Two city centre restaurants receive double AA Rosettes for culinary excellence


It’s proved a hit with the city’s foodies and now Wood Manchester, which launched on First Street last September, has officially been recognised for its quality food and fine dining experience.

The restaurant owned by MasterChef 2015 champion Simon Wood received two Rosettes for Culinary Excellence this week from the AA’s prestigious Rosette Award Scheme.

The award is highly sought after in the food industry, with restaurants receiving between one and five Rosettes based on just one visit from an AA inspector.

For the AA, the top and bottom line is the food. “The taste of a dish is what counts, and whether it successfully delivers to the diner the promise of the menu,” according to inspectors.

Two AA Rosettes are awarded to the best local restaurants, where “greater precision is apparent in the cooking” and there is “obvious attention to the selection of quality ingredients.”

Having only launched the restaurant in autumn 2017, Oldham-born Simon has already received rave reviews from both The Telegraph and The Guardian in less than six months of opening. We were impressed by the MasterChef winner’s masterful cooking when we visited recently, too.

”This Double Rosette Award from AA means a lot to me as it really is all about the quality of the food and the ingredients that go in to it, which is what we do best,” said Simon.

“To have that recognised by a title as prestigious as the AA Rosette Scheme is a huge achievement. We’ve accomplished so much already in less than a year of opening so it’s a great honour to have this award sitting proudly in the restaurant.”

Wood Restaurant Group is currently planning the launch of a second site in the new Hotel Indigo in Chester in 2019.

Also celebrating are the team at independently owned King Street restaurant Grafene, who were also awarded two AA Rosettes for the first time.

The restaurant welcomed head chef Ben Mounsey only two months ago. With the launch of his new lunchtime ‘British tapas’ and fine-dining dinner menus, Ben has already made a significant impact on the region’s restaurant scene, and also impressed us with his “superbly devised and executed menu.”

Ben’s menu is infused with surprises and uses only the finest local and British ingredients. Whilst complex in their preparation, dishes are served with his purposeful simplicity.

“Being presented with the two AA Rosettes so soon after joining Grafene is not something I take for granted,” said Ben.

“It’s a tribute to the whole team, who have worked tirelessly to ensure that my creative vision is executed perfectly in every dish we serve. It’s been a fantastic two months, and as we are already underway with testing our new summer dishes, more exciting food is to come.”

“Ben has been a breath of fresh air,” said Paul Roden, owner of Grafene.

“From the first moment I met him, I knew he would bring something extra special to Grafene. We are delighted with the award. It’s not a cliché to say that it’s a real testament to all the hard work that Ben and the team have put in.”

Other Manchester restaurants currently holding two AA Rosettes include Mr Cooper’s House & Garden, Hispi, Hotel Gotham, The Lowry Hotel and Brasserie Abode, and – a little further afield, but well worth the trip – The Dining Room at the White Hart Inn, Lydgate.

The only city centre restaurant to hold three AA Rosettes, awarded to “outstanding restaurants that achieve standards that demand national recognition well beyond their local area”, is Adam Reid at the French.


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