There seems to be an endless stream of restaurants opening month after month, can they all survive? We are already seeing a huge number close, as there are only so many customers.
Unlike cities like London, it appears that the main source of customer for Manchesters Restaurants, are the locals. Not just those from the city itself, but people that travel an hour or so for a nice meal out. Therefore its about ensuring these customers become clients – someone who wants to come back again and again.
The latest restaurant I’ve visited in Manchester is located in the newly renovated Manchester Hall on Bridge Street.
An impressive building, which is set to house other restaurants too, Masons has tried to embrace the ex Freemasons past of the building.
The restaurant / bar area is much smaller than anticipated, with the bar itself taking up quite a lot of space.
The decor is a bit confusing however. The walls and wood lends itself to a men’s club and I love the emblems that they feature, however it feels too forced – take a trip just down the road to Hawksmoor and you get a more authentic feel of luxury from times gone past.
One wall is painted white and has a series of shelves containing plants, it would be more suited in Australasia than in a room wanting to retain a ‘Masons’ feel. The worst thing however was the view you get when you look up. A PLASTIC ceiling trellis with plastic greenery – I really couldn’t figure that out – it was also carried through to the downstairs bathroom – Were they just trying to cover something unsightly?!
We were shown to our table and handed menus, and then left alone. After 5 mins I had to ask for a drinks menu. I was told ‘You mean a wine list?’, No – I wanted a drinks menu, but ok a wine list would be a start.
On returning with the list of wines, available by Glass or Bottle, we were informed that they don’t have a drinks menu but can make anything up at the bar if we had a drink we wanted.
Starters arrived and the feeling around the table were mixed. The Mussels with Tomato and Chorizo went down well, as did the Goats Cheese, however I think I chose badly.
I opted for the Pigeon – Spiced and Pan Fried served with a butternut squash puree. The spicy flavours were there, however the pigeon itself was quite tough and chewy, which made it un-pleasurable. Having recently had such a beautiful pigeon dish at another Manchester Restaurant, I was left disappointed.
Moving onto mains. Again the dishes were mixed in quality. One person really enjoyed the Fig and Ricotta Tart, but it was quite a small dish.
The Pan fried cod also went down well.
My Duck dish however looked nice on arrival, although the potatoes reminded me of large chain restaurants, rather than an independent restaurant. I had requested my duck pink, however once I started eating, I found it was siding on med/well done, which made it a little tough.
The biggest issue I had with the duck however, was the fact that it had an overpowering flavour of spice, more than the ‘Spiced Pigeon’ – It was as though it had been smothered in a Five Spice Seasoning before pan frying and that meant you could taste nothing else on the plate.
We also had a steak served to the table that was literally swimming in blood on the plate. All the meat dishes could have done with some resting time before serving.
Usually I would give this feedback at the table in these instances, however with one server, I was finding it difficult to get anyone’s attention for anything, even for requesting another drink.
On a positive note, the 3 dessert’s we ordered were good, I really enjoyed the Chocolate Marquise with homemade chocolate Ice Cream.
Meatloaf sang that two out of three ain’t bad – unfortunately I didn’t even get that. One dish out of three at £50 a head was disappointing. ( That did include a glass of wine each + service charge added)
I did email the restaurant for feedback, however I have heard nothing back from them, not even an acknowledgement.