Thousands of readers have cast their votes to find SquareMeal’s top restaurants in the UK. The results, moderated by SquareMeal’s editor and a team of nationwide professional reviewers, include twelve restaurants in the north west.
Two of these are in Greater Manchester: Stockport’s Where The Light Gets In at number 36 and Adam Reid at The French at number 59.
SquareMeal has been the market-leading independent restaurant commentator for almost 30 years in print and online. It includes up-to-date reviews of over 5,000 London and UK restaurants and bars written by a team of independent critics with the aid of comments from thousands of restaurant customers.
Tucked away in Stockport’s Rostron Brow, once infamous for its ale houses of ill-repute, ex-L’Enclume chef Sam Buckley’s Where the Light Gets In is a bright, loft-style space with an open kitchen and views across the rooftops towards Robinsons Brewery.
There’s no regular menu. Instead, diners are offered a procession of small plates and snacks “inspired by the day’s catch, harvest and slaughter,” with virtually nothing going to waste.
“Thrilling combinations abound,” says SquareMeal, with Buckley’s inspiring kitchen demonstrating “remarkably high levels of precision, imagination and skill across the board.”
Highlights of the reviewer’s visit included “delicate raw langoustine carpaccio with fragrant rose, plum and lavender, plump steamed mussels with a caramelised mussel and hawthorn broth, slowly roasted pigeon breast and leg accompanied by sweet salt and a hint of nutty morels, and a Victoria plum cake with plum stone-infused cream.”
Dishes are accompanied by specially matched wines or innovative juices designed to complement the culinary creations.
“In all, this is an electrifyingly unique dining experience – and a revelation for Stockport,” concludes SquareMeal.
The magazine is not the only national publication to be impressed by the Stockport restaurant. It has received glowing reviews in the national press, and was awarded a maximum five stars for both food and atmosphere in Lisa Markwell’s review for the Sunday Times magazine.
This followed a review in the Guardian, where Marina O’Loughlin described the dishes as the most exciting food she’d eaten in years. “Not so much new Nordic as new northern, this is a procession of brilliance,” she said.
The French also impressed the SquareMeal editors and voting public, and the restaurant reached number 59 in the list.
“Simon Rogan is long gone, but his protégé Adam Reid continues to turn heads at this flagship restaurant within Manchester’s vintage Midland Hotel,” says SquareMeal.
“We’ve had our share of thrilling encounters here – from seared scallop with trout roe and roasted onion broth to a superbly executed dish of salt-aged duck with vivid purple beetroot and pickled elderberries.”
There’s one dish which especially impressed the publication: “Don’t miss Reid’s ‘Golden Empire’ dessert – an award-winner from Great British Menu 2016 consisting of a golden candy apple adorned with hazelnut crumble and meadowsweet custard.”
The front of house team was also praised: “spot-on service ensures a stunning gastronomic experience without any fine-dining stuffiness.”
Chef Adam Reid tweeted that he was delighted with the inclusion: “Really chuffed we’re listed in @SquareMeal 100 list, proud to be in with some other amazing north west restaurants.”
Other north west restaurants that made the cut include L’Enclume (2), Fraiche (13), Moor Hall (26), Lake Road Kitchen (37), Sticky Walnut (38), Forest Side (46), Freemasons at Wiswell (58), Rogan & Co (63), Northcote (78) and Burnt Truffle (90).