The River Restaurant brings immense flavours from around the world to Manchester

Dominic Grundy and The River Restaurant staff will take you on a fine dining journey this Christmas

The Lowry Hotel has been a benchmark for quality overnight experiences in Manchester, for a long time now, since it opened in 2001.

But did you know, they also do amazing food, and have a two AA Rosette restaurant?

The River Restaurant has seen a range of great chefs take the helm, from Marco Pierre White to the current head chef, Manchester’s Dominic Grundy who had created an innovative a la carte menu with something for everyone to enjoy.

He has previously worked at Panoramic 34 and the Doubletree in Liverpool, ethical restaurant Open Kitchen in Manchester, The Ramsbeck in the lakes and the Vincent in Southport.

He’s also worked under an impressive list of chefs too, including: Paul Heathcote at the Longridge, Michel Roux Le Gavroche and Paul Kitching at Juniper.

Dominic was actually due to emigrate to Australia before Covid hit, where he had previously spent time in Perth working at various restaurants picking up skills and flavours from around the world.

However he decided to stay, and has took up residence at The River Restaurant.

Discussing his influences in the kitchen, apart from Australia, he also mentions a trip to Japan, which you can see reflected in some of the flavours of the menu such as bonito and yuzu.

His travels are a clear influence in his work at The Lowry Hotel.

Speaking to I LOVE MCR, Dominic said:

“It’s a very seasonal venue. Duck, beetroot, artichokes are all bang in season at the moment.

“Fresh scallops are in too. The scallop tartare dish is taken from a little bit of inspiration from when I travelled around Japan.

“My sous chef came up with the idea to create the scallop tartare and we worked together, to create a really lovely dish.

“Salmon en croute – a tip of hat to traditional British salmon. You don’t see it on the menu often anymore.

“Wellingtons are currently in fashion, people are calling out for them. So we’ve put together a salmon wellington.

“It’s a bit of inspiration – British local produce and touches of where I’ve travelled, Australia and Japan.

The restaurant is a beautiful open space, with a rich toned colour pallet, currently decked out with Christmas decorations to celebrate the season.

Tables are split by Mondrain inspired dividers, hanging greenery punctuating textured glass screens that deflect the high ceiling lamps which put out a warm light.

The atmosphere is definitely sociable, with long velvet seating joining the tables together and stylish chairs the otherside.

Clientele is a mixture of hotel guests, and people looking for a culinary treat in the city.

Walls are decked out with artworks, both modern and classical, with the ever present Manchester Bee featuring on the wall.

To eat, we picked from the A la carte menu, which offered a wide range of dishes to suit any tastes.

To open things up, I had a the Heritage Beetroot salad (£8.50) which had divine whipped goat cheese, one of the taste highlights for me, accompanied by walnut, watercress and orange.

It was a great mix of flavours, delicious beetroot and the orange added a nice twist to the dish.

This was accompanied by a light Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc 2020 – a wine from Marlborough, New Zealand that has received plaudits worldwide, and paired very well with the whipped cheese.

Next up was hand dived scallop tartare (£11) with the delicious combination of kombu, dashi, yuzu and furikake creating a really interesting dish and something a bit different, with fantastic flavours that you may not have experienced before. Well worth a try if you’re looking to push the boat out a bit.

On to the mains.

Following the starters, I enjoyed the salmon en croute (£27) with buerre blanc sauce, baby leek, parsley and shallot. Another absolute stand out for me, the salmon was cooked to perfection. The flavours were vivid and complemented each other perfectly.  A rare treat and highly recommended.

Another highlight of the menu was the seared duck breast (£28) with beetroot, artichoke hazelnut and suet pudding. The suet pudding consisted of pulled duck leg with pancetta, and was absolutely outstanding.

This was paired with a Luis Felipe Edwards Gran Reserva Merlot 2020/21 from Colchagua Valley in Chile.

The presentation of all the dishes was very beautiful and tidy, but the settings of the puddings are some of the real show stoppers among a crowded field.

To round things up nicely, I had two puddings – The banana rum parfait (£9) with caramelised banana bread, pistachio and yoghurt ice cream.

This was followed up by the Morello cherry mousse with amarena Cherry Brownie and dark chocolate.

The view across the Irwell with the Manchester Skyline twinkling away in the background caps off a beautiful experience all round.

All in all, a beautiful meal in trendy modern settings.

You can see their full menu by clicking here.

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