To mark our fifth wedding anniversary and to make the most of the opportunity to have some quality time as a couple, before the arrival of baby number two, we went for a date night and dinner at Manchester House recently. We’ve been before, when Aidan Byrne was the Head Chef and he was going for his Michelin star and so we were intrigued to see how the food was shaping-up under new Head Chef Nathaniel Tofan…
Dinner at Manchester House
Being 39 weeks pregnant, we opted for an early dinner, starting with drinks on the twelfth floor at Manchester House to mark our anniversary date night. I donned my favourite maternity dress, popped on some wedges (couldn’t quite manage tottering in full on heels!) and met the hubby in town after work on a Friday night.
We enjoyed our drinks overlooking views of Manchester and reminisced about the times when going out like this was a regular occurrence! We were then escorted back down to the second floor, which is the restaurant level, for dinner and by this point, we were both hungry and intrigued about what feast lay ahead of us.
The Menu at Manchester House
Now, there are a couple of different ways of eating when you have dinner at Manchester House: you can go full-on tasting menu, with eight courses (and even match with flights of wine – the dream, pre-pregnancy!), you can go a la carte or you can go somewhere between the two…which is what we did…
Our wonderful waitress advised us of this option – choosing the Chef’s Tasters which are 3 small plates each, brought out in quick succession to whet your appetite and then following-up with 3 courses from the a la carte. Perfect and meant we got to sample a real array of dishes from Head Chef Nathaniel.
It’s worth mentioning here, that it was obvious I was heavily pregnant and our waitress talked me through the options of the menu that may not be suitable and that could be adapted for me. This was fantastic, as I wasn’t sure if I’d have to miss out on some of the signature dishes and I hate feeling like an inconvenience or indeed worrying about what I’m eating and it’s suitability. So it was great to have the pressure taken-off and the decisions laid out for me and I was not disappointed. The adapted versions of the few dishes I did need tweaking sounded just as mouth-watering as the options my hubby would be devouring. Bravo Manchester House!
What we ate…
(I can’t remember the names of these, so I’m going to try and describe them instead! But definitely don’t miss these – it’s a great way to start your meal!).
Millionaire’s Sandwich – as this involved fois gras, I had a version of chicken
I had the Roast langoustine, cauliflower, almond milk, lovage and this was absolutely delicious. The langoustine was meaty and there was plenty of it on the plate, the cauliflower was brazed and full of flavour and the almond milk added a different dimension. The textures all worked perfectly and the flavours were balanced.
The hubby had the Squab pigeon, pickled beetroot, fig, last year’s damsons and told me it was equally yummy and packed full of flavour. Both dishes looked splendid too, served on the plate with just the right amount of finesse.
I had the Pollock, broccoli, Ratte potato purée, Chipiron squid which I have to genuinely say, was one of the best cooked pieces of fish I’ve ever eaten. It was perfection! The cod flaked and slid away from my fork, with just the right amount translucency to the flesh. It was a great portion too, with crispy florets of broccoli carefully balanced on top and delicious potato, with sweet morsels of squid dotted around the plate.
I was a little jealous when the hubby ordered the Hereford fillet – 224 grams, which he asked for rare, with sides of truffle mashed potato and carrots. I love fillet steak, but refuse to eat it anything other than rare, which I obviously couldn’t have pregnant. But, when it arrived, he did give me a mouthful of the seared outside, topped with the mash and it was an absolute dream. We again, both agreed, that it was probably up there with the best steak we’ve ever eaten (and I hate to sound boastful, but we’ve eaten steak in some pretty amazing restaurants across the world!). The carrots too packed a punch (the vegetables at Manchester House definitely aren’t a second thought!), braised in butter and garnished with what I think were caraway seeds.
All round, the mains were impressive and flourishing under the eye of Head Chef Nathaniel.
Now I’ll be totally honest, none of the desserts on the menu jumped right off the page at me. They weren’t reading as my kind of dessert, though they all sounded perfectly lovely. So when the hubby chose the Confit rhubarb, sheep yogurt mousse, ginger bread, blood orange I thought I’d go for the Passion fruit, basil gel, caramalised white chocolate sorbet, meringue loving both passion fruit and white chocolate and intrigued to find out how the basil would work alongside the two.
Both desserts were a feast for the eyes and as soon as I tucked-in, I was pleasantly surprised and delighted by my choice. The basil was fresh, but not too savoury and overpowering and the passion fruit definitely shone through as the star of the dish with the cold sorbet, soothing on the palette and a welcome relief to the heat of being 39 weeks pregnant!
Hubby’s dessert was also delicious, with in season rhubarb and textures of ginger bread. He loved the balance of flavours. So I’d say it was good that there wasn’t the “standard” sort of dessert options on the menu, as it pushed us to order something we wouldn’t usually and to great success!
We were presented with a tray of “Sweets” made in-house to finish with our coffees…I’ll leave those as a surprise for you when you visit!
Our dinner at Manchester House was a total treat and full of culinary delights. The menu is impressive with some crowd pleasers to entice you, but Chef Nathaniel is also introducing some fantastic new combinations that might push you out of your comfort zone a bit too. I think when you go to a restaurant like this, it’s nice to try something different and be led by the Chef and that’s exactly what we did on our date night. The friendly and knowledgeable waitress guided us perfectly through our choices, which added to the sense of occasion without being overly formal.
And the setting is just stunning – Manchester House is truly a gorgeous restaurant, with beautiful furniture, great views and a bustling ambience, created by the open kitchen. So I’d 100% recommend you go along and sample the menu for yourself – it’s a treat without breaking the bank and I’m sure you won’t leave disappointed.
Thanks for having us!