Saturday 14 September 2013

Mr Cooper's House and Garden, Manchester.

It's all go in Manchester this week, not only did Manchester House open, we also had the new Simon Rogan restaurant opening at The Midland hotel, Mr Cooper's House and Garden. It seemed this would be more of a budget offering than The French. I didn't know that much about it to be honest. I was pleasantly surprised when we turned up early for our booking last night.
It's a seriously impressive space with the grand windows, chandeliers and high ceilings as a backdrop, but with the modern design of the garden space, it works really well. We sat in the bar area first, but I had spied the gazebo right at the back behind the tree. Immediately I knew I wanted that seat, in my opinion the nicest table in there. It's lovely sitting there, it's almost a private space.

If you know me, you'll know I'd already earmarked what we were eating after some negotiation. We swerved the mains, although they looked good, the more interesting dishes as a 'foodie' for me were the starters. I'd guess for the average guest, they'd just go for the traditional starters, mains and pud option. We started on six starters, to share, but portions weren't massive and the food was that good that we added another two, making a kind of taster menu. The waiter said that Mr Rogan himself had commented; 'they're having their own taster menu!' The staff were all new, and they were all lovely (especially the waitress from Galicia). We split our starters into two, but service was swift, which I personally love, I hate to wait.
Parmesan patties, mushroom, ketchup and baby leaves (£4.00). Very tasty, zingy, moist cheesy little burgers. I've not had a better veggie burger, but then I don't often order them. I would definitely get these again though.

Mexican gazpacho, wasabi and avocado (£6.00). A seriously good, fresh and flavourful dish; a taste sensation!

Grilled figs, ham, rocket and spicy popcorn (£7.00). Liked it again, the spicy popcorn detail lifts it above the sort of thing you may get elsewhere.
The next lot came fairly quickly after, but we were the first to be served and it was really early.
Nick’s meatballs with hyssop, baked apricots and tzatziki (£6.00). Another contender for my favourite dish of the night, the meatballs lovely pink and melty. Again, they know how to make everything just taste good. It's as simple as that. It's that Rogan magic again.
This is a perfectly designed menu for the market they're aiming for, after all The French is high end, and many won't want that, so considering the price, it really was excellent food. The only thing that was irritating us was the crap pop music playing, but you may know how I feel about that. (See here.) You can totally spoil a beautiful space with terrible music that's incongruous to the setting.
Deep fried prawns,mango and chorizo marmalade (£8.50) Rather boringly I have to report that this was a fabulous dish as well. Loved the texture.

Smoked eel torte, lovage and pork belly (£7.50) This was good, although it tasted different and slightly more subtle than I'd imagined. Neither of us could quite get the pork belly. I'd have preferred a bit more flavour in it. It was lovely though.
 At this point I decided to order two more starters. 
Chicken wings in pomegranate, molasses, chives and sepia noodles (£6.50) Mrs B liked this one. It wasn't my favourite of the night.
 We both enjoyed the Corned bread, chicken livers, mango chutney and watercress (£4.00) and Mrs B claims she doesn't even like liver as well!

So missing out the mains, we ordered our puddings. The plan was to order two. After asking for advice I settled on a gut-busting four!
Chocolate hazelnut pavlova (£7.00) was as you'd imagine, but better, rich and creamy.

Next Rhubarb dessert, meadowsweet, custard and black sesame wafers (£7.00). Any time I see rhubarb on a dessert I will most likely order it. This didn't disappoint either.

Meanwhile, I was hearing a lot of happy noises from Mrs B about the Passion pudding and coconut rice (£6.50). I loved it too.
Turkish delight syllabub and honey flapjacks (£6.00) was surprisingly my favourite pud though, a really impressive dish I thought.
The bill came to about £100 for two, but it needn't be as much as this, as most normal people wouldn't be as greedy as us, and our home made taster menu. I can honestly say that we were seriously impressed with Mr Coopers House and Garden. I'm not sure what I thought it'd be like, maybe another dull hotel restaurant, but in my opinion, it's perfectly pitched, perfectly priced, good service and in such a beautiful space.
On the strength of this, it's become my favourite Manchester restaurant after The French, and I can see us visiting a lot more often.

 Price: Good value for the food on offer.
Service: Very good, friendly and informal.
Atmosphere: A beautifully realised interior.
Food: Excellent.
Star dish:
Mexican gazpacho, wasabi and avocado.
Score: 8/10.

Soundtrack: Come into my garden: Minnie Riperton.

Mr Cooper's House and Garden on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Looks absolutely fab...Must try this one out soon.