The most talked-about restaurant opening of the year, it’s already heavily booked over the coming months with diners – and reviewers – keen to see what the Michelin starred chef will bring to the city.
National newspaper the Financial Times has just run a review of the new opening by award-winning food writer and critic Tim Hayward. So what did he make of Kerridge’s new joint?
Tim begins by saying that he thinks Manchester has been dealt a bad hand by the hospitality industry, ignored by Michelin (though that changed this year, of course) and national critics.
So, depending on how you look at it, he says, the fact that every critic has rushed there for the opening of a restaurant by an “emphatically non-northern celebrity chef” is either brilliant news or “predictably patronising”.
Tim was impressed by the grand Victorian space of the former Stock Exchange, but – like us – wondered about the TV screens dotted about the place: the room, “barring the tellies, is glorious,” he writes.
The aim is to make the restaurant an approachable and social space, blurring the lines between elegance and informality, they say. But while the TV screens make it feel less formal, they also seem rather incongruous in such a grand setting.
They certainly seem to have divided opinion.
But what about the food? Tim is impressed, declaring it “extraordinarily good”.
Tom and his executive chef Dan Scott have created a menu that is influenced by Tom’s Michelin starred pub in Marlow, The Coach.
And though his popular persona is based around cheerful promotion of homely pub grub, Tim says that Tom Kerridge is the most “delicate and refined” of cooks and his food expresses that perfectly.
Tim describes his potted salmon with apple jelly and cucumber chutney as an “elegant little thing”, while the rotisserie red Duke of York potato with crème fraîche and raw steak reminded him why he’s “a little bit in love” with Kerridge.
The venison chilli with toasted rice cream, red wine and chocolate – one of our early favourites – was “one of the most unexpectedly accomplished bowls of food” he’s consumed in ages, writes Tim, “and has emboldened me, right here in this column, to propose to Mr Kerridge.”
He also ordered a pot of chips served with Tom’s pickle ketchup, about which the fooderati “are abuzz”; he has added a “new classic to the canon of British cuisine,” agrees Tim.
Food of this calibre deserves a “proper plinth” for display, says Tim, and “please God, no bloody tellies.”
TV screens aside, it’s clear that the restaurant is attracting a lot of attention. And deservedly so.
It deserves to be a raging success, says Tim.
“I can only apologise if it’s taken a TV celebrity from Gloucester via Marlow to drag us all up there.”
Luckily for us, we don’t have to travel very far at all. Assuming we can still get a table.
The Bull & Bear is open now in Stock Exchange Hotel on Norfolk Street.