The spicy ramen specialists could be on the way to Portland Street soon
An exciting addition to the Manchester food scene might be on its way from Leeds soon. An application for a premises licence has been filed on the Manchester City Council website for the Japanese-inspired House of Fu. It looks like it will be landing on Portland Street in the city centre, bringing with it a menu of unique ramen dishes, gyozas, rice bowls and signature Fu-fried Chicken to the site formerly known as Leaf.
Ben’s passion for ramen inevitably won him the ‘Best of the Best’ title at the 2014 British Street food awards
Anyone familiar with Leeds will tell you that House of Fu has been a popular spot since it opened in July 2021. Our Leeds correspondents are constantly making its dishes the best of the month, and our reviewer thought its pork gyozas were close to perfection.
Owner and chef Ben Iley formed the idea for the restaurant after visiting Tokyo. An intended month’s stay turned into nine years of honing skills in some of the country’s top restaurants (Aquavit, The Tokyo American Club, Fujimamas).
After returning to the UK, the concept for House of Fu started life at Leeds’ famous Belgrave Music Hall as a pop-up enterprise, where Ben’s passion for ramen inevitably won him the "Best of the Best" title at the 2014 British Street food awards.
Stand-out ramen variations include Original Fu Ramen - with BBQ cha shu pork and burnt garlic oil, Spicy Fu Tantanmen - with spiced pork mince and crunchy chilli oil, and the Miso Chicken Ramen with the absolutely ludicrous sounding Cumberland schmaltz.
As well as unique takes on traditional ramen, House of Fu is well-known for plates of gyozas that come in porky and vegan varieties, alongside daily specials. The Fu Caesar salad replaces anchovies with Japanese katsuobushi tuna flakes and would have most Italians gesticulating with rage, but has us craving its panko croutons. And the Taco rice bowl features hot sauce, QP mayo and crunchy tortilla chips.
The OG restaurant on the “wrong side of the Pennines” has interiors heavily influenced by the bright neon lights of Tokyo. There is bespoke tableware made by ceramic studio Sunken Studios, tables by Leeds designers Three Create, hand-painted murals by Bobbi Rae from Leeds collective Bearcubs and neon installations from Wakefield-based studio Neon Workshops.
All begging the question of whether House of Fu’s Manchester outpost will be a showcase for some of our very own local artists and creators?
Another standout addition to Leeds’ House of Fu is the upstairs cocktail bar with karaoke open til late known as Hello Music Lounge. There you’ll find frozen cocktails like the Yuzu Margarita and a Kombucha Spritz with home-brewed ‘booch.
The premises licence application mentions "state of the art karaoke rooms" so it looks like singing along to your fave tracks after filling your belly with noods is most definitely on the cards.
It comes in the wake of a couple of other brands that have migrated to Manchester from across the North - Madre tacos and Middle Eastern-inspired Maray, both originally from Liverpool are due to open in Manchester this Summer. Anyone got a contact at the council that might be able to expedite this one?
House of Fu, 113-115 Portland Street, M1 6DW
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