Manchester…so much to answer for.
It had been a wee while since my last trip to Cottonopolis so I was pleased to be back in town. I was further delighted by the prospect dinner with my dear friend Frances who suggested we should go to The French, one of Manchester’s most enduringly classic dining rooms, now under the stewardship of chef Adam Reid.
I’d popped into the Midland Hotel, home of The French, for a cocktail on my last trip so was aware of its grandeur. This didn’t stop me from rocking a hibiscus flower shirt in partnership with my usual action footwear.
The French is a very smart, classic hotel dining room. It has clearly been given a fairly recent makeover so quite deftly balances the classic and modern, although the floorboard carpet was a bit of an oddity.
They offer a range of tasting menus from 4 to 6 to 9 courses. We took the middle path with 6 courses and the wine pairing.
Courses were delivered by a range of different kitchen and front of house staff. Each wine was given a detailed intro by the knowledgeable sommelier. The pairings were routinely excellent.
Things kicked off with whipped cod roe on squid ink crackers. These were a splendidly light and creamy opener. With these we had a little snack of pork skin crackers.
Next we had poached lobster with San Marzano tomatoes. This was a simple and elegant balance of fresh ingredients.
We then moved on to the most creative and fun dish of the evening with a beef tartare hash accompanied by a mushroom cream and some beer bread made with a drop of JW Lees’ finest. This was flavour-packed and highly accomplished stuff.
The Cornish bass with elderflower hollandaise and courgette flower was a very pleasant fish course, but didn’t overly wow. The same can be said for the chicken with turnip and barley, although the chicken skin was notably good.
I added a cheese course of a blue cheese crumpet with walnut and plum. I enjoyed it muchly.
The dessert was a palette enlivening gooseberry jelly with malt ice cream and a ginger biscuit. It was a suitably stylish way to end a very enjoyable meal.
So overall, The French served us a very good dinner. It’s a very stylish dining room so seems well set as a destination for occasion dining in the city. Give it a look next time you’re in town.
4/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 16/20
Today’s questers were: Frances, Blythe
We ate: cod roe on squid ink crackers, lobster with tomato, tartare hash with mushroom ketchup, Cornish bass, chicken, cheese, gooseberry with malt ice cream
We drank: paired wines, water
We wore: elegant action footwear
Total bill: c.£340
Address: The Midland Hotel, Manchester M60 2DS