TOP end dining can be expensive.
It can be difficult to leave a restaurant without laying waste to £100 for two – sometimes £150. But visit at lunch in the Manchester area and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Here’s a list of top nosh at extremely reasonable prices.
Maybe Confidential should start a campaign - longer lunches for food lovers.
Of course it would be better for these ocasions if you could take your time. We need the return of the civilising ninety minute repast don't we? It’s good for the digestion, good for the brain.
Maybe Confidential should start a campaign - longer lunches for food lovers.
The rest can stick to their Subs and Pret plastic boxes, but epicures should be allowed a little longer.
And if the employee has had a glass or two at lunch employers should appreciate that spring in the step as they return smiling and satisfied through the office door.
Maybe food lovers could bank all those smoking breaks office chimneys take and add them onto their lunch provision.
The pictures shown on this page are for guidance only, the food shown might not appear as part of the lunch deal. The restaurants appear in alphabetical order.
Handsome and bijou Aumbry has two lunch time deals on its menu. These are available Friday and Saturday between noon and 2pm. You can get two courses for £22 or three courses for £26, including potato and wild garlic soup, roast thick rib of longhorn beef and grapefruit posset. If you’ve not tried Mary-Ellen McTague and Laurence Tottingham’s food this is a wonderful introduction and lovely venue. 2 Church Lane, Prestwich, Manchester, M25 1AJ. 0161 798 5841. Website
Australasia has three offers on its lunch menu. This is available from Monday to Friday before 5pm. You can receive two items for £11, three items for £15 and four items for £20. Expect to find finesse, flavour and delightful presentation with dishes such as Vietnamese pork egg with vegetable noodles and nouc cham, temaki Seaweed rolls with salmon and robata beef and the wonderfully named, tiny Aussie pies, called Collingwood Dinkies. The chef is Dave Spanner, a Confidential favourite. Expect more food surprises in the coming months in the effortlessly comfortable luxury here. 1 The Avenue, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3AP. 0161 831 0288 Website
This Mediacity has two deals on its menu which you can order between noon and 2.45pm, from Monday to Saturday. The options are two courses for £16.95 or a three course meal for £19.95. Dishes include grilled herbed mackerel, crushed new potatoes with capers, cornichons and creme fraiche, crispy shallots and watercress; pan fried fillet of sea bass, bombay potatoes, mangetout, baby spinach and spiced slow cooked puy lentils and for dessert there is warm rice pudding, apple and blackcurrants. The window tables provide a splendid view across the MediaCity to The Lowry and The Imperial War Museum North. Orange Building, MediaCityUK, Salford, M50 2H. 0161 751 7020. Website
Harvey Nichol's Second Floor Restaurant
The elegant Second Floor Restaurant in the top department store has one deal on its luncheon menu, which is a three course meal, including coffee for £25. This deal is available between noon and 3pm from Monday to Saturday. You can expect to find pressed duck terrine, confit pork belly and frozen vanilla parfait. You can also expect to find one of the most tranquil of city spaces and inspired food. 21 New Cathedral Street, Manchester, M1 1AD. 0161 828 8898, Second Floor. Website
The Lime Tree Restaurant
As part of a lunchtime menu, Lime Tree Restaurant are offering two courses for £10.95, available every day between Tuesday and Friday. For this price, you can expect to find something like mussels spaghettoni as a starter option and smoked haddock risotto as a main. Other dishes include beef, seabass, duck and oxtail. Side dishes such as fat chips with sour cream have to be ordered separately for £3.50. 8 Lapwing Lane, West Didsbury, Manchester, M20 2WS. 0161 445 1217. Website
Manchester House has two lunchtime deals on its menu. These are available noon till 2.30pm from Tuesday to Saturday. The deals include six courses for £50 (in otherwords £25 per person for two people) or the wine flight option which is a six course wine flight for £35 per head. With this you can expect to receive a range of fine dishes including roasted scallop with broccoli purée, almond cream and anchovy beignets, chicken breast and wings with fig purée, lemon potato gnocchi and peach melba. Aiden Byrne, the chef, is producing remarkable food for £25 a head. If you love food you have to try this place. It's a good-looking destination as well with great views from its twelth floor bar. Tower 12, 18-22 Bridge Street, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3BZ, 0161 835 2557. Website
Michael Caines at Abode Manchester
MC AbodeElegant basement venue at the Piccadilly end of town with an enviable reputation for providing exceptional fine dining. Lunch menus come at two courses for £14.50 and three courses for £19.50. These include choices such as chicken terrine, chicken skin, Caesar salad garnish and sea trout with peas à la française, confit new potatoes and asparagus purée. Desserts include coffee mousseline with macadamia nuts, chocolate and hazelnut sablé. 107 Piccadilly, Manchester, M1 2DB. 0161 200 5678. Website
Mr Cooper's House and Garden
This restaurant's lunch menu is available from noon-2.30pm and you can choose between two courses for £15 and three courses for £19. You have a variety of options including Mexican gaspacho, wasabi and avocado for a starter, mussel, monkfish and potato romesco for a main and a chocolate pizza for dessert. This is an absolute Confidential favourite (main picture at the top of the page for a representation of the food) where reasonable prices bump up hard against Simon Rogan's imaginative flair. The Midland Hotel, Peter Street, Manchester, M60 2DS. 0161 932 4128 Website
A lunchtime excursion restaurant this one, for those who want to breathe in the fresh moorland air. Nutters offers a business lunch Tuesday to Saturday, noon till 2pm. You can get two courses for £13.95 or three courses for £16.95 on a menu that changes daily but may feature Welsh rarebit bites and the slow braised lamb shoulder with feta and coriander and a port and shallot reduction. Nutters is lead by the flamboyant Andrew Nutter, a chef again who marries imagination with robust flavours. Edenfield Road, Norden, Rochdale, OL12 7TT. 01706 650167. Website
David Gale provides strong flavours, big presentation yet finesse too in this restaurant at the base of Beetham Tower. The deal is one course £15, two courses £21, three courses £29. Food might include assiette of potted shrimp, salmon rillete and fresh crab mayonnaise with spring peas, creme fraiche, melba toast and lemon jelly. Mains include choices such as Roast Rhug Estate chicken with a sage and apple crumble, toasted hazelnuts and apple syrup. This set menu is available every day for lunch and dinner. Hilton Manchester Deansgate (Beetham Tower), 330 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 4LQ. 0161 879 1600. Website
Red Chilli Oxford Road
Red Chilli has a set lunch menu, which costs £5.50 per head. You can also ask for Chinese Tea for £1. The menu is available between noon and 2pm from Monday to Saturday, except Bank Holidays. As part of the £5.50 deal, you get a choice of mixing six ingredients including beef, mutton and pork, with eleven possible sauces including satay, sichuan and gongbao. Or you can simply pick a dish from the complete dish menu which includes such classic Chinese dishes as chicken or beef fried rice, pork crispy noodles and shrimp fried rice. 403-419 Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9WL.0161 273 1288. Website
The Rose Garden has two deals on offer. These are available all day on Sunday and in the evenings on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Set menu orders must be placed before 7pm on Wednesday and Thursday. The offers are two courses for £15.95 and three courses for £17.95. Depending on your choice, you can expect to find celeriac scallops for a starter, frog's legs as well, three pepper steak or minted haloumi and pea fricasee for a main and raspberry chocolate mousse for a dessert. Rose Garden has one of smoothest and most modern dining rooms in the region. 218 Burton Road, West Didsbury, Manchester, M20 2LW. 0161 478 0747. Website
Simon Rogan at the French
The French's lunch time menu is available from noon till 3pm from Wednesday to Saturday. The multi-award winning restaurant offers three specific deals which include a three course meal for £29 per person. Along with Manchester House and arguably Michael Caines at Abode these are the international standard fine dining experiences in the city. The menus are created by Simon Rogan, the 2013 star of British cooking, but delivered by Adam Reid. And delivered beautifully. You can try artichoke broth with truffle dumplings, radish, bacon and hazelnut as well as lamb belly and sweetbreads with wild garlic and sheep's milk. The Midland Hotel, Peter Street, Manchester, M60 2DS. 0161 236 3333 Website
This is a gem in the Northern Quarter, a proper French family run restaurant. The family in question is the Moreau family and the food they prepare is refined, beautiful to look at and full of complex flavour. The lunch deal is two courses for £18. Dishes might include pheasant terrine, duck fillet or grapefruit and orange sabayon. The dining room is a cute space and the service is frequently very French. 20 Church Street, Manchester, M4 1PN. 0161 832 5438.
The best-known Manchester Chinatown restaurant and one showing a spankingly good return to form. For lunch you can try three dim sum for £10 or the three course express menu for £12. Food on the latter might include fried seasonal fish fillets braised with shredded pork and Chinese mushroom or steamed tianjin pork buns with wood ear and Chinese celery. It's all excellent stuff. 34 Princess St, Manchester, M1 4JY.
0161 236 2200
Zouk is a very smart Asian restaurant both in appearance and business acumen. It knows its audience and it knows what they want. Thus 'desi' food is standard, real Indian subcontinental grub rather than food adapted to what Asian folk think British palates like. The food looks good too. The deal here is a curry of the day for £6.95. You get this between noon-3pm from Monday to Friday. The karahi dishes are knock-out. Unit 5, The Quadrangle, Chester Street, Manchester, M1 5QS. 0161 233 1090. Website