Jonathan Schofield enjoys a total success of a meal in the city centre's new Korean BBQ gaff

I KEEP having food and fun. I never wanted to go to a restaurant and cook for myself but it seems all the rage at the moment and I have to say it’s been a blast. First came OnePlus on Charles Street, with hot pots and conveyor belts of goodies to cook therein. Now there’s Annyeong, a Korean place, on Chapel Walks occupying the old Grinch unit.

Annyeong isn’t the owner (although I do know an Ann Young), it’s Korean for ‘Hello’ and ‘Goodbye’. Given the North Korean nuclear threat it seems such plurality of sentiment might come in handy. Here Annyeong should mean, “come in, you’re very welcome, is there anything we can do to help?”

The service is magnificent; warm, charming and friendly, a thousand smiles crashing off mirrors in a space that has been cleverly Easternised.

There’s a menu which includes noodle and rice dishes, kimchi specials, and some excellent looking soups. You can also do a hotpot in a similar manner to OnePlus.

180315 Annyeoung Review Img 0039
Big smiles while cooking tongues
180315 Annyeoung Review Img 0037
Cooking the prawns

My doctor recommends ‘U gu ji gar bi tang’ aka ‘Hangover Soup’ with beef, cabbage, soybean and rice at £9.90. By the way, mispronouncing the Korean title made me want to sing in a Yorkshire accent ‘On Ilkley Moor bha ‘tat’, which is another hangover cure. 

You can also try the BBQs; hot plates in the centre of a table into which you chuck ingredients and watch them sizzle and cook. This is what we did. It was a fine experience with great flavours and textures. I recommend you get help with this so you do it right. The staff at Annyeong are very willing to get hands-on and assist.

This was a total success of a meal for a smallish outlay of dosh

For the main goodies in the BBQ we had prawns (£13.90), squid (£9.90), ox tongue (£8.90) and steak (£9.90). There was also fresh lettuce (£2.50), spring onions (£1.90) and little pots of red bean paste, sesame oil and soy sauce.

The squid and the ox tongue were simply delicious. The squid came in big lumps, cut into smaller pieces at the table, and decorated with a cheeky chilli sauce. They were exquisite palate exciters without being overwhelming. I now only want to eat squid in this way (at least for the next two months).  

180315 Annyeoung Review Img 0041
Cooking squid with a little chilli: I only want to eat squid this way
180315 Annyeoung Review Img 0032
Punters tucking in

The very, very thinly sliced ox tongue had a delicacy which belied the name. My dining companion, who wasn’t keen on the idea, became a convert – well, sort of. With the ox tongue we were told to wrap the flesh inside the lettuce, add any extras we wanted and munch away. The crunch of the lettuce and the richness of the flesh added a great deal to the experience. 

The giant prawns were a success dipped in soy sauce. The steak was less of a success as it tended to move too quickly from the desired medium-rare to well-done, which doesn't work unless you're in a rush and there to gobble it in one go. I suggest trying the other options.

I will return to Annyeong. This was a total success of a meal for a smallish outlay of dosh. There is a good-looking lunch menu for £6.90 as well. When there’s good service, a pleasant space, reasonable value and good food, there isn’t a lot to argue with. I’m already looking forward to finding somewhere else new where I can try my hand at cooking. Maybe The French at the Midland will have me.

180315 Annyeoung Review Img 0036
180315 Annyeoung Review Img 0035
Onions and lettuce

Annyeong, 5-7 Chapel Walks, Manchester, M2 1HN. Tel: 0161 832 2491

The scores:

All scored reviews are unannounced, impartial, paid for by Confidential and completely independent of any commercial relationship. Venues are rated against the best examples of their type: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: Netflix and chill, 10-11: if you're passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: cooked by God him/herself.

  • Food 7.5/10

    Prawns 7, squid 8, tongue 7.5, steak 6

  • Ambience 3/5

    Good looking, a few bits of charm and a smart looking basement in development

  • Service 4/5

    Wonderful and happy