[Manchester, city centre] Adam Reid at The French

I don’t know your case. Usually the small amuse gueules or entrées is more concentrated in flavours, aiming at opening up appetite. I remembered somebody really like a cold tomato soup at Robuchon, as a small starter. The second time she ordered a normal portion, it was just too acid and salty.

February and you have rhubarb?!

Your review made me looking up their site, saw on their menu red deer, would like to try that. Beautiful room, I have to say.

Thanks for the review, very well written.

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Yep, we have rhubarb. It’s grown and only lit when the pickers are working and, then, only by candlelight. Very much a specialist product - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhubarb_Triangle

The hotel is/was very much the “grande dame” in Manchester. It’s where Mr Rolls and Mr Royce met to agree going into business together and I fancy they had lunch or dinner in the room (it may not be apparent in the photo but the room is actually oval). My grandfather, Herbert, was in the cotton business in Manchester, before and after the Great War, and I like to think that he’d also lunched in the room.

Interesting about the forced rhubarb, I didn’t know you can grow like this indoor. I never dig up the root to move them indoor, I guess it was because you are colder.

I don’t think they served the same type of food as today. Usually a historical place serves more classical food, great to see they are serving a creative menu that you had.

Indeed so. The restaurant has always been called “The French” and until about 2012 served manily classic French (or French style) dishes - their chateaubriand used to be excellent. It was the first restaurant in the UK to be awarded a Michelin star - although that’s long ago and they didnt hold it for long.

Hello John

Well that is spooky. Was just considering taking the lady out for a Not Valentines lunch or dinner in our inferior sibling city next weekend.
Looks like the Midland is still top of your Manchester list ?
Did you visit for lunch or dinner and is there a discernible difference if you have done both ?
Oh and what about dress code ?I know you Mancunians always like to dress up, but is it sniffy at all ?

Many thanks and come on Chelsea !

On second thoughts, where is second on your list ?- no lunch availability and six pm latest for dinner on saturday !

Never been for lunch but my guess is that there won’t be a significant difference in style.

Place is “proper” but not sniffy. It’s one of the welcome changes from the Rogan years when the place was still up its own arse (back in the old times of the original Midland French it was very formal - although I never recall it being a “jackets required” place)

Smart casual does fine as a dress code - I do smart chinos and a buttoned shirt.

As a second choice, you might want to be Hungry Onion’s pathfinder for fellow scouser Aiden Byrne’s return to Manchester House as “Restaurant Mcr”. Not been and, to be frank, I’m not that keen on the current offerings of the tasting menu (I wouldnt expect snails and frogs legs on the same menu even in France). That said, it’s had a good write-up on Manchester Confidential. https://www.restaurantmcr.com/

Of the rest, we thoroughly enjoyed Mamucium the other week. Not exactly your romantic setting but bloody good eats. https://www.mamuciummcr.com/

By the by, I keep coming across mentions of Roski at your end of the motorway. Any thoughts?

Thanks John

Don’t like the look of ‘Mcr’. Even the name has a degree of tw*ttishness about it I find hard to get on with.
Is Manucium inthe Indigo Hotel ? What did you eat ? Did you go at lunchtime ? looks like it might be a bit lively at night.
Not been to Roski as yet. The Rayner review going on about the pot plant/soil pudding raised my scepticism levels too high. I should try it out though.
Now considering a different tack - any wonderful restaurants with rooms withing a couple of hours drive of here you would recommend ? Not Northcote though, as I know its a favourite of yours.


Yep - at the Indigo. Went for dinner. Here’s the review - [Manchester, city centre] Mamucium

Restaurants with rooms - Sat Bains in Nottingham (second mortgage territory) and Tyddyn Llan just south of Corwen.

Hotels with good nosh - Forest Side and Gilpin, both in the Lakes

All four places are Michelin starred.

Speaking of the Lakes - how about either Lake Road Kitchen or Old Stamp House, both in Ambleside - and stay in one of the hotels in town. We did both of these over a long weekend, staying at the Salutation which was fine.

Cheers John
As ever, we end up staying somewhere further north in Cumbria. Melmerby to be precise. Penrith kind of way.Blurb i have been sent says

Melmerby has a wonderful village pub called The Shepherd’s Inn which is located just a short walk across the Village Green and is very welcoming & serves delicious food. There are also two great local country pubs in the nearby village of Kirkoswald called The Fetherston Arms and The Crown which we recommend unreservedly for their food and ambience and the Shepherd’s Inn in Langwathby is also nearby and has excellent food.

Ever heard of any of these gaffs ?
Any places up that way you rate ?


Trips are usually to near Windermere, so I’m afraid I’m no help for further north

Decent pub food round Windermere - Punch Bowl at Crosthwaite, Drunken Duck at Ambleside and the Brown Horse at Winster.

I wouldnt usually have posted another review only a few months after the last, but naf’s interest in the red deer , which provided last night’s meat course, suggested to me that I should. So here it is (it’s what I’ve just sent to the Good Food Guide):

Inexplicably, a Michelin star continues to evade Adam Reid. On the plus side, the restaurant has moved up a couple of place in the usually reliable Good Food Guide – now standing in 11th place, actually above a number of 2 star places. As I say, inexplicable about the Michelins.

Little has changed since we were last here earlier in the year. It’s still a relaxed environment (with a fine soundtrack playing unobtrusively in the background). Briefly chatting with Adam after the meal, he said that he’s now happy with the format of the six course tasting menu and, whilst individual dishes change through the year, there’s a basic theme to how one course runs into the next. Not only is he happy, but we’re happy too – this is a menu format which works for us, as an alternative to our preferred traditional three course meals. Places that have many more courses are just too much like hard work!

There are snacks to start the meal. These are prepared at the chef’s counter in the restaurant and are served by the chef (it’s a nice touch that everything is served to you by a chef who explains what it is). First up, is an intensely flavoured broth. They roast onion, beetroot and red peppers to make the base for this. It’s gone in two swigs and we both looked at each other and said that we bet this might be the best thing we eat. It really was that good. It wasn’t the best – but it was a close race. There’s then “dips and crackers” – a dish of smoked cods roe and another of a lemon crème fraiche with pickled spruce tips. There’s pickled veg and crackers to dunk. They make their own ham from the Middle White pig and there’s a couple of slices to nibble on. And slices of cured salmon and Doddington cheese. With their own chutney and mustard to enhance the flavours. Finally, a slice of malted sourdough and beer butter. It’s all been excellent.

The first dish on the menu is thin slices of raw scallop, with slices of cucumber, peppers and dill pickle. They use the pickle juice to make the dressing and it really sharpens everything up. This is a pretty much perfect balance of flavours and textures. Reid’s take on our local “tater ‘ash” is a signature dish. It takes a fine dice of raw sirloin steak, mixed with an equally fine dice of vegetables and dressed with a mushroom catsup which adds a really nice sweet/sharp. My companion in life has an aversion to raw beet but, as last time, it’s no problem to simply replace the meat with pearl barley. It works just as well.

Then there was my favourite dish of the evening. A small fillet of halibut had been lightly smoked before being poached (?). The sauce is a light chowder of cockle, corn and potato. I thought the smoking contrasted really well with the sweetness of the fish and the corn but, across the table, the view was that it detracted from the flavour of the fish. Meat followed, in the form of Cumbrian red deer – bang on for seasonality. There’s a couple of slices of loin, cooked to medium rare. That sits on a “stew” of long cooked venison leg, with crisp bacon matchsticks and mushroom. The rich venison sauce was a work of genius. My companion, not usually a fan of venison, rated this probably the best ever eaten

It was now back to the chef working in the restaurant to prepare and serve the last two dishes. There’s cheese of course. They use St James – a ewe’s milk one from South Cumbria. It’s really nicely flavoured with that savoury, yet sweet, flavour you can get in some French semi-soft cheeses. Here the chef puts a slice on the plate and lightly blow-torches it, before topping it with Armagnac soaked prunes, a walnut crispbread and a little honeycomb. Just fab.

*And finally, apple is long cooked so it becomes sticky and almost jam like. That’s topped with a very thin pastry “biscuit” and an artfully shaped spoonful of cold custard. Apples and custard? What’s not to like? Possibly, my life companion’s “best dish”. *

*Service is faultless – from the chefs bringing the food, the servers taking away the dirty plates and keeping the water topped up and the excellent sommelier who provided one of us with the wine flight, a different wine perfectly matched to each course. *

An absolute cracker of an evening.


Terrific review, John. Entertaining and informative. Thank you for posting it.

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Your game season is earlier than ours.

Good that both of you enjoyed the meal, especially when Mrs. H isn’t a big game meat eater.

Season for red deer starts on 1 August apparently.

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After some fact checking, the hunting seasons in France starts in September.
I’m looking forward for le lièvre à la royale this year, a royal wild hare stew dish which will appear usually around November here.

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Lucky you. Hare is really difficult to find here, even in good butchers and supermarkets. And it’s very very unusual to see it on a menu.


I read that brown hare is not a native animal in British isles, and the outbreak of rabbit virus doesn’t help.

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The butcher shops in Europe are so awesome. We get shopper’s envy when we window-shop and salivate at the meat/game/seafood displays. Pheasants and other birds intact with full plumage, and this fellow. In a shop a couple weeks ago in Paris. Would this be a wild or farmed animal?

Would love to see a photo of the wild hare dish, bucket list!

Hard to say, can be farmed too. To be sure, it is better to ask or to look at the certification in the shop.