Food writer and restaurant critic Ray King compiles his Top 5 hotel restaurants in Manchester.
The arrival at the Midland of Simon Rogan, winner of two Michelin Stars and a Good Food Guide "perfect 10" for L'Enclume in Cartmel, proved to be a game changer way beyond the hotel's French Restaurant. Beneath the spectacular modern chandeliers in startlingly new and contemporary surroundings, his acclaimed menus, displaying brilliant inventiveness and deploying audacious flavours, have not only restored the grand Edwardian hotel’s fine dining reputation but lifted the gastronomic status of the entire city. Service from staff "imported" from Cartmel is superb. Having accomplished this, Rogan did it all over again with the Midland's "other" restaurant, the fabulous Mr Cooper's House & Garden.
The Michael Caines Restaurant and Champagne Bar at ABode Manchester, located in an atmospheric lower level dining room, serves exciting and innovative European cuisine utilising the best local and regional produce and ingredients from Manchester, Lancashire, Cheshire and surrounds. Executive Chef Robert Cox, in consultation with two-Michelin star Michael dubbed “the UK’s No 1 Restaurateur”, has created an exciting range of menus, including grazing, a la carte and tasting options. The wine list has been carefully chosen to complement the cuisine, with a selection of excellent-value wines from both classic European vineyards as well as New World estates.
The River Bar and Restaurant at The Lowry Hotel opened in Manchester in April 2001 and has become one of the region’s most celebrated dining spots. Conceptualised by renowned designers Olga Polizzi and David Collins, The River Restaurant combines contemporary and classical design in a stunning light filled oasis, overlooking the waters of the River Irwell. It is fully in tune with the rest of this prestigious hotel, an enduring favourite of visiting sports and pop stars and the restaurant has recently acquired the services of internationally-acclaimed New Yorker Ryan Murphy as executive head chef whose cooking style reflects a modern, stylish approach to classic dishes.
Formerly the Free Trade Hall, historic home of the Halle Orchestra and setting for key speeches by Gladstone, Disraeli, Lloyd George and Churchill, the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel boasts Opus One as its flagship restaurant. A destination in its own right as one of Manchester's liveliest and popular dining rooms under the direction of head chef Neil Armstrong, Opus One serves innovative modern British food presented in a modern, contemporary way amid surroundings that are dramatically theatrical, with soaring ceilings, velvet red walls, high gloss black woodwork, antique gold wall coverings and bespoke furniture in black crocodile skin hide.
A cocktail in the Hilton’s Hotel’s destination bar Cloud 23 – 200ft above the city centre in the tallest building in the north of England – is the perfect precursor to dinner in the Podium Restaurant with its banquette seating, discreet lighting and crisp linen, suggesting a sexy New York vibe. Executive chef David Gale, named Chef of the Year in the 2010 Manchester Food & Drink Awards, presents a menu featuring modern international cuisine but with an emphasis on the best of locally sourced regional and seasonal produce like Morecambe Bay shrimps, Cheshire beef fillet and Goosnargh duck.