Tuesday, 18 October 2011

More from Manchester

Yesterday our friends Martin and Maggie came to visit and after a bit of sight seeing we went out for dinner to a local Japanese restaurant, Sapporro Teppanyaki.  This was the first time any of us have been to a Japanese restaurant but it was an experience I can heartily recommend.  We sat around a huge hotplate (the table seats 8 so would be good for a party) and our personal chef came over and introduced himself as Ben. He brought all the individual ingredients for our meals and once we’d had our starters his performance began.

I must just comment on my starter before I go on. I have never had Tofu before so thought it would be a good opportunity to try it. I’d always thought Tofu would be firm and dry but I was served 3 large cubes which had been deep fried so that the outside was crispy but the inside had the texture of a creamy baked custard. It was topped with fresh seaweed, ginger and garlic and was an absolute revelation. I don’t imagine the Tofu you buy in the supermarket would be as good but I might just have to give it a try.

The main course started with saute potatoes cooked in front of us. Now I know these aren’t particularly Japanesey but they were the start of Ben’s performance as he took turns flipping the potatoes through the air for us to catch in our mouths - not easy to do when you are laughing!

tossing potatoes to other diners at our table
The next part of the act saw him juggling with fresh eggs which he then turned into a giant omelette to go into our fried rice. This was followed by the highlight of the evening when he set fire to the hotplate so that a dazzling whoosh of flames shot up in front of us. It’s very hot and very spectacular and took me by surprise so unfortunately I didn't get a photo.

Once the performance had ended he cooked our individual dishes in front of us, producing 4 very different but very wonderful meals. It was a fantastic night out and one we will definitely repeat.

Today the weather has been awful with torrential rain and hail but it didn’t stop us getting out and about as we took the free shuttle bus to get us into the town centre. There are 3 different routes around Manchester which make it easy to get around for free.

These are the fountains in Piccadilly Gardens which dance to a set routine. When it’s nice weather you often find kids playing in them but it was a bit cold today.

This is a memorial in Piccadilly Gardens. It’s the Tree of Remembrance to the civilians of Manchester who died between 1940 - 1945 in WW2 and stands on the edge of a line of natural trees so most people don’t even notice it.

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