I heard about Sakana on twitter and was waiting for a good opportunity to try it out. When they announced that they were offering a Pan Asian Afternoon Tea, I jumped at the opportunity to try it out. It was only when I tried to book a table online that I discovered there was a Living Social deal for it: 2 people for £19 or 4 people for £38.
Thus armed with the voucher, we arrive at Sakana with 2 others.
It’s worth noting that every place changes what they put into their Afternoon Tea, and Sakana is no different. Your experience may differ from ours.
I think we all instinctively wanted to order different teas as we wanted as wide a sample as possible! I wanted Matcha as I thought it’d compliment the theme of the food we were going to have. My sister ordered the flowering tea as she was curious what it would look like.
Ryo: I went for classic (albeit slightly less adventurous) Darjeeling while my husband went for the smokey Lapsang Souchong. Or I have to say I ordered Lapsang Souchong for him as he had this “too many teas to choose from” look on his face.
Pan Asian Afternoon Tea
The cake stand matched Sakana’s modern feel and I was very impressed with the selection of food. I’ve been to a few places in Manchester already for Afternoon Tea and this was just different in every way.
Ryo: I wasn’t exactly sure what “Asian afternoon tea” would consist of – but once I saw it, it all made sense! Loved the cake stand also, it looked definitely more modern and sophisticated.
The bottom tier consisted of two wraps with Asian style filling and one thing which I think was panko fried with kimchi sauce? This tier wasn’t amazingly good, just ok, but it was nice to have something other than finger sandwiches. I was particularly expecting more from the panko fried thing, but the flavours weren’t that strong or interesting.
Ryo: I actually quite liked the fusion feel in this tier. I initially thought they were tortilla wraps but they turned out to be Chinese pancakes – which fit the whole Asian theme. Having said that, I agree with Elsa that flavours were rather on the bland side. Panko was also disappointing as it was slightly soggy and greasy. Also, I think they might have used Japanese Kimchi flavour sauce – which I find it quite disgusting. People, please! There is nothing Kimchi about Japanese Kimchi sauce!
This tier basically had all the refreshing food. The sushi were all nice, but nothing outstanding. I think I may be biassed in this thought as maki (rolled sushi) is my least favourite type of sushi. Having said that, I do really like sushi in general. I did however really like the ceviche as it was a nice palette cleanser.
Ryo: Agree with Elsa. They were nice but predictable in taste. Rice was on a slightly stodgy side but, in general, they were OK. The salmon ceviche was very good though. I think it might have been nicer to have some fusion dishes (similar to ceviche) rather than more predictable sushi varieties.
These desserts were amazing, probably the only real stunner from the set. We have chocolate mousse, ginger sabayon and lime crumble, molasses tart, mango and vanilla cheesecake and finally matcha tiramisu. My favourite was the mousse as it has the most interesting flavours and I absolutely adore ginger in any recipe.
Ryo: Highlight of the day! Afternoon tea MUST have some decent desserts and this was where Sakana’s Asian afternoon tea shined. All desserts have the nice mixture of bitter/sweet, refreshing/sweet combinations and nothing was boring. Even chocolate mousse had the textual fun with roasted marshmallows on top. I don’t think I can choose any favourites as they were all very good. Mango and vanilla had the least interesting flavour but as it served the purpose of ‘fruity and refreshing’ element, I didn’t mind it one bit.
Photos from 2nd visit
Overall rating and comments
(8/10 -1 for fullness, I was comfortably full but not as full as most afternoon teas. I had expected to eat something more substantial. -1 for semi bland food. Service was good and with the Living Social deal, it was definitely worth coming here. The restaurant also had a decent amount of ethnically east Asian people visiting, which gave it plus points in my books as sometimes east Asians can be fussy about where they eat at.)
Ryo: (7/10 -1 for sub-par Kimchi flavour (I just can’t bear the taste), -1 for the amount of food. As Elsa said, it was quite small compared to other afternoon tea. And -1 for predictable savoury foods. I really like what they are trying to do in here as Asian afternoon tea is an exciting concept.
I have to say, it was a pity that the varieties of food Sakana served were mostly Far Eastern Asian food (Chinese wraps, Japanese Sushi/Sashimi with some pseudo-Korean flavours). I thought it was a missed opportunity to experiment some new flavours. For instance, how about Bánh mì bruschetta? Bulgogi wrap? Satay skewers with some interesting dips? Sakana is after all, a Pan-Asian restaurant.)
OVERALL RATING AND COMMENTS from 2nd visit
9/10 for the 2nd visit, -1 for semi-bland desserts. They have made the afternoon tea much more filling by offering more sushi compared to the last time so I’m removing that negative. I also found the food to be generally much more flavoursome than last time, especially the addition of the black sesame beans on the lowest tier. If you’re looking for an afternoon tea with a difference, I do highly recommend Sakana.
Ryo: 8.5/10 for the 2nd visit for me. +1 for removing the Kimchi Panko (it was replaced by black sesame bean salad – a much better dish), +0.5 for the amount of food which was much more than before. Although the savoury dishes tasted much more flavoursome than before, I still think that they are mostly the predictable variety of Japanese-inspired dishes. Also, their dessert menu was slightly worse than before. The complex mixture of sweet/bitter/sour desserts (green tea, ginger, lime and etc.) was replaced by mostly sweet tastes of fruits, caramel and chocolate. The two new additions were a bit of disappointment – miso caramel mousse tasted more like peanut butter than miso and macarons weren’t particularly note-worthy.
Despite this, I still think Sakana is a good choice for an afternoon tea and I recommend it to anyone who wants to have an afternoon tea with a difference.
Would visit again?
Yes, but maybe not for the Pan Asian Afternoon Tea unless I want to show someone something different. I would much prefer having a proper Asian meal or a proper Afternoon Tea. I am curious about the A La Carte menu so may come back here to try that at some point.
Ryo: I would visit again for Asian afternoon tea if they have more experimental flavours. Having said that, their A La Carte menu offers more fusion, interesting sounding dishes (e.g. Duck and Hoisin Okonomiyaki, Doenjang Pork skewers and Pulled Pork Steamed Bun) so I might visit there again to try these.
Address: 23 Peter St, Manchester M2 5QR
Do you like the idea of a Pan-Asian Afternoon Tea? Have you tried eating at Sakana before?
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