One of the first Manchester restaurants to give molecular gastronomy a punt still does it very well. The £27.50 lunchtime tasting menu is extraordinary value.
With a sumptuous sky bar and tasting menu by ambitious executive chef, Aiden Byrne, Manchester House celebrates the city’s inimitable sense of style with aplomb. As the flagship restaurant and bar of Manchester’s most prolific and showy restaurant group, Living Ventures, no expense has been spared on the sleek industrial-chic design – or on the multi-million pound state of the art kitchens.
The menu has been a surprise hit and is excellent value, particularly at lunchtimes when you can explore six courses between two for around £27.50 a head. Byrne’s carefully crafted dishes – with their dry ices and sorbet domes – hark back to the heyday of Heston Blumenthal, El Bulli et al. Sensibly, they’ve been simplified enough at Manchester House to work for a business lunch or supper with friends.
The menu changes frequently during the week; dishes like squab pigeon with a foie gras ‘cherry’, or prawn cocktail with a passion fruit sorbet dome are meant to create a talking point at the table. They also show a continuation – and possible maturing – of Byrne’s cooking style, honed at his Church Green restaurant and previously at the likes of the Dorchester and at Tom Aitken’s restaurants. Solid alternative tasting and an a la carte menu are available for veggies, too.
As at other Living Ventures ventures, like Australasia or Grill on the Alley, wines are on the pricey side. Tasmanian Chardonnays and Clare Valley Rieslings may hint at much-missed restaurant group founder Tim Bacon’s Aussie roots, but this is not a snooty menu. Cocktails are largely classics, each of which is paired with modern option; Espresso Martini fans, for example, can choose from the original recipe, or go for one packing orange punch (Café Naranja). It’s a fun place to eat out, where everything, including the sky-facing booths in the pre-dinner bar, is aimed having a great time.