Restaurant review - Menagerie, Manchester
PUBLISHED: 21:44 10 October 2016 | UPDATED: 21:44 10 October 2016
Time to indulge your appetite for fun at one of Manchester's new restaurants, writes Janet Reeder
Women pouring champagne while swinging from chandeliers, burning £20 notes on the side of a cocktail and turning the bar into a fashion runway...we had heard a lot about Menagerie before we arrived one Wednesday night at the end of summer.
‘It sounds like Caligula’s playground’ said my other half, clearly jealous that he wasn’t my preferred guest for the night. Instead that honour fell to Cheshire Life columnist Diane Cooke.
It turned out Caligula was having a night off. There were no aerial acrobatics involving bubbly or models parading in this fabulous new place but in many ways that was a good thing as we could give our full attention to the ambience and the food.
The location feels fresh and I love the venue. I love the fact that just getting ready to dine here feels like an event. I adore its glamorous interior, the neon and the buzz at the bar. It really is everything you’d want from a night out.
Our charming waitress explained that the top half of the menu was devoted to sharing plates and the bottom half to mains. We chose to share and opted to have dishes arrive as and when they were cooked.
First to arrive was bread. But not ordinary bread. This was focaccia served with a miso butter and the best bit - a kind of salty crust of nori seaweed.
Tofu Dengaku, £6.50 was heavenly cubes of melting bean curd flavoured with miso and sesame; caramalised halloumi, £6.50, married the saltiness of the cheese with sweet cauliflower puree and was prettily decorated with edible flowers; a beetroot salad, £7.50, arrived artfully arranged and tasting of earthy sweet beets , sushi was fresh and presented prettily in a golden box and the heirloom tomato ceviche was absolutely historic. The tomatoes’ sweetness enhanced with a fig balsamic dressing and creamy burrata cheese with just a hint of basil was a real delight.
We can see how hard those chefs are working at the open kitchen under a neon sign proclaiming All we Have is Now. Ooh another excuse for a drink. Our chosen tipple, an excellent, fruity and slightly acidic Albarino, £30.
Alas our matcha mille crepe with black sesame ice cream, £6, which we chose to share from the dessert menu didn’t materialise but the management emerged full of apologies and compensated us with a glass of Earl Grey sake. This really is a place full of flavour-packed surprises.
As we left we passed a very glamorous lady who had ordered the All the Fun of the Fair sharing dessert which is served on a delightful miniature ferris wheel and includes hot frozen dog, candy floss, candy apples etc. Irresistible fun. Exactly like the wonderful Menagerie itself.
One New Bailey, Bridge Street, Manchester, M3 5AY