- Restaurant Reviews | Hardens
Explore Harden's - The restaurant guide created by you for you

Restaurant in

SRA Rating
Hot Newcomer
Editors Review
The 2017 Harden's Survey - it's time to have your say

Nominate your top restaurant for the chance to win a holiday in Rome!*

Enter Now
* terms and conditions apply
Restaurant Reviews
Reviews of Restaurant in , by users of Hardens.com. Also see the editors review of restaurant.
Vivian C
Soup was excellent but could have done with...
Overall Value
3.5
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
Reviewed Today

"Soup was excellent but could have done with more pork."

Report this comment
Vivian C
Great meeting place for saturday brunch....
Overall Value
3.5
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
Reviewed Today

"Great meeting place for saturday brunch."

Report this comment
Vivian C
Great food. Very squished. Attentive waite...
Overall Value
3
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
Reviewed Today

"Great food. Very squished. Attentive waiters when we can find them"

Report this comment
Susan K
Had an excellent chicken dumpling soup, fro...
Overall Value
4
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
Reviewed Today

"Had an excellent chicken dumpling soup, from Persia I think. However found the place cramped and rather noisy"

Report this comment
Andrew L
specifically go to York to eat here. Super ...
Overall Value
4.5
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
Reviewed Today

"specifically go to York to eat here. Super friendly, from the enormous painting of Paulo the owner in the first room, to the divine and inventive homemade pasta, and the omertà principles for the wine list, my favourite restaurant in the country."

Report this comment
Daniel E
Great piping hot falafel with wonderful fre...
Overall Value
3.5
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
Reviewed Today

"Great piping hot falafel with wonderful fresh fillings crammed into a pita in about 45 seconds which is amazing and makes up for standing in line waiting for your turn at the head of the line."

Report this comment
Daniel E
Simple and Honest is what they are with gre...
Overall Value
4
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
Reviewed Today

"Simple and Honest is what they are with great flavour and attention to detail at the original in Brixton market."

Report this comment
Daniel E
Great to have Mr Bao in SE15. The pickles, ...
Overall Value
3
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
Reviewed Today

"Great to have Mr Bao in SE15. The pickles, Kimchi and small salads are all good but the Bao where under-filled, cold and a little too dense."

Report this comment
Daniel E
The long wait is finally over for this rame...
Overall Value
3.5
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
Reviewed Today

"The long wait is finally over for this ramen bar just along from Brixton market that blends flavours from Japan with more local staples."

Report this comment
Daniel E
Tiny Japanese "Tapas" venue more than small...
Overall Value
3.5
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
Reviewed Today

"Tiny Japanese "Tapas" venue more than small and popular enough for a booking to be essential. Note pad ordering is fun but services is a let down for this other very good destination."

Report this comment
Load More Reviews
Have you eaten at ?
Post your own review of and contribute to our annual restaurant review guide.
Post your own review
The Editors Review
hawksmoor manchesterJay Rayner weighs in on the north/south restaurant divide question

The Observer's critic-in-chief heads to Manchester to try out the new Hawksmoor and stumbles across a veggie dining room, 1847, serving great food – well, apart from the desserts. Read our roundup of restaurant news in Manchester and enter our Hawksmoor Manchester competition.

 

 

Meanwhile the Guardian's Marina O'Laughlin pays a visit to the much gushed about Kitty Fisher's

Everyone else love, love, loves it but Marina can't help but feel she's ended up at a house party she wasn't quite invited to, particularly as the restaurant staff seem allergic to answering the phone. We can attest to that having called them on at least 10 occasions without success.

 

The award for most ferocious review this week has to go to The Sunday Times's A A Gill

The critic has a thing or two to say about Mayfair's 'ridiculously overpriced' Mexican, Peyote, including: “...fiddly, neurotic preparation with pale, polite taste and silly, parsimonious sharing plates that aren’t bounteous or fun and are more like eating the catering pitch for a drug cartel’s wedding.”

 

Over at The Times, Giles Coren gives his opinion on Russian-imported pizza chain Bocconcino

“Bocconcino isn’t a bad restaurant. It just isn’t a necessary restaurant.” At £202 for pizza and pasta it's not hard to see why Mr Coren might feel that way – mind you, a £46 bottle of wine probably helped nudge the bill up.

 

And last but not least, Ms Maschler reviews Brindisa's new Morada Asador

The Standard's long-standing critic heads to the latest outpost of this tapas chain (in Soho) and finds the meats are the reason to flock here – from the 'delectable' milk-fed lamb to the Secreto Iberico.
See the Review
News

aidan portrait -0414_GREY VERSIONManchester continues to vie for the position of the UK's second city when it comes to dining out – and at the rate it is going, the birthplace of the industrial revolution may edge out Birmingham and Edinburgh to take that title. In the last year the Northern capital has seen the launch of the first Hawksmoor outside of London, swiftly joined by Spanish tapas group Ibérica, while Wahaca, Pho and Vapiano all snapped up venues in Manchester's new restaurant hub, The Corn Exchange.


This phenomenal level of growth shows no signs of slowing with Soho House setting its sights on Manchester, Dishoom eyes expansion with a site in the city, Soho's Randall & Aubin unveiling plans for a second seafood bar and restaurant in Bridge Street (opening later this year), and king of the crowd-funding campaign, Gary Usher (Sticky Walnut, Burnt Truffle), has raised the cash for his third venture – Hispi Bistro – slated to arrive in the city's outskirts in Chorlton.


It is not just diners who are welcoming this injection of vibrancy to the city's dining scene. Harden's sat down with Aiden Byrne, chef/patron of Manchester House, to talk about this new level of competition, his portrayal in the rather sexed-up Beeb documentary Restaurant Wars: The Battle for Manchester, and the chef's plans for a new venture in his native Liverpool.


10161-008 restaurant“It's a really exciting time for the city,” he says. “Personally I welcome the competition. It will make us all up our game, and it will benefit the people who live here, not to mention tourism. Historically, Manchester isn't really a tourist destination. The visitors we get are often on business trips, but that's changing as the city has more to offer – especially in terms of dining out.


“Sure, there was nervousness about the Hawksmoor opening last year, but Manchester House was still very young then. Now we've found our feet and are a bit more established I can say that there's no reason why lots of high level restaurants cannot exist alongside each other. We'll feed off each other, raise each other's games.”


Aiden launched Manchester House in October 2013 – around the same time that Simon Rogan was opening his Manchester base, The French at the Midland hotel. The launch of two high profile, upmarket restaurants in Manchester (a great moment for the city) became the subject of a rather melodramatic BBC documentary, Restaurant Wars.


Aiden, who comes across as an extremely affable chap, is quick to point out that even the name of the documentary was designed to create a sense of rivalry that just didn't exist. “There was no 'war' between Simon (Rogan) and myself. These documentaries try to create drama where there isn't any – but I suppose it's all about attracting viewer ratings at the end of the day,” he concedes. “I just want people to know that my portrayal is not really who I am as a chef. I'm not Michelin Star hungry. It's not the be all and end all for me. I'd rather provide great hospitality for my guests and give them an unforgettable dining experience than chase accolades.”


EWP-MH- 43aBut Aiden isn't bitter about his taste of TV fame, in fact it has helped him reimagine the Manchester House menu so that he is now cooking the dishes he wants, rather than what he thinks diners might expect from a fine dining restaurant. He says: “I think that initially I was concentrating too much on producing food I thought should be on Manchester's fine dining scene, rather than what I was truly passionate about. So I went back to the development kitchen and started again. Now I'm serving heartfelt food that's personal to me and my restaurant.”


His statement is upheld by many of our Harden's reporters who had heard Manchester House's food had a “gimmicky reputation” in the past. However last year's survey feedback was glowing, with comments like – “very professional”, “very classy”, and Aiden Byrnes’s “ornate” cuisine is seriously “accomplished”.


So readers will be pleased to hear that Aiden has plans for expansion with a new venture in his native Liverpool. The venue will incorporate not just a restaurant but a chef's school as well. He is currently in talks to acquire a site, so watch this space for more details. “I'd love to open a restaurant in my home town,” he says. “And the plan is to have a chef's school there as well. I have my eye on the potential site – it's very exciting.”




 

Harden's top 10 Manchester & Greater Manchester restaurants


Over £50 per head


the frenchThe French by Simon Rogan, Midland hotel


£96


“The only choice is how many courses you want” (you can have either 6 or 10), when you a secure table in Manchester’s grandest dining space, nowadays part of the empire of Simon Rogan of L’Enclume fame. Despite the lack of options, chef Adam Reid’s “innovative and amazingly flavourful” parade of dishes are “exceptional”, if fully priced; the space itself can appear a tad “corporate”.




 

Manchester House


£90


“Don’t let its slightly gimmicky reputation put you off!” This year-old, “blingy” office block venture – with “trendy 12th-floor cocktail lounge (limited views)” and “glam industrial-chic” 2nd-floor restaurant (complete with open kitchen) – is “very professional”, “very classy”, and Aiden Byrnes’s “ornate” cuisine is seriously “accomplished”. That all said, it can still seem a bit “forced”, not helped by the punishing “London prices”.




 

hawksmoor manchesterHawksmoor

£60

“Standards have been maintained in the move to Manchester”, and this outpost of the legendary London steakhouse chain “is a fine addition to the city's improving dining scene”. In fact enthusiasm here is just as it was in the early days of the brand’s original debut in the capital, with adulation for its “confident” menu, “fabulous” steaks, and “engaging and knowledgeable” service.

 

James Martin


£53


“A real gem in the centre of Manchester” with a “pleasant”, if unlikely sounding, setting in a converted warehouse over a casino; reporters all acclaim the TV chef’s “amazing” cuisine (“at an affordable price”) and staff who “can’t do enough”.




 

La Bandera


£50


“Setting new standards for Iberian cuisine”; despite only opening in late-2014, this “achingly modern” (think yellow banquettes) new spot, off Deansgate, already “enjoys celebrity status” for its “wonderful, fresh and interesting” tapas from a chef “with a real sense of flavour” (Basque maestro Josetxo Arrieta).




 

manchestertownhallUnder £50 per head


The Lime Tree, Didsbury


£49


“A favourite of pretty much everybody that's ever been!” – this formidable Didsbury brasserie “never lets you down”, not least the “consistently great” service. “You could eat here every week – there’s nothing too fancy or clever, and the menu would suit your maiden aunt as well as your new lover.”




 

Rose Garden, Didsbury


£44


William Mills’s “white, minimalist” restaurant “goes from strength to strength” with its “consistently exquisite” and “always inventive” dishes. “The pricing is very fair for the reward of eating so well, with good wines sourced from the local independent wine merchant”.




 

Screenshot 2016-04-27 15.12.16Yang Sing


£42


“Still the best in Manchester (and very probably further afield)” – the Yeung family’s vast Chinatown beacon (est. 1977) remains one of the UK’s top Chinese destinations, and its “joyous” dim sum is particularly notable for its “gorgeous delicacy and refinement of flavour”. Even one long-term observer who feels this “not amazing-looking, but comfortable place” is “currently on one of its recurring downswings” still thinks it nothing short of “brilliant”. Top Tip – “the banquets are especially good – tell the staff what you do/don't like and let them take care of the order...”




 

Yuzu


£39


“Several notches above your average Japanese” – this “simple” and “very approachable” year-old diner in Chinatown (decked out with a “wooden interior”) is proving a “very happy” addition to Manchester. “By not serving sushi, they achieve a Zen-like focus on doing other things well, and boy do they succeed”, with “spectacularly good tempura” and other dishes (such as noodles and dumplings). “It's worth going just to see how good rice can be!”




 

Siam Smiles


£28


A new basement Chinatown Thai that's “effectively part of an Asian supermarket”, but where the ex-solicitor owner’s “sensational” food comes “pretty close to sitting in a Bangkok roadside caff!”; “watch out”, though, “the Thais like it hot, and it is VERY hot”!




 

AND AIDEN RECOMMENDS FOODIES TAKE A TRIP TO...

Altrincham Food Market

“The atmosphere, the people, the produce available – it's absolutely fantastic!” says Aiden. He recommends that visitors head up there on a Sunday for the Specialist Market which 'showcases
the talent, skill, passion and creativity of the finest traders in the North West plus some amazing food to boot'. Aiden even sources some of Manchester House's ingredients from the market, including Formby asparagus and Wirral watercress.
See the article
  • Nearby Offers
  • Similar Restaurants
Levanter
Ramsbottom | 
£35
Overall Value
4.5
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
The Dolphin House Brazzerie
Plymouth | 
£46
Overall Value
4.5
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
Kaffeine (Group)
• | 
£12
Overall Value
4.5
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
Lake Road Kitchen
Ambleside | 
£86
Overall Value
4.5
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
Cowshed
Bath | 
£51
Overall Value
4.5
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
Sosban And The Old Butchers
Menai Bridge | 
£62
Overall Value
4.5
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
Take part in the 2017 Harden's survey