The thousands of hours it takes to perfect making some of the best sushi in Manchester

They say it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill but this bloke's probably gone well beyond that in his time — that's what makes MUSU’s omakase experience so good.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 23rd February 2024

We’d wager if you took a survey of people on the street in Manchester and asked them what food they find most intimidating, a very big chunk of the answers would be sushi and raw fish.

But then again, most of them haven’t been to MUSU yet.

Listen, we get it, even tasting menus sometimes sound a touch upmarket and a bit out of their wheelhouse to some people, but this two AA Rosette-winning Japanese restaurant is helping make fine-dining and seafood experiences more accessible whilst delivering a truly unforgettable meal.

We recently had the pleasure of chatting with Head Sushi Chef André Aguiar after he served us MUSU’s ‘omakase’ tasting menu straight from the counter, which features some of the most amazing sushi, nigiri and all-round high-end produce we’ve ever come across. This guy knows his stuff.

Can you give us a brief overview of your background/journey as a chef?


I started my career in Brazil which was my home country. I was in the army and met a captain who was passionate about Japanese cuisine. After he introduced me to the world of Japanese culture and cuisine, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.

I then opened a Japanese restaurant in 2010 in Brazil and stayed there for two years before selling the restaurant in order to move to Ireland in order to learn English.


I met a Japanese master at Taste by Dylan McGrath in Dublin who wanted to retire and move back to Japan but the deal that he had with the owner of the restaurant was that he had to find a new head chef before he left so I started to train with him, he was very strict and it was really tough but I persevered for three years until I was ready to take over the head sushi chef position and was there for 4 years.

After Taste, I moved to Italy for 6 months to open a restaurant and train the staff then came back to Dublin in 2019 and continued to work there but then Covid hit and unfortunately they
closed down due to the pandemic.

After the pandemic, I went to Portugal to open another restaurant and to train staff and when working there I was approached by the directors of MUSU who were on holiday there and were looking for a head sushi chef to join the team.


After they tried my tasting menu at the restaurant in Portugal, they offered me the position immediately, so I moved to the UK the next month and I’ve been here ever since.

Amazing. What was it that drew you to MUSU and the ‘omakase’ concept specifically?

The fact I was able to build a team from the ground up, develop a menu from scratch
and work with the finest ingredients in the world.

At the end of the day, that’s what every chef wants.

Simple as that. What about your favourite sushi creation?


During the development of the menu at MUSU I was able to experiment with lots of different ingredients. While I can’t name one favourite creation the three stand-outs are the Chu-toro seared with Japanese charcoal; the carabinero prawn with miso butter and then the salmon with foie gras.

During development, I was able to create a selection of ‘Edomae’ nigiri that really pushes the boundaries of traditional Edo-style sushi — if you visit I’d recommend trying a few of them.

Yep, we can vouch for all three of those dishes. What advice would you give people new to sushi/seafood/tasting menus?

Most of the people who come here and say they are afraid to try raw fish or have usually had a
bad experience with sushi due to low-quality ingredients. When they try it here, we always get asked why it is so different and why it is so good.

I always tell them the details behind the sushi we create including the ageing and curing process to improve flavour and texture as well as the rice quality, temperature and seasoning.


We use the best ingredients in all of our sushi, including the best sushi rice, nori seaweed; A5 wagyū beef; aged soy, aged vinegar and the freshest wasabi on the market shipped directly from Japan.

I always recommend that people just be open-minded when it comes to trying new things. Sometimes people have one bad experience and never venture into it again, whereas when people are open to new textures and flavours they have the best experience.

Absolutely. And if you had to describe the omakase experience in three words what would they be?

Unique, captivating and quality.

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Literally translating to, “I’ll leave the details up to you”, that’s how we’d sum up the whole omakase experience: you get to watch a craftsman carefully examining every minute detail as he builds some of the most incredible seafood courses we’ve ever had the pleasure of eating right in front of your eyes.


Chef Andre is a master in every sense of the word and not only do you get to see his skills on show but his knowledge of the cuisine and pure passion come across as he explains each and every dish.

Every incredible ingredient is lovingly presented and you get to witness the clean, military-level precision and almost surgery-like operation unfold up close as the freshest of produce is turned into little plates of art. It’s quite fascinating to watch.

So if you’re guilty of being nervous try sushi and seafood in this kind of setting, there aren’t many better places to push the boat out and dip your toes in. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed — and better still, if you sign up for the MUSU Rewards scheme, you can get 30% off your food bill this March and even more throughout the year.

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Featured Images — The Manc Group