The former Manchester House venue, recently closed by Living Ventures, has reopened as restaurant MCR, with chef Aiden Byrne back at Tower 12 having left Spinningfields rival 20 Stories. The restaurant offers two tasting menus – six or 12 courses – along with an express lunch option, all featuring some of the familiar dishes the chef has made his name with.
Our lunch begins with golden, shard-like crackers of intensely savoury crisp chicken skin stuffed with delicate white crabmeat and tangy sorrel, served with a glass of boozy ‘gold rush’ apple juice. A mushroom and roasted Jerusalem artichoke dish features ceps, hen of the woods, and pickled enoki dressed with a hot, clear, earthy mushroom broth.
Aiden’s famous Ribblesdale goat’s cheese and onion soup is served as a frozen globe of white onion soup with cubes of sweet sherry jelly, which melt away when the hot, creamy, cheesy soup is poured over – a refined, complex dish, full of huge flavours. Frog legs meat is wrapped in a vivid green parcel of butterhead lettuce with a garlic and parsley foam, followed by rich braised beef cheek with choucroute, secreto, and Txogitxu tartare. Cute little Manchester tarts accompany the coffee.
The head chef is clearly thrilled to be back in his old kitchen, and his accomplished cooking is served in a relaxed, elegant setting with courteous service. A welcome return to Manchester’s dining scene.