These are exciting times we live in right now on the Manchester food 'scene', but there's a tendency amongst the local press of talking up how good the restaurants actually are up here. We have a few excellent restaurants in The French and Manchester House (if you insist), and some great places to get burgers and the like at Solita and LLLB, but what about the general standard; the level of the average successful proper restaurant in comparison to London? Quite frankly it's still just not good enough, with a few notable exceptions.
I've just booked in at Berners Tavern in London, a new place that's all the buzz at the moment down there. The interior looks stunningly beautiful, but the food from the Jason Atherton camp is said to be equally as impressive.
Comparing it to say Rosso (interior excepted), and unfortunately that's where the similarities must end. We were invited to to try their new menu, and went down last week. We've been before and thought the food was ok. (See here). Despite it being early (5pm) it was quite busy and this was still only mid week. I have to say that the interior is about as grand and opulent as a restaurant gets in this city. The dome is breathtaking.
I noticed there seemed to be a lot of 'ladies who lunch' in there, it's a great place for people watching, I always like to nosy at the sort of people who frequent a place - here they looked like the wealthy Cheshire set and business men on long liquid lunches.
Carpaccio in stile Rosso was probably our favourite dish of the night, but really this was a case of letting the quality product do the talking.
Ravioli Neri: black pasta parcels filled with a sea bass and crab mousse and cooked with fresh chilli, garlic and wild rocket. It looked the part, but it was over salted and dry and lacked the flavour it promised.
Soundtrack: Can't fake the feeling - Geraldine Hunt.