Middle Eastern restaurant unveils brand new look following total refurbishment
EAGERLY anticipated Mediterranean restaurant and bar Suri supports the resurgence of the Deansgate end of King Street’s as a high-end dining destination. In stark contrast to its former incarnation, the short-lived Quill, Suri is a light, contemporary and stylishly uplifting venue - a perfect addition to the area only a few doors down from award-winning Spanish restaurant El Gato Negro.
The interior has gone through a complete mood change.
Suri is the first joint venue for a new partnership comprising of restaurateur Terence Langley (co-owner of Fazenda), property developer James Coubrough and property consultant-turned-restaurateur Andrea George. The trio spent months involved in copious research, visiting restaurants in the capital and abroad before returning again and again to the rich culinary heritage, cooking techniques and vibrant flavours of the Mediterranean.
“It was never going to be anything else,” Andrea told us. “We genuinely love the Middle Eastern vibe. It’s just packed full of fresh flavours; lots of vegetables, fish, herbs and spices. We also love the sharing culture.”
Heading the kitchen is Chef Guy Callister, who worked as Jamie Oliver’s operation chef. Guy’s a pretty engaging character whose passion for this style of cooking is infectious. He admits he fell in love with the concept pretty much straight away. Together with chef Leanne Robertson they have created a cracking menu with dishes listed under various categories such as Graze, Field, Farm, Waves and Enjoy, all infused with the multi-layered flavours and tastes of the Middle East.
Everything from the warm, Persian-spiced tearing bread, to the multitude of secret fragrant spice blends and the ice creams are made from scratch on site. Confidential sat downstairs and worked our way through a couple of ‘graze’ dishes including honeyed salmon, lightly hot-smoked on the Josper grill, served with avocado ‘ma taheena’ (think Middle Eastern guacamole with tahini) as well as a root vegetable salad with lightly pickled young heirloom carrots and a creamy lemon-scented labneh.
The interior has gone through a complete mood change. Anyone who remembers Quill’s slightly camp and dark vibe might struggle to remember the relentless shades of black and stuffed bird props, after walking into this bright, modern space.
The stunning two-floor conversion has been designed to imbue a sociable Mediterranean atmosphere, where guests can enjoy food in a relaxed but still comparatively high-end style. The design allows for maximum flexibility. Diners are welcome to sit with a drink and some Suri rose olives or baharat spiced almonds at the ground floor bar, or at the adjacent cold counter watching chefs prepare an array of colourful starters and platters as well as desserts.
The decor is mostly white and cream to maximise the light, with stippled marble painted walls on which hang mirrors and modern art - including a piece from Blur-artist Julian Opi. Guests can sit at central tables or in button-backed cream leather booths with shiny brass fittings.
Upstairs, past the wine wall, the first-floor restaurant has a similar feel. One end looks out onto King Street overlooking the impressive mock Tudor building opposite, while the other end houses the open kitchen where chefs prepare and cook hot dishes and grilled food.
We perched at the chef’s table, nibbling on warm chickpea kibbeh while watching a rolling programme of fantastic dishes appear from the charcoal Josper onto the pass; 12-hour braised ox cheek with cumin and naturally sweet Pedro Ximenez sherry on crushed potatoes; whole grilled bream with burnt fennel, mussels and crispy kale; and seared split prawns coated in ras el hanout – ‘the king of the spice shop’.
As you’d expect, the ‘enjoy’ section is full of desserts and sweet delights infused with flavours like cardamom, rose water, aromatic ginger, burnt orange, almonds and sesame.
Suri, named after the Persian word for red rose, has omitted no detail and the drinks list has had as much attention devoted to it as the food. We couldn’t say no when Andrea invited us to toast her new restaurant with a chilled glass of Lambrusco Rosso – a sparkling red from Italy – especially when she advised us to close our eyes and “think sunshine.”
Signature cocktails have also been influenced by fragrant Middle Eastern flavours such as pomegranate, rose and saffron and there are no less than ten specially designed gin and tonics – including the intriguing non-alcoholic ‘I’ll drive tonight’ which involves all the botanicals without the booze. The wine list spans the world, but we’re particularly keen on returning to explore their collection of full bodied Lebanese wines such as Chateau Musar 2009.
Suri officially opens to the public on Friday 10 March 2017.
To book a table, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Suri, 22 King St, Manchester M2 6AG