Manchester House is reborn and rebranded – and the man, Aiden Byrne, is back
CHEF Aiden Byrne – once the youngest chef in the UK to be awarded a Michelin star – is back at Manchester House, now reborn and rebranded as restaurant MCR.
Following a stint opening 20 Stories for D&D London on the top of the No.1 Spinningfields, Byrne is back in his old stomping ground, back calling the shots in his own kitchen, and back doing things his way.
He’s been up to a bit of DIY too, stripping the restaurant back here and there, including taking out the Chef’s Table and adding some funky light fixtures. The place looks great and is still, arguably, the finest dining space in the city. It always feels like an occasion here, and you’re treated as such, with top-notch service (Isabelle, in particular, is a joy).
Right, what about the food? There are two tasting menus to choose from – six courses at £50 a head and nine at £75 – and you can choose either meaty or veggie. There’s also a three-course lunch menu for £35, if you fancy a taster without a full-blown tasting menu, or if you’re pushed for time.
From the tasting menu ‘starters’, the pick is the mushrooms with Jerusalem artichokes which comes with a concentrated mushroom stock poured from a Lilliputian teapot. A strong start.
Byrne is back in his old stomping ground, back calling the shots in his own kitchen, and back doing things his way
Accompanying this is the homemade sourdough bread, crispy on the outside, warm and chewy inside, with the finger-licking chicken butter Aiden is known for. Now the cured venison packs a real punch, with an inventive smoked cauliflower side and blackcurrants, white chocolate and tonic beans delivering flavour in spades.
Next up, there’s a choice of ‘mains’; of the two, the salt-aged duck with savoy cabbage, turnip and pine-infused duck broth is top class. The other is Oxford sandy black pork, served with white asparagus, anchovy and whey.
Onto sweets, and the pastry section is on fire, and the offer includes a gorgeous Manchester Tart (see main image) – well, two, not unlike small cupcakes – that alone is worth visiting restaurant MCR for, if not visiting Manchester itself.
It’s a really classy return from Byrne who, now a ‘chef patron’, is only going to get better here. We’re already booked in for a second go...