Just in case you hadn’t noticed, First Street opened for business a couple of months ago. A two minute walk from the Deansgate-Castlefield tram stop, it’s Manchester’s self-proclaimed ‘vibrant new neighbourhood’ and already has a steady traffic of people. Some say First Street will be the new Spinningfields. Only time, money and the right bunch of venues will tell.
One of the first venues to open on First Street is Innside, a 208 room 4-star hotel. In keeping with its location, it’s the Spanish Melia Group’s first Innside hotel in the UK.
‘This is fine dining,
stylish but not stuffy.
Casual and unfussy.’
The hotel is utterly contemporary. The sort of place which would be as popular with the savvy business traveller as the tourist. It’s quite refreshing amid the abundance of industrail reclaimed interiors in the city over the last few years. There are conference facilities, a wellness suite, a well lit bar with local DJs playing chilled out Ibiza sunset strip tunes, and a restaurant, Street On First, which is why we’re here.
Like the rest of the hotel, the restaurant is stylish and functional. Decor is clinical, unfussy and airy with high ceilings. A blank canvas for the cosmopolitan dishes in store.
Exec chef Dave Spanner’s menu is an international, postmodern fusion of meat and fish dishes. It sails across the Mediterranean like a Spanish Armada. Flavours with just a hint of his previous post at Australasia, Spinningfields’ ever popular restaurant. He suits the venue down to the ground. (The menu design, however, is rather misleading. It’s big and bold and more suited to a casual bar snack menu, not the kind of food served here).
The ethos is ‘food for a social mood.’ The menu is illustrated with a daily mood. Today’s (Saturday) is ‘passion & desire.’ Monday’s is ‘fit & fresh,’ which is highly unlikely given the weekend I’m anticipating. Probably unnecessary, but quirky and charming nonetheless.
We shared a bottle of light and crisp Pinot Grigio Minini (£25) and started with some small grazing dishes typical of Spanish dining. The Salt Cod Croquettes and Sauce Vierge (£6) were very tasty and well presented. The Pork Wontons with Miso Dipping Sauce (£5.50) were parcels packed with flavour.
The Crispy Whitebait with Smoked Paprika Citrus Aioli (£5) were beautifully seasoned but lacked a crispy crunch and felt a bit limp. The Beef & Shiitake Mushroom Skewers (£5) were well cooked and tender, full of flavour.
For mains, my companion opted for Crispy Suckling Pork Belly with Thai Red Curry Sauce and Crispy Shallots (£21). The pork he declared succulent and juicy but the sauce was slightly underwhelming.
I went for Caramelised Lamb Shank with Crispy Polenta and Tomato Jam Gremolata (£25). The sweet lamb slid off the bone like a silk gown down a beautiful brunette’s back. Succulent and juicy, complemented by the soft tomato jam beneath the crispy polenta.
This is fine dining, stylish but not stuffy – unfussy and casual. Not cheap but worth it. Good enough to make it a destination for residents and non-residents alike.
The hotel/restaurant also boasts bar dining, entertainment, patio alfresco dining, a private room, weekend brunch and even a takeout.
Contact & book
Street on First, INNSIDE, 1 First St, Manchester M15 4RP
0161 200 2510