And the newly opened Bull and Bear in the Stock Exchange Hotel is a wonderful example. Celebrity chef Tom Kerridge’s first gastro pub in the region has been welcomed with open arms since launching in November 2019 – and rightly so.

Kerridge is a multiple Michelin star winner for his other venues which include the Hand and Flowers in Marlow (the first UK pub to win two stars)  – and he’s brought a bit of that magic to Manchester in the shape of British classics, reworked into smaller portions with a focus on flavour.

Plates are small-ish so you could easily go for three per person; I loved the lightly whipped duck liver parfait with plum chutney and brioche (£8.50), silken Crown Prince pumpkin soup with pumpkin seed pesto and cheese straw (£8.50), mini steak and blue cheese pie with roasted onion and ale gravy (£14.50) and towering yet bite-sized burger with smoked bacon and dill pickle (£12.50).

Crispy profiteroles with a sharp vanilla cream and dark chocolate sauce and a grown up banana custard (both £8.50) are perfect endings. The custard is pocked with hand-dried banana chips and honeycomb pieces; an adventure in a cup. Drink-wise, the Cucumber Gibson is excellent (Hendricks,  vermouth, essence of celery and salt, £12.50) while ‘no-groni’ (£9) is thrillingly bitter for an alcohol-free drink.

The only downside is too many TV screens in a space which is otherwise perfectly planned. There’s a proper cocktail bar, a chef’s table around the pass, lovely leather booths (a welcome hangover from the venue’s previous incarnation as upmarket Italian, Stock I believe) and a bustling vibe packed into this historic trading hall which only closed to financiers in 2000. This one’s a keeper.

Bull and Bear,
Stock Exchange Hotel, 4 Norfolk Street, Manchester M2 1DW
, Tel: 0161 470 3901, Varies
Ruth Allan
Published on:
Fri 29 Nov 2019