Food Tourist:- Wood Manchester – New Menu Review

Since opening Wood Manchester in 2017, Simon Wood has taken time to showcase his talents, that made him winner on the 2015 series of Masterchef.

With it’s stunning tasting menu, it’s a place that made us want to go back time and time again. The only problem with a restaurant that serves a top class tasting menu, is that firstly it isn’t cheap (£110 per person plus drinks), and secondly, the menu is the same for a short while, so its just going to be a repeat.

All the times we have been however, the experience was nothing but perfect, with perfectly executed dishes, served up with some amazing wine flights, conjoured up by their previous sommelier.

This August however, saw a massive change in what Simon was to offer. Instead of a one option tasting menu, Wood Manchester now has a new al a carte menu, enabling you to choose what dishes you enjoy.

So in theory, this solves the two issues above, however is it going to be as good? Well there is only one way to find out, so off we went.

On arrival we were welcomed with the usual charm and offered a seat in the lounge area. Usually this is where you are given your taster menu for the evening while you order a drink.

Previously you would also have been served a couple of treats whilst enjoying your drink (Walk The Sky Cocktail for me), however no snacks were served. Usually I wouldn’t even pick up on this, but as every visit has had this, it was a noticeable change. This isn’t however a criticism, as the previous snacks were part of the paid menu, it’s just a change in overall experience.

When shown to our table, we were still in familiar territory , in a stunning booth that we had dined in before.

Another change for me was actually ordering wine, as with a taster menu, I do like to pair it with the chosen wine flight, although the wine list is great and I loved the Grüner Veltliner that I selected.

We were then given the menu and we started to choose our selection. Made up of small and large plates, you can mix and match and either have them Tapas style, or bought to you as a starter and main course with sides, all depending on what you choose obviously.

First up we selected a couple of ‘Breads’

The Milk Bread and Good Butter, was a good reminder of what we loved about Wood. Good honest food with a wow factor attached. The soft and sweet bread was a delight.

Next up was an Aged Comte Rarebit, which again was indulgent, although for me lacked the wow factor of most of the dishes I had ever had here.

Served alongside the breads, were two of the small plates that we had as our starters.

Bacon Cheek and Egg took me back to one of my favorite Simon Wood dishes of the past, with its homely flavours but with a real touch of exquisite class.

The torched Cornish Mackerel was also stunning, with a rather addictive ‘Chilli Crack’ topping.

We then opted for 3 large plates to share, with a couple of sides, these were Sticky Glazed Short-rib (£30), Whole Poussin (£30) and Cod Loin in Brown Butter (32).

As sides we opted for Pork Fat Parisienne Potatoes (£10), Deep Fried Pommes Anna (£9) and Heritage Carrots (£8).

The Cod Loin was perfect cooked and had great flavour, although they looked very lonely on the large plate.

I paired there with the Pommes Anna, which were dusted in what I can only assume was a vinegar powder, making this a very indulgent and tasty ‘Fish and Chips’ dish.

The Whole Poussin was a little disappointing for me, and as we had ordered loads and struggled to eat it all, it was this that remained half eaten.

The Legs were sticky glazed and were really tasty, however the wings were a little soggy and the crown a little dry, somewhat disappointing, but one dish wouldn’t ever put me off,

In contrast, the sticky glazed short rib was delicious and made even more indulgent when we also had a side of meat sauce – aka gravy (£6) added to the plate.

Potatoes and Carrots were happily dipped into the sauce on the plate, while the melt in your mouth meat was enjoyed.

At this point, we were bursting and just unable to try and of the desserts.

The meal had been very enjoyable, and we would definitely return, but ordering less! The bill for a couple of drinks each plus the food, came in just a little shy of £250, which wasn’t a million miles away from what the taster used to cost, and I really did miss that wow you get with the taster and of course the wine pairings.

Having said that, you now don’t have to go full out and can pop in for a couple of dishes and a glass of wine, making it more affordable when everyone is watching their spends, plus you can go back a couple of weeks apart, and still have completely different dishes.

For those that want it however, there is still the option of going for the Chefs Table, with its set menu and glass of bubbly on arrival, either way, I am sure you will love it!


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