Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Wokooshii - A Japanese & Korean Food Extravaganza

"Food glorious food"

And oh how glorious the food was that I sampled a few weekends ago when I headed on over to Manchester for the day.

Now the reason for our Manchester visit came about when I received an email from the lovely people from intu at the Trafford Centre.

They asked if my ten year old son fancied being a part of their kids food review team and would he pop along and offer up a few opinions and thoughts about some of the food establishments they have to offer.

Charlie being the total foodie that he is (well he is my son) jumped at the chance and we were all swiftly booked into the Japanese and Korean restaurant, Wokooshii.

Now I have to admit that at one point we were all a little dubious at whether we would actually like any of the food on offer because we've never tried a Japanese or Korean dish before but we decided that it was high time we did so we agreed to go and give it a try.

And let me tell you - we are so blooming glad we did.

As we entered Wokooshii we were immediately shown to our table and without hesitation the owner, Gerry, came over to speak to us.

He was so welcoming and friendly and really couldn't do enough to help us.

Without having to be asked (because we were going to have to ask) he helped us and went through each section of the menu explaining what things were, how they came to be on the menu and how he and his chef had made little tweeks to some of the more traditional dishes to make them appealing to the UK market
(like not using a raw egg in the Bibimbap dish as would be traditional to do)

And although we were there to review, it was clear to see that Gerry and all of the staff were just as attentive to the other customers as they were being to us - we weren't getting any special treatment - it was obvious that they really care about the people walking into their restaurant and this is what I love about family run businesses.

No-one minds doing that little bit extra to make the customer's experience as spot on as possible.

And spot-on it was.

We actually found out that Wokooshii is now the only non-chain restaurant within the Trafford Centre and that's got to speak volumes really hasn't it - to be able to stand the test of time, and even expand, when facing some very fierce chain-business competition is really rather impressive.

The restaurant adjoining Wokooshii (which is also owned by Gerry) - Yang Sing Cathay - serves Chinese food and has actually been in business now for eighteen years.

Gerry explained that four years ago it was decided that the majority of Yang Sing Cathay's bar area should be adapted into a restaurant too and here, within this new space, Wokooshii was born and both businesses have continued to thrive ever since.

So - time for us to order and I really liked the idea that traditionally, Korean families order their dishes but will place them in the centre of the table allowing everyone to share and experience everything - and this is what we decided to do.

However actually picking our dishes was proving a rather more difficult task that it should have been so we turned to our expert Gerry who very kindly obliged, picking a variety of dishes out for us.

...although we did tell him first that none of us are raw fish or prawn fans....

And here is what we were presented with...

For starters we tucked into...

~ Yakiton...

...which are pieces of sirloin beef wrapped around spring onions.

~ Simply amazing ~

Even Charlie - who, bearing in mind, hates onions with a passion - could not get enough of these and said they had to be his favourite dish of the day...

But I'm not surprised really because they were packed with flavour and were cooked to perfection.

~ Chicken Katsu & Sesame with Teriyaki Sauce...

Now this for me had to be the ultimate dish and when I visit Wokooshii again - because I will be back - this is the starter for me.

The rice and the outer sesame seed layer were delicious and I could have easily eaten this whole plate to myself and maybe even another one besides.

~ Salmon Skewers...

Even my fish-hater (unless it's chip shop bought and battered) Hubby ate one of these and thought it was really rather nice.

The sauce had a real spicy kick to it too but it complimented the fish to perfection.

Stuffed and full of compliments, our mains were then quick to arrive to the table and they consisted of...

~ Teppanyaki Fillet Steak and Rice...

~ Can we just take a moment to appreciate the best tasting steak I have ever eaten in my life ~

Honestly - it was fantastic.

The small, bite-sized pieces were tender with quite a smokey, flame-grilled taste...but with something more

I just loved it.

~ Chicken Guksu...

...strips of chicken and fresh vegetables which were cooked right in front of us at our table in a hot stone bowl and then soba noodles and a yummy spicy sauce were added...


Can I change my mind and pick this dish as my favourite...?

(... check out the video below from 3:00 minutes to see just how it was done...)

And if all of that yumminess wasn't enough, Charlie, even though he was loving sampling everything from the main menu with us, was presented with his own dish from the children's menu too - a Korean noodle and chicken dish - he loved it so much he didn't even ask to try our Guksu which is unlike him.

The meal was finished off perfectly with a specially prepared for us dessert of Crispy Cinnamon Apple Wontons and Vanilla Ice Cream...

The ice cream and caramel sauce were the perfect accompaniment to the warm apple inside of the wonton and the whole thing wasn't stodgy or heavy and over powering at all - very enjoyable.

But then again I enjoyed everything - the food was just amazing and if you are in the Trafford Centre I highly suggest you give Wokooshii a visit.

I genuinely can't wait to go back again.

Aside from the lovely food, the atmosphere was so relaxed and laid back and the attentive, welcoming staff helped make the whole experience all that more special.

Charlie even enjoyed a quick chop-stick lesson from the boss himself...

Wokooshii - You do really need to go and check this place out

* food provided free of charge, but words, thoughts, compliments & pictures are 100% my own

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