Michelin star chef Simon Rogan hopes to return The French at Manchester’s Midland Hotel back to ‘former glory’

By Ed Owen

David Beckham once wooed Victoria Beckham with a first date at The French – and now the world-famous restaurant at the prestigious Midland Hotel has reopened, with a Michelin-starred chef ready to set Manchester’s tastebuds alight.

Double-starred chef Simon Rogan was asked to take over both of the hotel’s restaurants and launched the hotel’s silver service fine-dining establishment The French last night.

The culinary star – whose new menu will feature British-only produce – admitted that while there was plenty of interest in his services, he was seduced by the Manchester scene.

“There is huge affection for The Midland Hotel in Manchester and I want to help bring its restaurants back to their former glory,” said Rogan. “It’s a wonderful challenge.”

“Since getting the 2nd Michelin star, we have had numerous UK-wide opportunities for our next restaurant site, but I have always loved Manchester – it’s like being in London, but on a smaller scale.

“It’s trendy and dynamic, but very accessible and friendly – overall, the Manchester dining scene has been quite casual and bar-driven, but this is a great opportunity to set the trend for luxury dining, and the city is definitely ready for it.”

Rogan – who runs award-winning Cumbrian restaurant L’Enclume – is arriving at a time when The Midland have poured £400,000 on a revamp to their food and beverage services.

The move has left Manchester foodies chomping at the bit to try the new menu, which hopes to modernise the antiquated splendour of The French.

Katie Brunt, owner of Mancunian dining group Gastroclub, admitted that while last time her club visited The French the food was excellent, the silver service aspect seemed too strict and outdated.

Nonetheless, she remains extremely excited at the possibility of visiting again to try their new offerings.

“I hope they have managed to retain the grandeur and opulence of the setting but relaxed the style of service a little,” she said. 

“We’re incredibly excited to see what Simon Rogan offers diners and the effect it will have on other restaurants in the city, getting them to raise their game.

“Gastroclub is all about getting chefs to push the culinary boundaries to offer us spectacular and unusual food which is what Simon Rogan will bring.

“With the lineup of new restaurants and Chefs in the city it won’t be long until we get that Michelin star – it’s a really exciting time for diners in Manchester.”

Picture courtesy of Ben Sutherland, with thanks.

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