Our love for the Martini trolley knows no bounds, but it goes deeper than that.
Why have people fallen in love with Masons? Could it be the timeless elegance of the historic room in the former Freemason’s Hall? Or the soft, green velvet upholstery which is so comfortable it makes guests reluctant to leave? It could, of course, be the temptation of their special Martini trolley, or the attentive service. Perhaps it’s the high quality menu with dishes sourced from the British Isles that offers such reasonable value for money?
Whatever the reason, Masons Restaurant Bar has made a great impression with Manchester diners since opening last year. For some, it’s the go-to place for breakfast meetings, for others it’s the perfect weekend hangout. Obviously we like to go because it’s a jolly good feed, so Confidential was intrigued to hear that Mason’s have introduced a new menu.
The changing of the season is always a good time for menus. As spring approaches and days become longer, there comes a desire for less comforting puddings and slow cooked stews, to make way for lighter dishes such as soups, salads and fresher flavours.
Along with their a la carte, Masons now also offer a great value, three course menu (one course £12, two courses £15, three courses for £19) available for lunch (between 12-3pm) or as a pre-theatre option (between 5pm-7pm.)
You could go straight for one of the starters, but we recommend you take your time with an English aperitif such as Henners Brut sparkling wine produced in East Sussex. (Masons offer an extraordinarily comprehensive range of excellent British wines.)
This turned out to be a cracking partner for one of our starters; light and crispy fish beignets with wasabi tartar and sharp homemade pickles. We also enjoyed a trio of Polish inspired pierogi. These silky dumplings were each filled with pureed beetroot, butternut squash and celeriac, drizzled with butter and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese – because it’s still a little nippy outside. Other starters on the current menu include goats cheese with mango, passion fruit, chicory and pistachio; soup of the day, or chicken liver parfait with pear and Melba toast.
Although made using mainly British ingredients, Masons’ spring main courses have taken on a more international feel. You’ll find the classic mussels and chips, with either a traditional Marinière sauce, or one made with tomato and chorizo, as well as a featherblade steak with celeriac puree and several ways with onions, or a rich wild mushroom risotto with truffle oil.
We enjoyed munching through the superfood salad. Heartier and more filling than it sounds, this was a satisfying bowl of goodness which included the supergrain quinoa, nutritionally rich charred vegetables and sweet pomegranate seeds topped with sliced avocado. This comes with the option to add grilled halloumi cheese or shredded chicken. If you’re not feeling the joys of spring just yet, then you might prefer to tuck into a comforting bowl of soft pork belly with creamed cabbage and excellent crackling.
The full three courses are the way to go (especially as £19 offers superb value for money) because desserts are a speciality at Masons. Cointreau blood orange crème brulee comes in an individual copper pan and is a very good, perfectly smooth example of this popular pud. Mount Gay chocolate marquise was also delicious; satisfyingly chocolately, with a hint of rum, while managing to be light at the same time. We’ll have to return to try Masons’ sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel ice cream – an obvious inclusion for any self respecting British dessert menu.
As our visit was on a Friday (or simply just because) so we thought we’d indulge in a Port ‘flight’ to accompany a ‘world cheese board’. What a treat to be able to compare three vintages of Krohn Porto colheita side by side; one from 2012, another from 1996 and a third from 1982. We love an educational drinking session.
So that’s what we like best about Masons Restaurant Bar. It manages to adapt into anything from a place to enjoy a simple lunch or dinner, to a relaxed venue where you can spend a good few hours over some excellent food and drink in the company of friends, colleagues or family.