Review: Manchester House @ Spinningfields, Manchester

By Helen Le Caplain

Michelin-starred chef and Great British Menu star Aiden Byrne is cooking up a fine-dining storm since the launch of Manchester House.

Housed in an inconspicuous-looking office block in Spinningfields, Manchester House is focused on producing excellent food, service and the all-important Michelin-starred prize.

MM’s Helen Le Caplain got the chance to sample the menu ahead of its opening earlier this week.

Surrounded by an army of chefs and impeccably-dressed servers Aiden led the back-of-house staff in creating a veritable feast for both the eyes and the taste buds.

If you’re looking for quality food with a touch of the theatrical then this may be just the ticket for you.

Quality here however doesn’t come cheap.

The tasting menu will set diners back by £95, making Manchester House the most expensive restaurant in the city.

First to arrive at the table was a minimalistic starter of Ajwain cracker bread with carrot butter – a simple yet delicious way to start the meal.

The saltiness of the cracker bread cut through the richness of the carrot butter and left a lovely creamy aftertaste.

The next course arrived in a haze of dry ice and featured oyster, oxtail and beetroot.

The saltiness of the oyster and the earthy flavours of the beetroot contrasted beautifully on the palette.

The oxtail encased in dough might have been small in size but certainly was mighty in terms of flavour.

It had a deliciously meaty flavour and I could have happily eaten several of these in one gluttonous sitting but I had to restrain myself in order to leave room for the next courses.

Taking the theatrical element to the max Aiden crafted a dish that not only looked fabulous but also tantalised the tastebuds with the roasted pigeon with black cherries and pistachio.

But not everything is what it seems… that second cherry has a spun sugar stalk and a savoury surprise of foie gras.

The bacon and onion brioche with pea butter was a bit of a let-down when compared to the other sumptuous courses.

The brioche itself was flavoursome and light but I was disappointed at just how small it was.

Having already sampled one vegetable butter I could have left the pea version and the chilled pea juice didn’t really do it for me.

I expect something tasting of peas to be hot and have a, well… pea, texture to it. This was one ‘twist on a classic’ too far for my liking.

However Aiden bounced back and put the ‘star’ into starter with his stunning prawn cocktail entrée from the BBC’s Great British Menu.

This prawn cocktail was no soggy lettuce, prawns and Marie Rose dressing affair.

Instead we were presented with a sorbet globe encasing juicy king prawns and lettuce; full marks for presentation but if I was being picky a few more prawns in there wouldn’t go amiss.

Keeping the standards high was the Welsh black beef with oxtail which was served on a magnificent serving platter alongside a horn filled with truffle-infused gravy.

The meat was beautifully pink and melted in the mouth – the surprise element of the meal came in the form of potatoes coated in an unusual edible clay which at first glance made them look like mushrooms.

It’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into creating this menu with an emphasis not only on quality food but also on presentation.

If you’re looking to experience a slice of fine dining in the heart of Manchester, and don’t mind paying more than usual, then this is the place for you. 

And with a menu as diverse as this, that elusive Manchester Michelin star surely can’t be far away.

For more information about Manchester House, and to see the menus available, click here.

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