It seems a lifetime ago that I wrote about Cultureplex and the bringing of Bistrotheque, a london foodie destination, to Manchester. Finally the doors are being swung open and so I popped down to find out if it was hitting the mark.
Cultureplex is housed in a massive red brick warehouse located on Ducie Street, close to Piccadilly station and has a history dating back to the 1860’s.
Taking up part of the ground floor of the complex is Bistrotheque, with the remainder of the space being used as a lounge area, coffee shop and also still do come, a Cinema.
Similar to their warehouse concept in Bethnal Green, the restaurant will be housed around a large open kitchen, allowing diners to watch the kitchen staff work away with expertise and precision.
Having stayed at the ACE Hotel in shoreditch, I was familiar with another of their projects, Hoi Polloi, I was excited to see how this was going to fare.
The area is spacious and airy and the table we were shown to had plenty of space, their was two tables close by however were the two couples, sat at right angles, seemed to be joined by complete strangers at the adjoining table. Having a look around, this seemed to be the only table where such cosiness was apparent.
For starters I opted for a Fried Goats Cheese, Truffle and Honey. Visually the dish looked stunning and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. Unfortunately for me, there was quite an overpowering taste of blue cheese that I wasn’t expecting. Many people I know would have loved it, but maybe a mention that the goats cheese is a blue variety may have stopped any confusion.
I have to say that the staff were very attentive and it was good to be asked questions when they noticed I had left over half of it. The cost of this dish was also deducted from the bill without me asking or realising until after I had paid.
Wait for the main was a short while, however I am sure this is down to teething problems in the kitchen and with a little time that will be ironed out no problem.
The wait was worth it however, when my main of Cod, Chilli, Garlic and Sage turned up, I was very pleased. The fish was cooked perfectly, falling apart and juicy. The chilli gave a heat punch with some mouthfuls and the garlic was pleasant and well balanced.
I partnered the fish with a side of crushed potatoes with Garlic, Lemon and Oregano. Almost a greek style potato, the lemon flavour paired with the main perfectly, although could probably have done without the added chilli on this occasion.
India opted for a main of Potato and Comte Pie. with a green mustard sauce. This dish was also tasty. A great pastry opened up to show shredded potato and Comte cheesy goodness also giving a slight hint of black pepper. The green mustard sauce around the dish was both visually pleasing and tasty, with the mustard being fairly subtle.
Whilst being really tasty, the dish does become a bit too much and filling quite quickly, with only just over half being finished off, so maybe not having to be quite so big.
Despite being stuffed, we wouldn’t be doing you justice if we didn’t order desert, and boy am I glad I did.
I went for the Sticky Toffee with Smoked Butterscotch – its was moist and tasty and the sauce was incredible. I actually finished it, which is a rarity for me with puddings.
India choose the Frangipane Tart and the fact that she finished it without offering me any says it all.
The service we received was warm and friendly throughout, which goes far to making up for a few teething issues with timings etc and I wouldn’t hesitate in heading back at a later date.
To compliment Cultureplex, the rest of the building will be housing ApartHotel Native, who have a Industrial Chic vision for their rooms, fitting in perfectly with the warehouse and Bistrotheque and will be interesting to see it all come together.
Bistrotheque can be found on the ground floor of the Ducie Street Warehouse, or check out their website for information and bookings here