What if you don’t want to clog up your arteries with a greasy donner kebab, an MSG ridden sweet and sour pork or some barbeque sauce sodden nuggs? What happens if you want something that actually tastes good?
Well, I discovered the answer last Friday night, and the answer is Cottonopolis. Between 10 pm and 12 pm they offer a very special late night menu they call Japanese Junk- and it is hands down some of the best food I have encountered here in Manchester.
I apologise in advance about the pictures- it is pitch black in there and even my trusty iPhone X couldn't do it justice.
Here’s the idea; Cottonopolis has taken the Japanese fusion vibe that they have going on with their main and brunch menus, and have married it with some serious Junk food flavours and textures to create a delicious hybrid that is everything you need to satisfy your late night hunger.
We walked in and ordered a couple drinks- which is another thing I like. The eating portion of your evening doesn’t have to be the end. You can make it a bit of a pit stop before carrying on. Japanese Gin and Tonics all round.
The menu is compact- which is something I am always a fan of- and is separated into buns and sides. We kicked things off with the pork and veggie options of Gyoza. These were smothered in chilli jam and Kewpie Japanese mayo which I can’t help but see as a homage to the kind of fries I would get from a kebab shop after a heavy night. I like it.
The dumplings were amply stuffed with the succulent filling and were both steamed and fried. This gives a soft, tender texture to the dough and a crispy bottom that would have Mary Berry shouting from the rooftops. Top marks all round.
The Bun section of the menu includes both Bao Buns and burgers, and it is here where things got really interesting. Although the Bao were mighty tempting, we opted for the burgers instead- and I am so glad we did.
We opted for the Wagyu beef and Katsu Chicken burger and, get ready for a bold statement; I think the beef burger is the best in of its kind in Manchester.
I think this for a number of reasons. First, the beef was tender, flavourful and robust- it had a bit of bite to it which make it feel homemade. It had to be about an inch and a half thick too- so you certainly get your money worth of sacred, beer-fed, massaged cow meat- and at £9 a pop it is hard to fault it.
The burger was adorned with American cheese and mayo. That’s it. And it didn’t need anything more- it was utterly perfect. One more important detail about these burgers is that you could pick them up and hold them gently between two fingers and nothing would slip out. NOTHING.
When was the last time you had a burger without most of the contents spilling out on to your plate, or worse your clothing? The Cottonopolis burgers were structurally sound- sort of like as if St. Peters Basilica could withstand a nuclear bomb.
We sided these burgers with excessive praise, more drinks and a portion of the Prawn Cracker Nachos. Prawn crackers, with avocado salsa and chilli sauce- these were as good as they sound, and a perfect light side-kick to the best burgers I have ever tasted.
Alright, I’ll admit I might have gotten a little over-excited about the burgers- but I stand by my word. Burgers aside, the menu is exquisite, and I urge you to look no further than Japanese Junk at Cottonopolis with the late-night munchies strike again.
Japanese Junk is served from 10 pm - 12 pm every day
Cottonopolis, 16 Newton St, Manchester M1 2AE
0161 236 5144