House of Fu, the popular Yorkshire ramen restaurant with a huge following in Leeds, is making its way over to Manchester.
Eyeing up a new home on Portland Street, the restaurant has submitted plans with Manchester City Council to take over the former Leaf site.
Having first begun life as a street food pop-up, House of Fu has revealed it will bring its Toyko and LA-inspired Japanese dishes across the Pennines for the first time – just a year on from opening its first brick and mortar site in Leeds.
Brought to Manchester by the team behind Leeds’ Belgrave Music Hall, Headrow House and Ox Club, diners can look forward to a range of different umami-rich ramen and noodle dishes, as well as dumplings, small plates and sides when it opens its doors later this year.
As for drinks, think frozen yuzu margaritas, homemade kombucha and cans of session sake from Kampai, as well as.a solid sake and wine list and craft beers sourced from local breweries.
From homemade gyoza to handmade noodles sourced right here in Manchester, there’s a lot to get excited about – all thanks to head chef Ben Iley, who spent nearly a decade at some of Japan’s finest restaurants before coming home to work on the House of Fu project.
With an impressive CV that includes Aquavit, The Tokyo American Club and Fujimamas, he landed in Leeds following nine and a half years Japan, only to be introduced to the Belgrave team ‘the very same day.’.
From that initial introduction, it would take six years for the concept to fully come to fruition – first beginning life as award-winning street food pop-up Fu-Schnickens before ultimately becoming the ramen restaurant it is today, with Ben taking a short detour into live fire cooking as the Head Chef at Ox Club somewhere in the middle.
When House of Fu opened in Leeds last summer, he told The Hoot: “I first met these guys and we spoke about doing this in 2014.
“The year that I was over in Japan, the guys behind this, Ben Davey included, who was working in Belgrave at the time, had a pop-up […] doing bao buns, chicken wings and that kind of thing, and that’s the year that they won best street food of the year or whatever it was, so they thought right, ok, we’ve got something here, let’s expand and look at building a restaurant, let’s do ramen […] and so they needed to find someone who could do ramen.
“Probably the day that I arrived back from Japan, a mutual friend between myself and Ash hooked us up and said ‘this guy’s just come back from Japan, these guys want to do ramen, like off you go!’ and I was like ‘wow, what an amazing opportunity.'”
In the summer of 2019, ahead of opening the first House of Fu site, Ben took the directors on a intense three-night dash through Tokyo – all eating and drinking their way in a blur across the city in the name of research.
Ramen choices range here from classic tonkatsu broths to miso chicken and mushroom options, and a special ‘green ramen’ made using a shitake dashi. Prices sit between £12 and £14 for ramen bowls, with diners given the option to add on ingredients to suit themselves from just £2 each.
There are also rice bowls and ‘super bowls’ to choose from, as well as sides like kimchi, chilli crunch rice and a ‘sunshine salad’ with Japanese radish, mizuna, jalapeno and yuzu.
Having been incredibly well-received in their hometown, House of Fu is now branching out with a second site here in Manchester.
The new restaurant is tipped to open in early 2023, although an exact opening date is still yet to be confirmed.
Owners Simon Stevens and Ashley Kollakowski said of finding their ideal Manchester site at Bruntwood Works’ West Village Building: “Manchester is home to some of our favourite restaurants and shops and it’s been great getting to know the city a little more whilst looking for a home for House of Fu.There’s such an exciting food scene in Manchester and there seems to be more great openings announced every week, we’re really excited to be part of it!”
Feature image – The Hoot
This Manchester restaurant serves an all-vegan roast with ‘meat’ and all the trimmings
A Manchester vegan restaurant is serving an all-vegan roast with mock ‘meat’ and all the trimmings, putting an ethical twist on the British Sunday classic.Keen to see if it’s worth the hype, I took a trip down to try it out for myself – and left feeling pretty impressed.
Not being a vegan personally, I enlisted the help of two friends of the plant-powered persuasion to accompany me to get a real feel for every option.
Suffice it to say, it was a success and, whilst I won’t be converting to veganism any time soon, it’s nice to know that there are options out there for when I feel like being ‘good’.
With three different roast choices on offer, Wholesome Junkies is the first restaurant in the city centre to venture past the usual vegan choices of mushroom Wellington and roasted squash and go all-out with a variety of mock meat options.
Meats have been created in partnership with Liverpool vegan brand CB Sushi, using their mock beef and turkey joints to give vegans the feeling of a ‘proper’ roast.
Think glazed ‘turkey’ filled with stuffing, medallions of ‘beef’ and crispy deep-fried oyster mushrooms, all served with lashings of onion gravy, ‘buttered’ seasonal greens, glazed carrots and parsnips, deep-fried stuffing balls, crispy roasties and fluffy Yorkshire puddings created by Mabel’s.
Having tried all three, I have to say that my favourite was the turkey. It’s actually my least favourite meat to eat, so it was something of a surprise to find I enjoyed the vegan version much more than the real thing.
The texture was spot on, and there was none of the dryness you typically associate with the bird. Washed down with a pint of locally-brewed Cloudwater Fuzzy Hazy Pale Ale, it absolutely hit the spot.
Coming in a close second was the deep-fried oyster mushroom roast, which was so packed with flavour that it almost felt like I was eating fried chicken with my Sunday dinner.
As for the beef, it didn’t really do it for me – tasting more of herbs than red meat, but then, I don’t suppose there are many vegans queueing up the block for a bloody meat substitute.
Wholesome Junkies has long been a favourite with Manchester vegans. First shooting to fame in 2018 with an appearance on BBC2’s Million Pound Menu, owner Chelsea appeared on the show to ask for 95,000 to open her own vegan junk food restaurant.
Prior to that, she’d been running her Wholesome Junkies concept as a street food pop-up at sites like Grub and Ancoats General Store.
Whilst her bid to impress the BBC judges was not successful at the time, the TV appearance put her on the map and within a year she had her own Arndale market stall.
Fast forward a few more, and in 2022 she opened her first bricks and mortar restaurant – taking over the former Umezushi site at 4 Mirabel Street.
Since moving in, she’s completely transformed it: decking it out in bright colours and filling every corner with quirky little ornaments and decorations.
Strings of fairy lights, hanging mushrooms and frames filled with pictures from local artists all make the small space feel incredibly warm and welcoming – and our visit the restaurant was absolutely packed.
At a time when so many vegan restaurants seem to be closing, it was an absolute joy to see so many bums on seats during our visit.
Veganuary might almost be over, but if you’re a vegan – or simply just trying to cut down on your meat consumption – it’s definitely worth giving this one a go.
Feature image – The Manc Eats
Meet the couple who quit their jobs to sell sandwiches from their Northern Quarter flat
If you’re a fan of things in bread (and honestly, who isn’t) then there’s a new Italian sandwich dealer in town that you absolutely need to get down your neck.
Serving up some of the best butties we’ve had in a long time, it’s called Ad Maiora and is being run by a couple who are making absolutely everything out of a kitchen in their little Manchester flat.
Collected from a nondescript door on a Norther Quarter back street, we’re talking giant focaccia-style loaves generously stuffed with premium ingredients like ‘nduja, spicy Tuscan sausage, smoked scamorza, mortadella, burrata and red pesto.
The brainchild of Sardinian couple Daniela Steri and Enrico Pinna, all of their sandwiches are made using only top quality Italian ingredients with a total of nine different options to choose from.
From the vegan-friendly La Nonna (Italian hummus, roasted aubergine, olives, sundried tomatoes and rocket) to a huge array of different cheesy and meaty delights, fillings include parma ham, gorgonzola DOP, truffled brie, Milano salami and crumbled pistachios.
Their bread is baked freshly by hand each morning using a tiny domestic oven, and they’re already baking up to 60 loaves of schiacciata (a traditional Tuscan flatbread) a day to keep up with the demand – putting just four in the oven at a time, over and over again.
On our visit, the pair tell us that they moved over from Sardinia to the UK six years ago and first tried living in London for a year (they say they hated it) before making the move up to Manchester.
In that time, they say they’ve fallen in love with the city of Manchester and with the Northern Quarter in particular.
Inspired by the brilliant food scene in their area, two months ago they both decided to pack in their jobs and pursue their own business instead – and haven’t looked back since.
Previously, Daniela tells us she’d worked at hotel Dakota in housekeeping for three years whilst her partner, Enrico, had been employed at Ezra and Gil. Despite their hospitality experience, though, neither of them had made bread before.
That doesn’t seem to be holding them back, though, and demand for their sandwiches is rocketing as word spreads about the new homemade Italian butties for sale on a Manchester backstreet.