Manchester’s heritage-soaked Free Trade Hall – formerly a concert venue for the likes of Pink Floyd and Bob Dylan – provides the backdrop for this striking high-ceilinged restaurant within the Radisson Blu Edwardian hotel. A well-drilled staff offers smiling service in the glamorous black and red dining room, which is decked out with plush velvet banquettes and leather-topped tables.
A recently added social space is ‘The Library curated by Assouline’, which offers a new food and cocktail menu. Founded in 1994 by Prosper and Martine Assouline, Assouline is the first luxury brand dedicated to ‘culture’. With that expertise, the brand has, together with Radisson Blu Edwardian in Manchester, curated a chic library featuring lavishly illustrated books and special editors that doubles as decorative accessories.
Taking inspiration from the brand’s Parisian roots, the offering will be largely French-leaning across food, wine and cocktails. Expect dishes such as steak tartare with a Champagne-infused egg yolk and La Spécialité, a remarkable-looking chocolate dome with black cardamom ice cream and molten chocolate sauce.
The hotel’s signature afternoon tea will also be held here. ‘The Impossible Edition Afternoon Tea’ features homemade finger sandwiches on artisan bread, scones, preserves and patisseries, all available with sparkling wine or Champagne.
For the cocktails, signature ones have been created to represent some of the most popular books within the Assouline ‘Ultimate’ collection. La Conception is dedicated to all things design, while The Can of Pop has been inspired by one the leading pioneers of the pop movement, Andy Warhol.
Interior-wise, the space is as luxurious as the brand its inspired by – art and furniture merge to form a room with mirrored nickel lamps projecting a warm glow over the navy velvet and dark woollen charcoal grey armchairs. These are fantastic for a night-cap come nightfall. There’s even a grand piano for some mellow background music.