The new Michelin starred restaurants in the Great Britain and Ireland Guide 2020 were announced this week, with a record breaking number of new entries – including Ancoats newcomer Mana, the first restaurant to get a star in Manchester city centre since the 1970s.
And it was good news too for King Street restaurant El Gato Negro, which was awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand for the fourth year running for providing “exceptionally good food at moderate prices.”
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.
The Michelin Plate, a sign of very good food, is the symbol for those restaurants that have neither a star nor a Bib Gourmand, and several Manchester received the accolade this year.
Here’s all the restaurants across Greater Manchester which have been recommended in the Michelin Guide 2020, published 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”.
It’s been one of the most-talked-about new openings, winning praise from locals and critics alike. Now it’s got a Michelin star. Chef Simon Martin has spent years “garnering experience and ideas” from restaurants around the world and has “a clear unadulterated vision,” says the guide. The menu is a “perfectly paced” 12-16 course surprise. Exciting modern dishes with Nordic influences are “packed with originality and complex in their delivery.”
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.
A Manchester favourite, the modern British restaurant run by MasterChef winner Simon Wood thoroughly deserves its place (and Plate) in the 2020 guide. “Carefully crafted dishes are modern and creative,” says the guide about the First Street restaurant.
Adam Reid at the French
Adam Reid took the reins at The French following Simon Rogan’s departure, and has been putting his own stamp on the place. His comforting chicken dish won a place at this year’s Great British Menu banquet. “Boldly flavoured modern dishes focus on one main ingredient,” says the guide. Desserts are “playful.”
Asha’s, owned by and named after Bollywood legend Asha Bhosle, has become synonymous with Manchester’s fine dining Indian scene. Kebabs are a speciality, as is the “traditional masala recipe,” advises Michelin.
Manchester’s highest restaurant, on the 19th floor in Spinningfields, impresses the Michelin inspectors. Modern British menus offer everything from “homely classics to refined restaurant dishes” and most produce is from within 50 miles, says the guide.
A basement on Lloyd Street plays host to this spacious modern vegan restaurant. Modern dishes are prepared with skill and care, and the cauliflower three ways is “very tasty,” says the guide.
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.
Aiden Byrne’s Restaurant MCR (formerly Manchester House) sits on the second floor of a tower in Spinningfields. Start with a drink on the terrace before heading for the bright, industrial-style dining room, says the guide, praising the “complex modern dishes.” Don’t miss the Manchester tart, inspectors advise.
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.
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.
Owner Joe (who also owns the nearby Basque-style 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 f”ull 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.
Inspectors describe Borage as an airy neighbourhood restaurant in a pleasant village. Well-presented, colourful European dishes “showcase Polish ingredients” – the homemade breads are a highlight, as is the chocolate mousse.
White Hart Inn
There’s a brasserie, restaurant, private dining room, function room and smart bedrooms in this stone-built inn in Lydgate, the original part of which dates from 1788. The menu offers “a good range of refined dishes,” many with “a Mediterranean slant.”