchester has changed since he’s been gone. We wandered round some bars near Tariff Street, a neighbourhood that had pretty much nothing to it only a few years ago, but now looks like the place to be in the city. Another area that feels rejuvenated right now is Peter Street. Buoyed by Brew Dog and the Alberts (Hall and Schloss) it’s certainly come on from the days of Brannigans. Nestled in there too is Sakana, a restaurant offering pan Asian food from an attractive open kitchen and cocktails served at a bustling bar.

I have to admit to having slept on this one awhile now, they’ve been open just over a year, but with the redevelopment going on round that neck of the woods the time seemed right to get involved, so we went to see what was cooking.

Beef tataki

I must’ve still had a hankering for pancake after Shrove Tuesday, as we kicked things off with the crispy duck. It was a lovely piece of bird and came served traditionally with cucumber, spring onions and hoisin sauce plus those paper thin pancakes. The beef tataki really blew me away, very rare slightly seared meat garnished with coriander and deep fried lotus root, it was delicious. Similarly impressive was the soft shell crab tempura, it can be an awkward crustacean but without the shell it’s got to be one of my favourite foods from the sea. The batter was light and crisp, add a tangy, creamy dipping sauce and you’re on to a winner.

Soft Shell Crab

Rib eye

For mains my companion had the teriyaki sizzler plate with rib eye, beansprouts and onions. If my photos had sound effects you could verify it was definitely sizzling away, you’d also have heard plenty of superlatives coming from the other end of the table too. I was also dead pleased with my choice of the gin dora. Black cod marinated in buttery sweet miso that flaked delicately alongside the accompanying well seasoned noodles and bok choi.


I hadn’t banked on the puds bringing much to table in fairness, but I loved my caramel tart. It came with a biscuit base, stem ginger ice cream and frozen blueberries. Definitely one of those moments when you don’t really want to share, but I swapped and tried a bit of the chocolate cake with coconut sorbet and banana. It was nice enough, but I was still thinking about that tart all the next day, you need this dessert in your life.

Chocolate cake

Caramel tart

Before my visit I’ll have to admit to thinking Sakana might be a bit more about the fancy cocktails and expensive wine list to be honest, rather than taking the food itself seriously, but I was dead wrong. The drinks are nice and the surroundings glitzy but everything we ate impressed too. Add in the small matter of an extensive sushi menu that we didn’t take the chance to explore and you’ve got a pretty compelling offer. There’s also a bit of a revamp on the cards with some new dishes to be added to the menu this week, Sakana is definitely one to watch.