Guardian critic Grace Dent raves about ‘pointedly bonkers’ Manchester restaurant Musu

At £110 for seven courses of £150 for nine, Musu isn't cheap - but it's magnificent

Georgina Pellant Georgina Pellant - 27th March 2023

The food critic Grace Dent has published a rave review of one of Manchester’s new restaurant openings, Musu, bestowing national kudos on the Bridge Street eatery.

Referred to by the Guardian reviewer as ‘very possibly the most expensive restaurant in Manchester’, in a glowing write up she compares it to ‘the Starship Enterprise, albeit one with geishas on the walls and a £110 seven-course menu’.

Already a favourite of Ilkay Gundogan’s notoriously hard-to-please wife (it’s the only eatery she’s praised since famously saying that the Manchester food and drink scene was ‘horrible’), thankfully, Musu has now found a more discerning reviewer to recommend it.

Dent opens by advising ‘all who have already taken terrible umbrage that Musu even exists’ to ‘abandon reading this review here’, before going on to say she, personally, is ‘rather cheered that there are still people north of Watford who have the faith and gumption to open places as pointedly bonkers as this.’

Image: The Manc Eats
Image: The Manc Eats

The 55-cover restaurant is described as being ‘as dark in places as Adrian Mole’s bedroom’, with plenty of attention paid to its ‘theatrical’ detailing.


A glass-fronted private dining room that, ‘at the touch of a button, turns frosted’, gets a special mention, as does Musu’s bold ‘Japanese murals, globe lighting and […] nakedly open kitchen’.

Read more: Ilkay Gundogan’s wife has finally found a restaurant she likes in Manchester after saying our food and drink scene is ‘horrible’


But the real praise is reserved for the cooking of chef Michael Shaw, formerly of Gordon Ramsay Inc and Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, hailed as ‘minuscule portions of exquisite pleasure that linger in your mind.’

As she reels through the seven-course tasting menu, praising each dish as she goes, things go from great to excellent.

At one point, after digging into Musu’s sashimi (described as ‘ three of the finest pieces of sashimi imaginable’) she proffers: ‘I felt like handing my badge back there and then – it’s over; I won’t ever taste better’, before moving on to another ‘outstanding’ dish.

Image: The Manc Eats
Image: The Manc Eats

If there is a criticism, it’s that upon finishing the seven courses she still finds herself hungry – commenting: ‘Very rarely – in fact, never – do I wish I’d chosen the longer tasting menu, though at £150 plus drinks, that would have been guaranteed to cause a reader revolt.’

This, in turn, leads to some good-natured musing on just who all these people are spending hundreds in ‘mobbed’ Musu on a Friday night, with Dent asking pointedly: ‘Where are they getting their money? None of them seemed to be the type to have Brink’s-Mat gold buried at the bottom of their garden.’

Read more: Historic Salford boozer The Crescent where Karl Marx drank set to reopen

Summarising, she writes: “If you’ve already decided to boycott Musu over the sheer cost, the din and the small portions, I must at this point stress that the food is outstanding.

“Sure, Musu isn’t for everybody, but if someone else is funding your wanton extravagance, then drag them there. It’s unforgettable for many reasons: some of them are hilarious, yes, but mostly they’re just plain good.”


Read more: The best restaurants and bars to open in Manchester in 2022

Feature image – The Manc Eats