Simon Wood’s career in food began when he won MasterChef back in 2015. Since then, he’s swapped data science for his lifelong passion of cooking up unpretentious fine-dining cuisine, and now heads up his own restaurant in Manchester.
Simon created Wood Restaurants – there are now three – in order to showcase his own style of unintimidating high-end dining with a focus on purity and simplicity. He and his team of talented chefs blend passion, creativity and some fine ingredients to create modern interpretations of traditional dishes that sing with flavour.
This stylish spot for modern British cuisine resides between Deansgate and Oxford Road stations in the pedestrianised First Street development. With its glass frontage, open kitchen and cool blue/grey tones throughout, it’s trendy enough to fit in nicely with the shiny newness of the area. Deep blue banquette booths provide comfortable seating that’s both intimate and convivial and allows for views of the chefs working their magic.
There are two seasonally inspired menus to choose from: the à la carte and the tasting menu. The tasting menu – which can be combined with a wine pairing – comprises five, seven or 10 courses and is served blind, so you’ll need to put your trust in Wood and his team.
If a mystery culinary tour isn’t your thing, there’s plenty to get excited about on the à la carte menu, including starters such as wild mushroom tortellini with sage, chestnut and truffle, and pork belly with cider, apple, sage and onion. Mains you might encounter include the likes of red deer with suet haunch, Douglas fir, crapaudine, neeps and tatties, or Cheshire beef with burnt onion, horseradish, Madeira and truffle. Two-word desserts such as ‘milk & cookies’ and ‘blackberry & elderflower’ keep it simple and there’s a good selection of beers, wines and spirits to complement each dish.