9 Cotton Street, Ancoats, Greater Manchester, M4 5BF
Rudy’s provides an authentic slice of Naples in the heart of Ancoats, Manchester’s Little Italy. The 14-inch pizzas – made from dough prepared on site twice daily – are cooked for just 60 seconds in the wood-fired oven, resulting in a light, chewy, base. Several choices on the concise menu are available either ‘white’ or with a San Marzano tomato sauce; toppings might include Tuscan sausage and friarielli (like turnip tops), or Napoli salami with olive oil. Our prosciutto cotto pizza contained salty ham matched with fragrant basil, oregano and Parmesan. We also tried the Calabrese option, where soft, pleasingly spicy ’nduja sausage melted into the base. Smaller plates are simple – olives or salads – and panuozzo (warm sandwiches) are offered at lunchtime. Rudy’s decor is sparse and functional, allowing the pizzas to take centre stage. To drink, choose Campari soda, Spritz, Italian beers or something from the short, mainly Sicilian wine list.
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Tower 12, 18-22 Bridge Street, Spinningfields, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 3BZ
REOPENS EARLY 2019 WITH CHEF AIDEN BYRNE AT THE HELM
Following Aiden Byrne’s departure, Nathaniel Tofan (his long-term deputy) has taken over as head chef at Living Ventures’ city-centre flagship, which combines a thrilling industrial-lite restaurant with an über-glamorous bar/lounge – located 10 floors apart in a reconfigured office block. The menus are enticing, from a great-value set lunch to multi-course tasting extravaganzas, a carte and elegant afternoon teas. A selection of chef’s snacks – crisp chicken skin with duck hearts, nori rice cracker with cod roe and nasturtium, and creamy foie gras mousse with grated truffle – whetted our appetite for an accomplished, well-executed lunch. Rich pressed confit duck terrine with tender foie gras, leek and pistachio was served with perfectly chewy sourdough and earthy truffle butter, while chicken breast, brined and poached until buttery soft, appeared alongside roasted salsify, artichoke purée and aromatic truffle vinegar. To finish, we liked the combination of sweet, sticky date sponge with parsnip pannacotta and butternut squash ice cream, as well as the skilfully rendered matcha and yuzu teacakes and melt-in-the-mouth mince pie macarons served with tea. A must-visit Manchester destination which continues to impress.
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£50 - £79
55 King Street, Manchester, M2 4LQ
£30 - £49
1 The Avenue, Spinningfields, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 3AP
From its entrance via a sparkling glass prism, to its glamorous decor with spacious cushioned booths and discreet alcoves, Australasia’s stylish subterranean restaurant and buzzy bar exude luxury. The menu showcases Pacific Rim flavours underpinned by European techniques, offering sushi and small plates in addition to main dishes. Start with lip-lickingly salty edamame beans and plump pork wontons, followed by sharing dishes such as sesame-crusted tuna (ruby-rare and accompanied by crisp, creamy avocado tempura), or earthy seared pigeon balanced by Thai cucumber and mango. We enjoyed flame-flavoured barbecued lamb cutlets in a sticky-sweet sauce of tomato, soy and peanutty mirin, and a spectacular dish of tender black cod roasted to perfection in hoba leaf. Prices are high, but the accomplished, beautifully presented dishes justify the expense. Also worth exploring is the interactive wine and cocktails menu, which comes complete with photographs and tasting notes. An indulgent treat for special occasions.
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20 Church Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1PN
According to chef/proprietor Eric Moreau, 63 degrees is not only the perfect temperature for coffee, but also a touchstone for cooking in the modern idiom – hence the name of this Parisian-style bistro in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Menus are written in French (with English translations) and the kitchen adheres to its culinary credo with the likes of pan-fried scallops, caramelised fennel and vegetable shavings followed by entrecôte steak with béarnaise sauce and vegetable ‘bayaldi’ or chicken breast (cooked at 63 degrees, of course) with gratin dauphinoise and a sauce of morels. To finish, look no further than fraisier revisité (a strawberry cake baked at the aforementioned temperature). Two-course weekday lunches are good value, a five-course tasting menu is available on Tuesdays, and the concise all-French wine list does its job.
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£30 - £49
34 Princess Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 4JY
Critically acclaimed since opening in the early 1980s, Yang Sing has long been synonymous with good Cantonese cookery in central Manchester. The dining room is vast, and the menu similarly lengthy. The restaurant specialises in dim sum, and a sharing platter didn’t disappoint: cuttlefish cake was coated in crisp panko breadcrumbs; steamed Shanghai-style pork dumpling had been enriched with black truffle; and steamed prawn red-root spinach dumpling tasted fresh and light. Appetisers, however, were hit and miss: salt and pepper pork belly ribs seemed under-seasoned, while a steamed scallop with premium soy and green bean vermicelli was salty (although not unpleasantly so). Mains courses delivered bags of flavour: double-cooked crispy chilli beef was chewy and slightly sweet with a good balance of heat; spicy lemongrass chicken was tender and fragrant. With its brisk, understated service, large tables, and good-value banqueting options, Yang Sing is especially suited to larger groups.
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1 Eagle Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 5BU
Smithfield’s Grade II-listed Victorian market in Manchester’s Northern Quarter has been overhauled by the people behind Altrincham’s Market House – and the result is equally appealing. Holding almost 500 people, the beautiful structure has been carefully restored to open up the ground and upper floors, with a glass ceiling allowing natural light to pour across communal bench seating. The street-food marketplace is packed with high-class food and drink merchants including Manchester-based Blackjack Brewery’s Jack in The Box bar, Wolfhouse Coffee, Honest Crust, Baohouse (steamed Chinese buns), Nationale 7, Tender Cow and Fin fish bar. The food isn’t cheap, but prices reflect the quality: from tender aged flat-iron steak sandwich with béarnaise on sourdough ciabatta (from Tender Cow) and succulent rotisserie chicken with fragrant tarragon mayonnaise (from French traders Nationale 7), to pleasingly chewy sourdough pizza with spicy salami (from Honest Crust). The venture has breathed new life into this handsome building, opened by Mayor Mackie in 1858 as part of Europe’s biggest fresh-produce market.
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£30 - £49
The Midland Hotel, 16 Peter Street, Manchester, M60 2DS
“Mr Cooper’s made a difference to Manchester when it opened” – and it still does, according to one local fan. Named after a certain Mr Thomas Cooper (a well-known local gent whose house and renowned gardens occupied the site back in 1819), this classy-looking dining room within the historic Midland Hotel is now an international brasserie with a standout cocktail bar attached. The interior plays to the theme with various areas recreating Mr Cooper’s house, while ingredients are of the highest quality. Visitors are sold on Mr Cooper’s “constantly changing menus”, a host of ideas ranging from buttermilk tiger prawns, Spatchcock spring chicken with a red wine and thyme jus, and sweet potato lentil and coconut curry. Desserts roam around too, taking in everything from caramel tart with mascarpone ice cream, to a clementine, pomegranate and pistachio meringue. With its keen prices, kids’ deals and Sunday roasts, Mr Cooper’s still does the business – even if it’s more conventional than its neighbour, Adam Reid at The French.
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The Midland Hotel, 16 Peter Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M60 2DS
Simon Rogan is long gone, but his protégé Adam Reid continues to turn heads at this flagship restaurant within Manchester’s vintage Midland Hotel. Though the grand dining room’s opulent decor hasn’t changed, eating here feels less formal than before – but no less impressive, with Reid stamping his own distinctive mark on proceedings. We’ve had our share of thrilling encounters here – from seared scallop with trout roe and roasted onion broth to a superbly executed dish of salt-aged duck with vivid purple beetroot and pickled elderberries. Other standouts have a noticeable North Country accent – think nibbles of dripping toast with grated tongue or a Lancashire ‘tasty’ cheese and onion pie with lovage and eel, as well as a meat-free combo of ‘tater ash’ with mushroom ‘catsup’, bread and butter. To finish, rhubarb jelly with ginger malt ice cream is one option, but don’t miss Reid’s ‘Golden Empire’ dessert – an award-winner from Great British Menu 2016, consisting of a golden candy apple adorned with hazelnut crumble and meadowsweet custard. Meanwhile, spot-on service ensures a stunning gastronomic experience without any fine-dining stuffiness.
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£30 - £49
Unit 4, Mirabel Street, Manchester, M3 1PJ
The definition of tucked-away, this diminutive spot can be found (if you follow Deansgate past the Arena and turn left at the River Irwell) under the arches on the city-centre fringes. Devotees make the trek for sushi and sashimi that has raised the bar in Manchester, by dint of fresh local produce and the clever cuts of the experienced chef. A beautifully illustrated menu features sashimi, nigiri, hosomaki and the rest, with a specials board containing seasonal treats such as uni and snow crab. Tempura is a house favourite, starring in its own tasting menu, and daily hot dishes might include Wagyu beef or Taiwanese pork rice. During the working week, an express menu attracts those in the know, offering donburi bowls and robust futomaki with nothing costing over £6.50. To drink, there’s a solid selection of saké and Japanese beers, plus natural and Koshu wines.
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