Well, that’s another city AA Gill can’t go back to. When the sleek one slated Rio Ferdinand’s restaurant Rosso last Sunday in The Sunday Times, he apparently decided to go all the way and criticise Manchester’s women, men, fashion, make-up skill, drinking habits and — worst of all to us at toptable — Manchester’s very restaurant scene.
Because one thing we’ve learnt over the past ten years is this: Britain is regional, with regional taste, regional style, and regional palates. What is a solid gold hit in Cornwall wouldn’t make it to Sunday in Aberdeen. A sparkly, up-to-the-minute, expense account Mayfair eaterie would die a quick death in, say, Hastings. We believe this regionality makes Britain a vibrant society.
Interestingly, what we’ve notice about dining preferences in Manchester is that Mancunians seem to prefer their restaurants British. And if not British, then Italian. Or even modern European, which means ‘inventive with classic technique’. Great choices, great cuisines. And, as it happens, Manchester has some super restaurants in all three categories.
For instance, Michael Caines at aBode is a modern European restaurant with a sexy champagne bar, superb sommelier and a bold, well-designed dining space. Mancunians love it, toptable users rate it highly, and Michelin has it top of their Manchester restaurant list. Take that, AA Gill.
The Restaurant Bar & Grill is the flagship restaurant of Albert Square, a smart, modern space with a vivacious ground floor bar and dizzying suspended staircase leading to the first floor dining room. The British menu is eclectic in its interpretation of what’s British, but then we’re sophisticated these days.
When only steak will do, the call of the Argentinian pampas leads Mancunians to Gaucho, a luxurious restaurant that manages to be modern, sexy, comfortable and right for both business and romance.
If you haven’t found The River Bar and Restaurant by the River Irwell in the award-winning Lowry Hotel, you are missing out on a superb dining experience. The dining room is elegant with dark woods and sleek furnishings, and the British menu proudly
employs local ingredients and it’s another Michelin recommendation. So The River’s current special offers, for a chef’s menu, Saturday brunch or Sunday lunch, are a steal.
San Carlo restaurant is a bright, open, relaxed-yet-formal dining room where sophisticated Italian cuisine is the order of the day, a departure from the previous San Carlo formula and one that works beautifully.
Opus One restaurant in Manchester’s Radisson Edwardian Hotel is a new breed of British hotel restaurants. It has decor that attracts a young and stylish crowd, an inventive British menu that never forgets its roots, and it even serves a super afternoon tea that is on special offer right now. It doesn’t get more British than that.