Yesterday I have a lovely day out in Newcastle with my boyfriend and we finally tried a Korean restaurant I’ve been wistfully looking at every time we’ve walked past. I’m sure you can tell from the title, but the restaurant is called Mannaza, and is a traditional Korean grill restaurant.
I recently watched a Korean cookery programme that showed some of these restaurants and I thought it was really interesting that you can actually cook your meat or seafood yourself, using a barbecue that is built into the table. It was after watching this that I decided I had to try this restaurant!
The first thing I noticed when we walked in was the decoration, which was really traditional and beautiful. At the front of the restaurant there were displays with traditional clothes, flowers and even masks which made the experience feel really authentic. We were seated straight away by very friendly staff and we quickly noticed that we were the only customers who were not of Asian descent.
Here is a photo of our table. You can see what I mean about the built-in barbecue, but it looked so daunting! I ordered Korean grape juice because I always like to try things specific to certain restaurants, and it was absolutely delicious. I loved the little grapes floating about in the juice, and found it hilarious sucking them up through the straw.
While we were waiting for our food we had a little nose at the cutlery and noticed that the chopsticks were flat. I’ve never eaten in a Korean restaurant before, and I didn’t have much knowledge of their cuisine so this was surprising to me. I wasn’t sure if this type was specific to this restaurant but after looking into it I learned that Korean chopsticks are flat and made of stainless steel. At first I found them quite difficult to use because I am used to using rounded wooden or bamboo chopsticks but after I while I managed to get the hang of it. I also thought they looked really beautiful.When our food arrived it was all beautifully presented, hot and delicious. I ordered sliced and marinated beef with steamed rice and pickled cucumber, and my boyfriend ordered a chicken katsu bento box. I wasn’t brave enough to cook my meat myself so I ordered the pre-cooked version.
The only issue I had with the food was that my rice and cucumber were brought out about five minutes before my beef was so I was sat looking at a lot of food I couldn’t really eat yet. However, it was definitely worth the wait! The beef was absolutely delicious with really subtle flavouring and perfectly cooked vegetables, the rice was lovely and sticky and I could have eaten the pickled cucumber forever. I don’t even normally like cucumber that much but it was really crunchy and sweet and the seasame seeds on top complemented it really well.
I also ended up eating all of Michael’s kimchee because he wasn’t too keen on it. I’ve only ever had kimchee once before and found it too strong, but this one was much nicer. It tasted fresh, sweet and spicy.
My full meal including the drink only came to £11 so it is unbelievably cheap. I’ve absolutely fallen in love with this restaurant and can’t wait to go again. It’s such a shame they don’t serve desserts but there are many other places nearby if you fancy something sweet.
Opening hours: 12:00 – 22:00
7 Taylor’s and Tanners Court, 1 Monk Street
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Arigatou for reading