‘A creative city kitchen firing on all cylinders’: The French wins 4 AA Rosettes for culinary excellence


It’s been quite the month for Adam Reid at The French.

It was the only Manchester restaurant to make the Good Food Guide top 50 UK restaurants list, ranking impressively at number 13 with a score of 8 for “cooking that has reached a pinnacle of achievement. A hugely memorable experience.”

And now, the restaurant in the Midland Hotel has been awarded four AA Rosettes for culinary excellence at the annual AA Awards.

The long-established Rosette scheme recognises successful cooking at different levels across the UK, and is based on one or more visits by an AA inspector to a hotel or restaurant. Only about 10% of restaurants nationwide reach a standard worthy of one Rosette and above. One Rosette restaurants are highly recommended in a local area and five Rosettes have reached the pinnacle of culinary excellence at a world class level.

Four AA Rosettes denotes a venue “among the top restaurants in the UK, where the cooking demands national recognition. These restaurants exhibit intense ambition, a passion for excellence, superb technical skills, and remarkable consistency. They will combine appreciation of culinary traditions with a passionate desire for further exploration and improvement.” There are very few restaurants with four AA Rosettes.

Adam Reid at The French was one of only seven restaurants to be awarded four AA Rosettes this year, and was described as “a creative city kitchen firing on all cylinders.”

The Midland Hotel “looks as grand as a city hall, in a city not short on municipal grandeur,” said the AA inspector.

“Adam Reid is the titular presence and has been making his presence felt with a fully up-to-the-minute operation that embraces small-plate dining while sitting at the kitchen counter, as well as grand tasting processions served in the glitzy French restaurant, a handsome room done in moody blue and grey beneath giant crystal globes.”

The inspector was impressed by Adam’s food, with a choice of four, six or nine courses.

“Expect energetic combinations such as truffled fried offals (duck heart and gizzards) with broccoli and a deeply flavoured mousse of Tunworth cheese, brill baked in beef butter with morel cream sauce and a meaty foam, and salt- and hay-aged duck on layers of beetroot in a sauce of pickled elderberries, even at the most modest end.

“Dessert could be positively flavoured rhubarb jelly topped with crumbled ginger biscuit and malt ice cream. On the nine-courser, there may also be veal sweetbreads with chopped carrot, hazelnuts and garlic, and an extra dessert based on ‘easy peeler’ citrus fruit with white chocolate and sea buckthorn.”

The simpler dishes also won over the inspector – including Adam’s signature tater ‘ash, a northern classic.

“Whatever you do, don’t pass through the French without tasting the bread and butter, thick-sliced sourdough spread with beef dripping, served perhaps with a bowl of tater ‘ash (potato hash, as they call it outside Manchester) and mushroom catsup made to a recipe by the Georgian cookery writer, Elizabeth Raffald.”

The restaurant was also praised for its notable wine list.

“We are over the moon to announce that we have been awarded 4 AA Rosettes!” tweeted The French. “A great achievement for the team after 18 months since opening. September just keeps getting better!”

Joro in Sheffield was also awarded three Rosettes, while Moor Hall in Ormskirk, Lancashire was awarded a spectactular five. The only other restaurants to be awarded the full five AA Rosettes were both in London – Bibendum, and Core by Clare Smyth.

Moor Hall reached number 11 in The Good Food Guide‘s top 50 this month, with a score of 8, and was awarded a Michelin star within its first year.

Earlier this year, two AA Rosettes were awarded to Wood Manchester, former MasterChef winner Simon Wood‘s restaurant on First Street, and Grafene.


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