The UK’s Michelin stars for 2021 were announced this week, along with the publication of Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland 2021.
By postponing publication for a few months and by making the guide digital only, the inspectors say they were able to work on this edition for over 16 months, which meant the lockdowns could be easily absorbed into the working period.
Ancoats restaurant Mana, which last year received the city’s first Michelin star in over 40 years, retained its star this year.
And Stockport restaurant Where The Light Gets In received a brand new accolade for 2021: the Michelin green star for sustainable gastronomy.
This new distinction highlights restaurants “at the forefront of the industry when it comes to their sustainable practices and who act as role models to us all.”
And it was good news too for King Street restaurant El Gato Negro, which was awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand for the fifth year running for providing “exceptionally good food at moderate prices.”
In what has been “such a tough year for everyone, to get the news that we have been awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand is incredible and has given all involved a real lift,” said chef patron Simon Shaw.
“It is one thing to be awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand but to keep it is massive and a real testament to the work of Milan and the team.”
But while stars are most coveted by chefs, what sometimes remains under the radar are the other restaurants listed in the red book.
These places are, in fact, judged by the same five criteria used for starred and Bib Gourmand restaurants.
Here’s all the restaurants across Greater Manchester which have been recommended in the Michelin Guide 2021, published digitally this week.
Apart from Mana (with a star) and El Gato Negro (with a Bib), they’ve all been awarded a Michelin Plate, denoting “fresh ingredients, carefully prepared: a good meal”.
Adam Reid at The French
Great British Menu winning chef Adam Reid’s elegant restaurant in The Midland has been brought up-to-date with “a moody colour scheme, striking chandeliers and booths down the centre of the room”, says the guide. “Boldly flavoured modern dishes focus on one main ingredient,” and “desserts are “playful.”
Modern, industrial-style, laid-back wine bar Erst offers “something refreshingly different in the city,” say inspectors. It specialises in natural, low-intervention wines – many of which you can buy to take home – accompanied by a selection of “flavoursome small plates”.
Launched in September 2018 in the heart of Cutting Room Square, Mediterranean tapas restaurant Canto has quietly established itself as one of Ancoats’ best restaurants and bars, loved for its laidback atmosphere and consistently good small plates. “The fish dishes are the best, along with the delicious Portuguese custard tarts,” suggests the guide.
There is “so much to love about Mana, not least of which is the service”, says the guide about the Michelin starred restaurant. Chef Simon Martin has spent years garnering experience and ideas from restaurants around the world, and the chefs create “exciting modern dishes with Nordic influences… packed with originality”. The menu is a 12-16 course surprise which “unfolds throughout the evening and is perfectly paced.”
A basement on Lloyd Street plays host to this spacious modern vegan restaurant. Flavour-packed vegan dishes take on a modern approach and are prepared with skill and care, and the cauliflower three ways is “very tasty,” says the guide.
Manchester’s highest restaurant, on the 19th floor in Spinningfields, impresses the Michelin inspectors. Modern British menus offer “everything from refined dishes to homely classics,” says the guide.
El Gato Negro
The buzzy ‘Black Cat’ with a retractable roof on King Street was awarded a Bib Gourmand, highlighted as one of the inspectors’ favourites for good value. “Appealing tapas dishes include meats from the Josper grill,” the guide notes.
Bull & Bear
Tom Kerridge’s restaurant at the Stock Exchange Hotel is a new addition to the 2021 guide. Start with a cocktail in the bar beside the marble fireplace, then head through to the ‘bear pit’ – the elegant former trading room of the Manchester Stock Exchange – with its marble pillars and wonderful domed ceiling, the guide suggests, adding that the menu offers “an appealing mix of British brasserie classics.”
With a menu by multi-Michelin starred Paco Perez, inspectors suggest Tast diners ask for a seat on the lower level to watch the chefs behind the counter. Catalan dishes “are executed to a high level and are tasty and satisfying.” A stunning set menu is served in top floor Enxaneta.
The experienced owner-chef at the Northern Quarter staple hails from France, and his classic dishes are cooked with “pride and passion” using both local and imported French produce, say inspectors. They note the set lunch represents especially good value.
At this “simple, honest little bistro you’ll find Jacinda in the kitchen creating tasty, well-crafted dishes from across Europe, while Andrea picks out the perfect match for each dish from the wine list,” says the guide. Andrea’s family make Prosecco back in Italy and some of their wines are here to try.
Authentic Spanish flavours reign at this pleasant little tapas bar with an open kitchen, say inspectors. Appealing dishes change throughout the year according to the availability of ingredients, and “even the basics such as pan con tomate and salted Padron peppers are wonderfully fresh and full-flavoured.”
Where The Light Gets In
A loft-style restaurant in a Victorian warehouse, WTLGI’s open kitchen forms part of the room. The surprise menu is formed from “whatever they have foraged that day and beasts are brought in whole and fully utilised,” say inspectors. Matching wine flights focus on natural wines, and the restaurant this year won a Michelin green star for sustainable gastronomy.
Owner Joe (who also owns the nearby Basque-style pintxo bar Baratxuri) loves all things Spanish and his “sweet little tapas bar” has an authentic feel, says the guide. The menu is dictated by market produce; “be sure to try some of the freshly sliced Iberico ham.”
This neighbourhood bistro is split over two levels, and hearty, seasonal dishes are “cooked with care” and “full of flavour.” Homemade favourites include ice cream, and the cheese pie “is a hit,” note inspectors.
Bird at Birtle
Classic dishes are given “a modern touch,” says the guide about this popular restaurant in a modernised pub. Inspectors advise starting with a cocktail on a comfy sofa then heading upstairs to the stylish dining room with its balcony and fell views.
Andrew Nutter’s “enthusiastically run” restaurant in an old manor house is popular for afternoon tea, notes the guide. The cooking’s all about modern British dishes with international influences. If you can’t decide, inspectors suggest opting for the six-course ‘surprise’ menu.
British and Polish flavours combine at this friendly neighbourhood restaurant located in a pleasant village, say inspectors. Well-presented, colourful modern dishes “reflect the seasons and are full of flavour”. The homemade breads are a highlight, says the guide, as is the chocolate mousse.
White Hart Inn
“Never one to stand still, this 18C stone pub on the moor is constantly evolving,” says the guide. It’s a busy place but the staff have it all under control and there are comfy bedrooms for those wishing to stay. Dining takes place in a large rear room; the appealing menu has “a British heart and global influences”.