Harden's survey result
This “superb, very elegant space” put in a stronger performance in the survey this year, perhaps aided by “a recent change of style and presentation” that has seen it “dispense with white tablecloths to pursue a more informal approach”. Adam Reid’s cuisine is “very enjoyable” and his four-, six- and nine-course menus deliver some “beautifully balanced dishes”. Perhaps unfairly, however, there remains an air of promise unfulfilled over this famous chamber. It’s not just that it still carries the weight of being the last Manchester restaurant to hold a Michelin star back in the distant days of 1974. But in the present day, it’s by no means as much commented-on in the survey as one might expect for such a big name, and amongst those reports we do receive, some still talk of the odd “terrible” trip, or a meal with “patchy service, and dishes where some, but not all, were interesting”. In October 2018 the £115m sale of the hotel was announced – renovation is planned but whether change is afoot for The French remains to be seen.
It would be too strong to call it a disastrous decline, but since Simon Rogan severed his ties with this famous but “hushed and slightly stilted” chamber, performance has gone from rocky to a-bit-more-rocky. Loyalists feel “Adam Reid’s style adds a warmth to the presentation and stays true to good produce and clean cooking” within the scope of his 4-, 6- and 9-course tasting menus; and praise staff who are “friendly and not stuffy”. The scepticism of former years persists however, with critics feeling the performance is “too expensive” (“boy those portions are small!”) or “lacking finesse”.
In October 2016, a couple of weeks after it failed to win a Michelin Star, Simon Rogan severed his links with this famous dining room (where Mr Rolls first met Mr Royce in days gone by), so we’ve left it un-rated, even though head chef Adam Reid remains in place. Perhaps under the management of the hotel, this operation will sort itself out, because reports this year suggested the former set-up “just hadn’t got it right”. Fans were very enthusiastic, extolling “adventurous food and a wonderful, wonderful overall experience”, but even some of them could find the ambience “uptight”, and a worrying number of harsher critics “were hugely disappointed on so many levels” finding it “very fancy, but neither memorable nor exceptional”. Perhaps by next year it will have settled down a bit?
The only choice is how many courses you wantÂ (you can have either 6 or 10), when you a secure table in Manchesters grandest dining space. Despite the lack of options, chef Adam Reids innovative and amazingly flavourful parade of dishes are exceptionalÂ, if fully priced; the space itself can appear a tad corporateÂ.
Adam Reid at The French Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Northern classics with a rock and roll sound track. The food has no synergy with the grand space, but service is some of the best in the region. "
"Gone downhill recently and in my latest visit was distinctly average. "
"Serves great modern food, using many of the new culinary techniques available. We chose the 6 course plus the Golden Empire dessert from the Great British Menu (we shared) and my wife swapped out the lamb for halibut, which was a mistake, as the halibut was a thin & very dry. Otherwise all good."
"From the start everything about this restaurant made a statement about enjoying the experience, from the relaxed staff to the chance to talk to one of the chefs preparing desserts just near us and to the chef popping over to our table as he returned to the kitchen each time he had performed his duties outside for the Manchester foodie event in the hotel. The tiny list of half bottles was rather disappointing but we were persuaded to take the seven glass wine flight on the basis that they were supposed to be small glasses (some were, others weren’t) and the wines proved to be interesting and excellent matches for the food. The canapés were very convincing - lovely whipped cod’s roe with good squid ink crackers and a notable paprika powder sprinkle, and ‘tea and toast’ with a super, intense beefy broth and a dripping cream with a hint of horseradish running through it. The first starter was delicious fried oyster with very suitable buttermilk sauce, cauliflower and bacon and an accent of chives, and this was followed by tater ‘ash - the tiny diced potato and veg mixed with tasty raw sirloin and served with light brown bread and beef and onion butter, a surprising and comforting dish. A splendid piece of hake for the fish course had been poached to perfection in mushroom butter and this was well supported by a garlic-based green sauce with a parsley tang. We agreed to differ on the organic chicken which I found somewhat on the bland side and my wife thought was absolutely spot on with a generous flavour typical of good organic poultry, and there was a similar difference of opinion about the accompanying turnip, barley and corn mix. The Stichelton crumpet, however, brought murmurs of satisfaction from us both and the armagnac-soaked prunes went so well with the cheese we could have happily had it three times over. We were also bowled over by the aroma coming from the easy peeler dessert with its sea buckthorn cream, sugary skin and white chocolate leaf. And what a way to finish! An exceptional raspberry quenelle with equally good baked cream cheese and a touch of cinnamon. A really impressive introduction for us to fine dining in Manchester, and a venue we would hope to return to."
Peter St, Manchester, M60 2DS
|Number of Diners:|
|Tuesday||5 pm-9:30 pm|
|Wednesday||5 pm-9:30 pm|
|Thursday||12 pm-1 pm, 5 pm-9:30 pm|
|Friday||12 pm-1 pm, 5 pm-9:30 pm|
|Saturday||12 pm-1 pm, 5 pm-9:30 pm|