[Manchester, city centre] Middle Kingdom

Middle Kingdom is now the only Sichuan place on our list. The city centre’s other offerings have been scratched for various reasons – we’d culled one because the food quality had deteriorated, another because the toilets were so filthy it made you wonder what went on in the parts customers don’t see – like the kitchen. But Middle Kingdom seems to have it all – good menu, including all those weird offaly dishes that you’re never going to order, great prices, vast quantities, comfy chairs and, yes, clean bogs.

Portions are indeed vast, so we skipped starters as usual. Pork featured in both mains. Fish fragant shredded pork was a winner – shreds of pig and vegetables in a slightly sweet, but very chilli, sauce that was no more than a clinging one. Dry fried green beans is a regional classic and one my partner enjoys so much it’s pretty much a standard order whenever we visit a Sichuan place. Cooked, yet still a bit crunchy, green beans, little nuggets of pork, a few dried Sichuan chillis, a little soy and a zing from ginger. It’s a belter of a dish. Rice is also good – as you’d expect.

agreed, harters. we went there on our last visit and we’re going back to Manchester next week and middle kingdom was the impetus for coming, no lie! we had wonderful dishes - even the egg fried rice (that I just snort at when it’s ordered) was fragrant and soft. will post pictures of what we eat - we think we’ll go twice over our two and a half days.

You might want to think about trying the Hunan in Chinatown if you need an alternative. They do a mix of Hunan and Sichuan. Havnt been for a couple of years but presume it’s still very decent.

Have you got any other eating plans for the Rainy City?

hey! nice to see you here. besides mk we have booked afternoon tea with my cousins at the town hall - recommended (by you??) on chowhound. we’re probably going to Manchester house - any favourites from there? we’re looking for a great breakfast for Friday since we are going to skip the hotel one this time- where? we may or may not bother with the chop house this time, although he did love the Eccles cake so it may be that for a late-night snack. we do tend to like rustic local places with local dishes though and we aren’t that impressed by Michelin stars - they’re nice and all that but… so looking for a great breakfast, a good Manchester house recommendation and anything for lunch on Saturday that won’t mean we have no room for dinner! your recommendations on chowhound last time were very welcome.

PS the flickr set may remind you what we ate at MK - https://www.flickr.com/photos/jan1ce/albums/72157640550883813

Tea at the town hall was fun (not least as i used to work in the building - no cafe then)

Manchester House is outstanding - it is an absolute travesty that it hasnt got a Michelin star. . We were there last night and in December. Both times, they only had the tasting menu on offer - 15 courser last night, 8 courser in December. So, can’t comment on the main menu. If you’ve not been before, leave enough time to go for a drink in the 12th floor bar before eating - great views.

Teacup in the Northern Quarter might be nice for a lightish lunch. It also has a few breakfast items. Living in the metro area, I don’t really eat breakfast in the city so havnt got personal experience of their. http://www.teacupandcakes.com/

Another interesting lightish lunch spot would be the Earth Cafe at the Buddhist Centre, also in the Northern Quarter. Vegetarian and vegan food only. http://www.earthcafe.co/

San Carlo Cicchetti (lust off Deansgate in the House of Fraser store) would be another lunch stop. I can vouch for the cicchetti - apparently in the morning, they serve Engliish breakfast food but gain, no first hand knowledge.

You mention the Chop House. We were at the Albert Square one a little while back and noted that they also do breakfast.

Hope that helps.

(PS: thanks for the photo link - makes me hungry just looking, especially the fried green beans which are always fab there)

Hi again, we think we will try one of the chop houses again. Any thoughts on the difference between them? Is it just location or is the ambience/menu different? I think we tried Sam’s last time so might prefer something a bit less old-pub this time. Thanks in advance!

ok so we went to middle kingdom twice. the first visit was better than the second but both were lovely. first go around was a lunch almost as soon as we landed in town, that’s how much we were looking forward to it. we had

  • gung bao shrimp (although the menu didn’t use those words, only the bill) - enjoy the sweetish peanut sauce and the whole chillies
  • egg fried rice - really good there, even though i am not a fan of fried rice
  • the Sichuan green beans with pork (not as good as the last time we were here and we ordered too much but they were pretty tasty)
  • ‘cold’ appetiser - steamed aubergine with chopped chillies - this arrived hot but who cares! it was wonderful with a salty sweet soy-based sauce, and lots of chopped chillies and crushed Sichuan peppercorns - numbing indeed
  • tea - rip-off price, the only expensive thing we had. £1.50 each and when they filled the pot off they charged us again so that was £6 for tea. weird- chose pu-er tea, which reminds me of Toronto so is comfort for me

we went back the next day for dinner and this time made some silly choices - well, truth be told, i let him order and probably shouldn’t have!

  • egg fried rice again - this time it was harder and the egg was overcooked
  • spring rolls - don’t bother! a mountain of small ones arrived with a very ordinary sweet sauce. he liked them, he says
  • the aubergine dish again - how could we not??
  • crispy chilli beef - his favourite but not mine so i didn’t enjoy it much - it also had lots of red and green peppers in it, which i didn’t expect and am allergic to so i had to pick them all out (not much left after that! :smile:) and the sauce was like Cantonese sweet and sour sauce
  • more pu-er tea

good experience once again. will post links to photos

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2