I’ve lived and worked all my life in and around Manchester and for the first 25 years of my work was in catering. Now I love to travel, explore, taste great food and be adventurous.
Restauranteurs present a vast array of traditional dishes with their personal twist from all over the globe, and this great city certainly has a lot of talent when it comes to food.
There are creators and followers, masters and students and then there is Manchester House and restaurants.
Surrounded by those who judge for a living, Manchester House is located on the edge of fashionable Spinningfields between The Civil Justice Centre, The Crown Courts and Manchester & Salfords Magistrates Courts… so no pressure then.
In what appears to be at first glance an office block reception area, we were greeted and directed to the second floor.
As we left the lift we were warmly greeted by staff in this industrial and rustic setting. Here stands a carefully planned space for the talented, hard working brigade in an open plan kitchen and dining area under the careful direction of Aiden Byrne.
It would be insulting to call this a restaurant. That would simply invoke an image of a standard menu and service in pleasant surroundings.
Manchester House is a creative dining experience where you have the opportunity to witness a master and his team at work.
Tables are carefully spaced, whilst the many staff in grey tweeded waist coats and jeans discreetly watch over the guests.
The wine glasses give an incling of what is to come .. they sparkle without a single water mark on them.
We were looked after by Mo and his assistant Paul. Their confidence in our culinary journey bode well as our first tasters were brought to the table after having been offered water and drinks.
Entrepreneurs are risk takers as is this Master Chef who reveals his opening salvo with one of three incredible dishes.
Who would have thought it was possible for instance to create a masterpiece that challenges the senses with a nori rice cracker, topped with smoked red pepper jelly, goats cheese and basil… this is beauty, redefined.
Manchester House does not try to be a standard restaurant and nor should it. The dishes that come from this open plan kitchen are carefully and masterfully formulated, composed and created.
The artistes that deliver these unique creations have passion and flair that present the diner with blends of colours, textures and flavours that … well… you need to be a master to create, because they are not likely to be in any average cook book.
The dishes are confidently and professionally introduced and explained to guests by the very competent staff.
In the same way you might wish to visit an exhibition, performance or something of beauty .. Manchester house allows you to immerse yourself in their culinary world.
These are just some of the many stunning dishes that originate from Chef Byrne’s kitchen.
Salt aged duck breast, cherry and fois gras.
The wild halibut is to die for topped with Tête de Moine, a swiss cheese and carefully laid to rest on a bed of leek and other exotic ingredients and flavours.
This is a place that will not suit everyone and I think Chef Aiden knows that. This is a place where you have to be adventurous, where you know that there is food beyond a staple diet. Manchester House presents even the most cautious diners with an opportunity to drop their guard and indulge in precious blended and individual combinations and visually breath taking presentations.
Even the stunning finale is a masterpiece, where rhubarb, yoghurt and ginger take on a whole new image.
The lemon meringue, yuan and basil were just genius! A delicate meringue case that disguises itself as a mouse explodes with flavour and textures to complete this food experience.
Strangely, I’m satisfied and full, despite a mix of tasters and main courses. Some may be put off because this is not what they’re used to, but let me assure you that you’ll not be disappointed with your two hour extravaganza here so long as you understand that there is nothing standard about Manchester House.
This extraordinary place is accessible to anyone who enjoys this style of cuisine, hence why Chef Byrne developed the set lunch menu and priced it at an affordable level. The menus change frequently and obviously he sends out other little tasters on top but for 2 courses at £22.50 and for 3 it is £27.50 which for a restaurant of this standard (it costs a lot to operate!) is pretty good.
The lunch menu can also be a more speedy option for those on a working lunch who don’t have time for a more leisurely experience! If you’re on a budget Manchester House is affordable and for such a unique dining experience you’ll not be disappointed.
You can find out more about Manchester House here