It’s always a good sign when the restaurant is packed to the rafters, with couples, work Christmas parties and those just out looking for some great grub.
The restaurant is located in the Great Northern Warehouse, succinctly tucked beneath vaulted brick ceilings on a mezzanine inside Manchester235 Casino.
Despite the post industrial features hinting to the buildings past, the decor remains opulent, with regal high chairs upholstered in vintage fabrics augmenting an elegant feel to the restaurant. Make no doubt about it, this is a sophisticated dining experience.
The Restaurant marks a sharp contrast to the buzz of the casino downstairs, hosting a more relaxed, sociable atmosphere.
There was a busy hubbub when we went to review the restaurant and try out their Winter offerings.
James Martin prides themselves on their selection of choice cuts of beef; with all steaks aged for ‘at least’ 28 days, doing this creates their unique taste and texture.
They are sourced from Waterfold farm in the Yorkshire Dales, where cattle can graze on idyllic lush grassland.
I Love MCR already named James Martin in the top 50 restaurants in Manchester last year, and their food won a 2019 place on Harden’s best restaurant guide, so expectations were high.
We picked from a mixture of the festive menu and their a la carte, to get a full breadth of what their menu had to offer.
We were greeted by friendly and informative staff, who suggested the best bites from the menu, and offered great suggestions for wine pairings for each dish.
To begin with, I had a glazed duck breast with red cabbage, raisin puree, sourdough and a merlot jus (£13.50). The presentation of this dish was absolutely beautiful, the raisin puree cutting through the tender earthier, gamier flavour of the duck.
My companion had the the cauliflower cheese with hafod cheddar scone and black truffle butter (£9). Lucky I got to try this dish, as it really was sensational for a kick off, the cheese with sauce a deep tasting richness augmented by the taste of the scone and black truffle butter. Highly recommended by our waitress and for good reason.
We paired the starters with a Esquinas de Argento Malbec, an inky, medium-bodied, dry red wine with strong impressions of dark fruits on the nose and pallet.
For the mains, I had the pine roasted venison, with braised faggot, quince, salt baked celeriac and slow gin jus (£27).
The quality of the meats at James Martin is fantastic, the venison tender, very suitable for the festive season as cold weather closes in – imbued with hints of acorn, sage and herbs. The celeriac adds another twist in the medley of flavours that is very enjoyable.
My partner selected the Yorkshire ox cheek ‘bourguingnon’ with confit carrot, potato puree, hen-of-the-woods, pancetta and red wine jus (part of the festive menu), slow cooked to perfection in a beautiful melt in your mouth moment.
To round things off, I opted for the white chocolate and whiskey croissant butter pudding with whiskey ice cream and honeycomb (£8). The whiskey paired with the honeycomb added to a sumptuous and indulgent blend of flavours you can take your time enjoying.
My companion chose the selection of British cheeses including: baron bigod, hafod cheddar, Yorkshire pecorino, and cote hill blue (£13). A great selection and a must have for cheese lovers. The chilli jam was amazing and the cheeses cycle through the classics, all from the United Kingdom too.
If the a la carte isn’t for you, or you’re looking for the full works at a very reasonable price, James Martin have just launched their Festive Menu, where you can get three courses for £42, or two courses for £38.
To start with you can choose from:
Cauliflower Cheese Volute, with Hafod cheddar scone and black truffle butter
Woodland pork with quince, pickled beets and candied chestnut
Thai spiced Cornish crab risotto, with lemongrass, lime leaf and green chilli
Free range turkey with cranberry and orange stuffing, with pigs in blankets, anise braised carrots, maple glazed piccolo parsnips
Yorkshire ox cheek ‘bourguingnon’ with confit carrot, potato puree, hen-of-the-woods, pancetta and red wine jus
Grilled Hake with herb gnocchi, tempura prawn, salsa verde, shellfish cream
Butternut squash and sage anglotti (v) with wood roast squash, tender stem broccoli, beuvale blue
Spiced apple parfait with dulce du lece, apple and stem ginger crumble
White chocolate and whiskey croissant with whiskey ice cream and honeycomb
A selection of British Cheeses with crackers and home made preserves
The high quality of the ingredients coupled with an interesting range of food makes James Martin a great choice for a brilliant meal.
Be it a catch up with friends, a dinner party with colleagues or just a great meal, James Martin could be just the place as the Winter weather closes in.