Manchester House restaurant celebrates the city’s culture while giving the food scene a bold new twist. Michelle Langan fills her plate
Manchester House opened in 2013 and has quickly established itself as one of the true jewels of the city’s gastro scene. With numerous awards under his belt – and a BBC show Restaurant Wars: The Battle for Manchester covering its genesis – chef Aiden Byrne launched this restaurant to bring fine dining with a cheeky twist to the north-west. This place has it in spades.
First impressions are good, as we spot Byrne himself filleting the fish of the day in the huge open-plan kitchen – the start of the theatrical food journey to come.
With several menu choices, including a la carte specials, a lunch menu and a tasting menu, we chose the extended lunch version, offering us a choice of meat or fish versions. Today’s choice was lamb or turbot.
This is real fine dining with a sense of fun and whimsy. Amuse bouches arrived on a slab of beautiful stone, and look too delicate to eat (we managed). Stand-out dishes included cheese and onion soup – the preparation of which, our waiter informed us, involved liquid nitrogen and a balloon.
Scallops were matched with red mullet for me, while my carnivore guest had veal carpaccio, which he admitted to feeling guilty about eating, as it was so carefully crafted.
The dessert selection all looked incredible, and as our waiter was hard pressed to choose a stand-out, we went for the chocolate, hazelnut, liquorice and coffee and a cheeseboard. The selection is enormous and well chosen, including some good local cheeses. For a post dinner treat, it’s possible to take a cocktail onto the outside terrace to soak up the sunshine, and my ‘Stone Roses’ cocktail was a nice nod to some local music legends.
For fine dining with a theatrical flourish and elements of alchemy, Manchester House is a winner. Aiden Byrne has put a lot of his (northern) soul into Manchester House, and the whole experience is one to be cherished. From the jeans and tweed waistcoats of the impeccable staff down to the immaculately decorated crockery, every small detail gives this place a unique, quintessentially British edge.
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