The Manchester restaurant boom is great news for diners. We’re positively spoilt for choice – and not just because of the number of places to eat. In such a competitive – some might say saturated – market, it’s a case of survival of the fittest. Restaurants have got to be on the ball to do well and avoid becoming just another casualty.
With so many new places opening almost every week, 47 King Street West feels like a veteran of the Manchester dining scene. In fact it’s less than four years old, having opened as a tea room in late 2011 and subsequently evolved into what you see today – a 65 cover, family-owned and run restaurant which has built a reputation for serving classic French and British dishes in traditional surroundings.
“If you’re looking
which serves food
served on a brick
or a dustbin lid…
this probably isn’t
the place for you.”
We went along to sample some of the dishes on its recently launched autumn/winter à la carte menu and to find out how they are getting along in the face of increasingly fierce completion, particularly from the chains.
As you might expect, the menu features classic dishes full of seasonal flavours. And they don’t come more classic or French than Moules Mariniere (£8.95), one of four starters we tried from the menu. A generous portion of the classic dish –nothing more and nothing less – served with crusty bread to mop up the beautiful juices. Described as ‘excellent’ by my moules loving companions. Sometimes the simple dishes are the best.
The other starters were somewhat more elaborate. Crab & Avocado Salad (£8.95) is a light, refreshing appetiser with pieces of apple adding crunch to the smooth avocado and delicate crab meat to create a sweet, dish of contrasting flavours and textures.
By contrast, the Braised Ox Tongue with Pomme Puree, Button Mushrooms and Madeira Jus (£8.95) delivered rich, earthy flavours but of the starters we sampled, the Pan Seared Shetland Scallops with Pork Belly, Pea Puree and Chorizo Salad (£13.95) was the favourite. Plump, sweet, and delicious scallops, firm on the outside and soft inside, rich pork belly and crispy salad complemented each other perfectly creating a beautifully balanced dish. Scallops are famously expensive, but if you’re a fan – and who isn’t – this is a lovely dish, but at £13.95 perhaps a bit pricey for a starter for some.
For mains, we tried mouth-watering and superbly tender Corn Fed Chicken Breast served with Saffron Potatoes, Sweetcorn Puree, Asparagus, Chives, and a Chicken Veloute sauce (£ 17.95), and Duo Of Cumbrian Lamb 22.95, which was tender and perfectly cooked, served with Mediterranean style roasted vegetables, Parmentier potatoes and a thyme jus. Spicy Aubergine Cake (£15.95) is one of two vegetarian mains – creamy aubergine with a chilli kick served with sweet onion puree, fennel, vegetable gateau, and tempura battered asparagus and deep fried gnocchi adding a crunch.
The piece de resistance, with a definite wow factor, was the Tomahawk Steak (£26.95). It’s actually a large rib steak with the full rib bone left on and, for a meat lover, it’s a thing of great beauty. Big in size and even bigger in flavour, well-marbled and tender, this is steak and then some. Served with some of the fattest chips we’ve ever seen, it’s big enough to satisfy the hungriest caveman or woman and, possibly, a sabre toothed tiger, too.
Because of its size, a tomahawk steak needs to be properly rested for at least 10-15 minutes after cooking to allow the heat from the bone to redistribute across the meat to give a lovely succulent, juicy steak. After eating one of these beauties, you might need to rest for 10-15 minutes, too, before moving on to dessert.
Speaking of which, we sampled Strawberry Creme Brulee (£6.95) and an Assiette of Sweet Treats to Share (£12.95), a nice assortment of mini desserts including chocolate mousse, shortbread, elderflower jelly chocolate-covered strawberries and berries, to finish off the meal.
If you’re looking for somewhere which serves food served on a brick or a dustbin lid, in a place which resembles a warehouse, surrounded by football or movie memorabilia, 47 King Street West probably isn’t the place for you.
But if you’re looking for a family owned place which serves quality, beautifully presented food served on white plates with white tablecloths and is classy without being fussy, it’s well worth trying. There are no gimmicks here.
It’s not the cheapest place in town but it’s moved up a few gears since it opened, and with offers such as 3 courses for £25 including prosecco (some supplements apply), it’s definitely worth trying.
Contact & book
47 King Street West (would you believe), Manchester, M3 2PW
0161 839 1929