Cheshire Life Luncheon - Vermillion and Cinnabar, Manchester

PUBLISHED: 15:52 31 July 2012 | UPDATED: 09:58 20 April 2016

Cheshire Life Luncheon - Vermillion and Cinnabar, Manchester

Cheshire Life Luncheon - Vermillion and Cinnabar, Manchester

Step inside a restaurant where style, taste and flair are the watchwords in both the food and the decor. Vermillion and Cinnabar in Manchester welcomed Cheshire Life and guests to a sumptuous lunch

Vermillion and Cinnabar, ManchesterVermillion and Cinnabar, Manchester

Vermillion Restaurant styles itself ‘The Asian Wonderland’ for the best
possible reason. That’s exactly what it is...and even Alice herself would find its surprises truly remarkable.

Yet Vermillion’s delights, both culinary and sensory, are almost hidden from the outside world – which just happens to be the unlikely district of Bradford, Manchester, sandwiched in between Ancoats and Miles Platting – by being housed in a functional modern building.

But if the building is not particularly out of place opposite the site of a former colliery neighbouring what was once the ‘workshop of the world’, its interior amazes at every angle.

‘Curiouser and curiouser,’ cried Alice (she was so much surprised that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English).

Vermillion and Cinnabar, ManchesterVermillion and Cinnabar, Manchester

Guests at Cheshire Life’s August luncheon realised immediately they
emerged from the lift into Vermillion’s second floor nightspot, Cinnabar, that this place is like no other.

The venue was designed by the house of Miguel Cancio Martins, creator of the famous Buddha Bar and Man Ray in Paris and the AlainDucasse Crystal Restaurant in Marrakech, combining stunning ultra-modern architectural features with beautiful Asian antiquities.

Surrounded by £5m pounds worth of rich gold, orange and red splendour we sipped welcoming flutes of Moet & Chandon champagne in Cinnabar before descending a floor to Vermillion Restaurant past opulent modern chandeliers and tiered ranks of sculpted Buddha heads.

Like the cocktail bar, the restaurant oozes luxurious glamour on the grand scale, with 200 covers separated cleverly by geometrically patterned screens, providing intimacy in a vast space.

Vermillion Restaurant and CinnabarVermillion Restaurant and Cinnabar

Director Manzur Iqbal’s mission to provide ‘something special and unique;
create the wow factor,’ has been well and truly realised.

His father is Iqbal Ahmed OBE, chairman and chief executive of Seamark
plc, one of the world’s leading food distributors – fish and shellfish in particular, harvested by a fleet of trawlers in the Indian Ocean – hence the excellence of ingredients turned into an array of exciting, exotic dishes by head chef Chatchai Jamjang and his brigade in  Vermillion’s open kitchen by Ken Winch, designer of Hakkasan.

Lunch provided a superb taster of Vermillion’s matchless Asian fusion
menu, featuring spectacularly executed dishes of Thai, Indian and Japanese origin.

To begin, we had a beautifully arranged platter of signature starters, comprising salmon tikka; Malai king Ppawn which had been marinated with cream, cheese and gentle spices and finished in the clay oven; Por Pia Thod – spring rolls stuffed with chicken and vegetables and served with sweet and sour sauce and Som Tam Jay, a refreshing spicy and sour salad of shredded green papaya, cherry tomatoes and beans.

Vermilion Restaurant and Cinnabar operations manager Dikendra Gurung, with guests Fran Slager, Sara Rafique and Rebecca CousinsVermilion Restaurant and Cinnabar operations manager Dikendra Gurung, with guests Fran Slager, Sara Rafique and Rebecca Cousins

Main courses followed the same pattern: Rock Lobster stir-fried with black
pepper sauce and perfumed with truffle oil; Fish Akbari – freshwater tilapia given a new exciting dimension by its masala spice marinade, fresh curry leaves, green chillies and fenugreek; Lamb Massaman
Curry – slow-cooked and meltingly tender diced lamb with a rich gently-spiced sauce and Malai Kofta – cottage cheese dumplings stuffed with raisins and cooked in creamy tomato gravy. Steamed jasmine rice accompanied.

By the end my tongue and taste buds were positively singing with the deliciously subtle spicing of all the dishes, tempered then by a gorgeous dessert of sweet sticky rice steamed with coconut milk and served with juicy fresh mango.

The accompanying wines matched perfectly: light, flowery trebbiano-chardonnay from Italy, fruity cabernet sauvignon from Chile and with pudding, honeysuckle-sweet muscadel from South Africa.

So, less than a mile from the Etihad Stadium, home to Premiership champions Manchester City, the richest football club on the planet, there is this culinary gem with stunning ambience. When Bradford miners were hewing coal and Forge Lane engineers were bashing metal, who’d have thought it?

Emma Gill and Claire BeaumontEmma Gill and Claire Beaumont

Cheshire Life Luncheon Menu

To start
Salmon tikka; Malai king prawn; Por Pia Thod; Som Tam Jay
Terre Forte Trebbiano-Chardonnay, Italy

To continue
Rock lobster; fish akbari; lamb Massaman; Malai kofta; steamed jasmine rice
Casa de Piedra Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile

To finish
Sweet sticky rice
Rhona Muscadel, South Africa

Andy Moore with Alison Bull and Ben HagonAndy Moore with Alison Bull and Ben Hagon

Fact file

Vermillion Restaurant & Cinnabar, Lord North Street/Hulme Hall Lane, Manchester M40 8AD Tel: 0161 202 0055;

Vermillion Restaurant open: Lunch – Mon-Fri noon-2.30pm; Sun noon-4pm; closed Sat. Dinner – Mon-Sun 5pm-11pm. A la carte: salads from £5.90; starters from £5.90; main courses from £12.50 (vegetarian from £7.90); desserts from £5. Set menus from £27.50 per person (vegetarian from £25pp). Promotion set menus (Sun-Thu) from £17 per person.

Cinnabar open: Thu – 6pm-2am; Fri/Sat 6pm-3am.

Christa McBain and Ged McPartlinChrista McBain and Ged McPartlin

Vermilion Thai Cooking School runs on the first Saturday of every month.

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