Restaurant Wars featured two of Manchester’s Restaurants with Aiden Byrne and Simon Rogan, slugging it out in search for a Michelin Star, neither did, but both restaurants have gone on to be very successful and are still popular a few years on.
I’ve been meaning to book into Manchester House for some time, but what with working away and the other half working shifts, finding the time to get booked into such a popular restaurant seemed impossible without planning way ahead.
Last month however I booked a table, and dined only last week. To be honest I was surprised to get a booking on a Friday evening at such short notice as previously it appeared they were booked up for months in advance. Maybe the departure of Aiden has resulted in less bookings as people shift to his new restaurant to try out – and with a look at the website it shows that they actually still have spaces available for this Friday!
Nathanial Tofan has taken over the reins since Aiden’s departure, having worked under him for a number of years and so has a wealth of experience in this restaurant as well as another Living Ventures restaurant, Australasia.
We arrived a little early for our booking and headed straight in. The restaurant is housed within the Spinningfields Complex, with the entrance at the end of The Avenue North. On entering the foyer you are led straight into a lift, with the Restaurant itself being based on the 2nd Floor, their bar however is housed on the 12th and so that’s where we headed first.
We enjoyed a drink with the sunny views outside, waiting to be collected and led to our table downstairs. Having arrived at 6:30pm, with a 6:45pm reservation, it was a little disappointing to be waiting until 7:15pm to be collected, especially as we had somewhere else to be after dinner.
On the bar itself, I read another review recently, which points at how worn the bar area is becoming. I can only confirm this opinion. With one too many paint touch ups, the bar is looking a little tatty and isn’t competing with the new surroundings that you get in so many bars in the area. In fact the bar area was very quiet, with it appearing the only people up there were those waiting for a table.
The design of the restaurant itself is beautiful. Designed to represent Manchester’s industrial past, the steel girders, cotton strands, and what I can only assume were atom like features were different, warm with an upmarket feel.
Having waited an extra 30mins for our table, I was also surprised to find the restaurant looking half empty.
We sat and started to peruse the menu.
Options were al-a carte or 8/12 course tasting menu. We opted for the al-a-carte on this occasion
For starter I choose the Roast Quail. Served on a bed of fine diced Mango and topped with a lime pickle. The quail itself was beautifully cooked, unfortunately the lime pickle was over powering and it was all I could taste on the plate. It is listed as also containing cardamon, however this flavour was completely lost for me.
The Langoustine however was beautiful was the flavours being subtle, allowing the Langoustine to really shine.
Onto mains and I went for one of my favourite eat out dishes, the Lamb. The meat was perfectly pink as requested, served with Potato, Baby Onions and Sweetbreads.
This dish was good and I enjoyed it, but if I’m 100% honest, I didn’t let out a sigh of delight, as I have at some other dishes in Manchester recently. That’s not to say that anything was wrong with it though. I’ve possible just spoilt myself too much.
Our other main was a Pollock and Pasta dish with Lemon Hollandaise, this one really did delight the taste buds, with all of the flavours working incredibly well.
Onto desserts and India immediately jumped at the chocolate dish, not that she’s a chocolate fiend, she can take it or leave it. It was more the fact that it contains cherries, which she loves. The little I tried of the chocolate I enjoyed, rich and velvety.
Myself, I choose the Passion Fruit dish. I’m not really a dessert person, usually just enjoying a simple chocolate dish. However I have to say, that this was my favourite dish of the evening. The basil gel was a flavour shot that went so well with the Passion Fruit, the soft white chocolate sorbet and meringues balanced the flavours perfectly.
The evening was finished with some complimentary chocolates, all of which I devoured
Overall my experience was a good one, the service by all the staff was impeccable, and apart from the 30 min delay in getting the table, I could not fault any other interaction we had. The food was good and enjoyable, although I would really like to get that wow factor when I taste things at a restaurant of this calibre. Possibly I just chose the wrong dish.