Yesterday I ventured into Manchester city centre for the first time on a weekend since before lockdown! I wasn’t sure what to expect or how busy it would be as we’ve mostly just been going to the supermarket and staying local for the last 6 months. We got the tram in and it wasn’t too busy but once we got into town, it felt pretty normal in terms of busy-ness to me.
Errands aside, there was another reason that we were going in…. to satisfy some cravings!! We have been pimping up naughty packet ramen recently for lunches but we really fancied some proper ramen… That and bubble tea – more on that later!
Manchester ramen places
There are a couple of places that do ramen in Manchester now:
- Shoryu Ramen in Piccadilly Gardens is a chain but I think it’s pretty good and consistent. They have a few different types of broths available if you want to try something new.
- Cocktail Beer Ramen + Bun (CBRB) on Oldham Street in the Northern Quarter, as the name suggests, does ramen and bao buns as well as drinkies for a more going-out-out vibe. I’ve only been once when it first opened and it was ok, but my other half has been more recently and says it’s good.
- Tokyo Ramen on Church Street, Northern Quarter is a smaller venue that we’ve been to a couple of times. Quite a short and sweet menu but the ramen here tastes pretty good, if a tad small. Good for lunch, maybe need some sides to be satisfied for a dinner. I think this place is closed for refurbishment at the minute but one to keep in mind for when they re-open.
New kid on the block
Maybe I’m giving away my age with that heading (LOL) but there is a new ramen place that has opened recently in the Mackie Mayor foodhall in the Northern Quarter. New Wave Ramen opened in July (very brave to open during Covid restrictions). Their Instagram drew us in in with their pictures of handmade noodles so we wanted to go and support them.
We just turned up at Mackie Mayor (no booking) and were greeted at the door by the host who explained that’s there’s social distancing in place and introduced us to the Alt.Eats app. The app allows us to do contactless ordering and paying. We got a brown paper bag with some wet wipes, cutlery, napkins and box water for a £1 fee per person, plus we were given our own paper place mats which was good.
There’s plenty of seating available in Mackie Mayor so we headed upstairs to the balcony level. I downloaded the app and entered our table number which is marked on the wooden spoon at each available table. The app is pretty simple to use, you just select which location you’re in (as there are also the Altrincham and Macclesfield foodhalls that are run by the same group) and it will show the current vendors. Then you can click into each one and order whatever you want, pay on the app and it will get delivered to your table like magic.
New Wave Ramen
On the menu, there are a variety of baos available which I was really tempted by but I stayed on mission. We both ordered the Tokyo Shoyu Ramen with the classic pork chasu, but Torikotsu (chicken tonkotsu and pork chasu) and Spicy Miso (veggie option with enoki mushrooms) were also available.
When it arrived, I was really happy with how it looked – double pork chasu slice!! Monsieur, you are spoiling us! There was also a full egg 🙂 – I say full egg, because some places only give half an egg (ahem, Tokyo Ramen and Shoryu) plus bamboo shoots, spring onions and nori. Oh, and CRISPY ONIONS which can only be a good thing.
We tucked in and the broth was super satisfying. Very rich and meaty. I’m going to use that overused word umami but it was. My other half was going mad for it. The noodles had a nice bite to them 🙂 And it was pretty filling as far as ramen bowls go. I really appreciated the bamboo shoots because I love these. Happy face!
The only things that I would change are – slightly hotter broth, it was at the temp that you can immediately slurp but I would prefer just a tad hotter. And my bit of chasu was a little bit fatty and could have been a tad more tender – but I’m nit-picking really. Overall, a very very good bowl of ramen.
As you may know, I have been doing art recently on the iPad. I was inspired to draw my beautiful bowl of Tokyo Shoyu ramen – here it is!
I used the Bardot Brush gouache brush set again and played with adding lots of layered textures to get more depth in the picture. At the end I (tried to) add highlighting and bubbles which I’ve never done before! Hopefully it adds an extra dimension to it.
I nearly forgot but our other mission critical craving was for bubble tea. On our honeymoon in Singapore, we had the best bubble tea and so, the brown sugar milk tea boba is now our ultimate fave. We intended to try out Ohayo Tea in Chinatown but goddamnit, the queue was massively down the street again so we went to Gong-cha instead for take-away. Again there was social distancing in place when queuing which (most) people followed. Mission accomplished and craving satisfied 🙂
We had a great experience at New Wave Ramen at Mackie Mayor. Very impressed with both the ramen and the service at Mackie Mayor which seemed efficient and most importantly, we felt safe. We may not be venturing out again anytime soon but it’s really good to see venues taking the risk seriously and I hope if you are reading this then you have an idea of what to experience if you are planning to go into town.