Restaurant review - The Lowry River Bar and Restaurant, Manchester

PUBLISHED: 00:00 19 April 2014

The River Room Restaurant at the Lowry Hotel, Manchester

The River Room Restaurant at the Lowry Hotel, Manchester

not Archant

The Lowry Hotel opened to great acclaim nearly 14 years ago. A couple of years later, Prime Minister Tony Blair declared it his favourite place to stay in the city. 
How is its restaurant shaping up now?

At the dawn of the new Millennium, the five-star Lowry Hotel opened its doors. Since then, much has changed with new places to stay springing up on both sides of the Irwell as well as many quality high-profile restaurants.

But when it comes to food, the Lowry’s River Bar and Restaurant is still more than a match for its rivals. Unlike some of the newer kids on the block, it offers first-class food which is also easy on the pocket.

Now under the helm of Executive Chef Andrew Wilkie, the restaurant’s bill of fare has been revamped - blending Mediterranean favourites like risotto and pasta with traditionally-inspired dishes sourcing some of the best fish and meat to be had in the UK.

This year, carnivores will be celebrating the arrival of a state-of-the-art grill which has its own special section on the menu. Serious steak fans can tear into options like Buccleuch 12 oz Côte de Boeuf, a dry aged 28 day hung beef from the Duke of Buccleuch estate.

The less red-blooded can opt for Goosenargh chicken, Anglesey seabass with a herb vinaigrette, or grilled Mediterranean vegetables with asparagus and halloumi.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the seasonal Chef’s Choice menu, which is exceptional value for money. A three course lunch is £19.95 per person. Dinner, with a glass of Prosecco or selected wine, is just £24.95.

On the night we ventured forth it was seriously bleak midwinter and after thawing out over a stiff Margarita in the stylish bar next to the restaurant, it was down to the hard work of ordering.

I plumped for the fixed-price menu... not because it cost less but because the choices were irresistible. The starter options included duck and white bean terrine with piccalilli and mussels with smoked bacon and cider.

My marbled game terrine with quince jelly was rich (but not overly so) with great depth of flavour and exactly the right texture.

A generous portion of slow-cooked lamb arrived on a bed of minted pomme puree with parsnips and rosemary.

Another winner was the pan-fried whole lemon sole with Morecambe Bay shrimps and brown butter. The vegetarian in our company enjoyed sautéed gnocchi with sprout tops, walnuts, sweet potato and goats’ cheese.

And yet, we still had room to share a bittersweet chocolate and blood orange mousse and plate of farmhouse cheeses with seasonal chutney and biscuits.

From an affordable yet extensive wine list, we had a fruity Pinot Noir and bottle of Sancerre (to fish, as gin is to tonic)

And, over coffee (and more chocolates) the vote was unanimous that The Lowry River Bar and Restaurant is still at the top of its game. n

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