Simon Wood won BBC’s Masterchef contest in 2015 and he’s gone on to open his first restaurant, Wood Manchester, with Mike Jennings (formerly of Worsley’s Grenache) in the kitchen. Taking up residence in one of the new units in First Street, this modern European restaurant is the first to offer really upmarket food in the area – and the tag line, ‘unintimidating fine dining’ is apt. Think Raymond Blanc cooking at home for friends: expect fancy stuff that’s not too showy, with a refreshing focus on the classics. In fact, the menu barely puts a foot wrong. Options include pre-theatre, a la carte, lunch and 7-course tasting menus as well as a £20 for two-courses until the end of January offer (click here for details) – but the oft-changing five-course selection (£45 at lunch and early evening) is the one. Whipped butter and home made rolls pave the way for pink venison, foie gras and a perfect chocolate pudding (pictured). The tom kha soup, with wild mushrooms, and astringent galangal tastes like the real Bangkok deal, although Wood’s is a lot prettier. Wines are predictable; Fleurie, Pinot and Picpoul. My choice would be the Californian Viognier (McManus £39) or dry Portuguese Rose (Vinho Verde, Areal, Quinta da Pousada, £28). Cocktails, such as the Wood Old Fashioned with house-smoked bitters, are a must. A welcome new addition to Manchester’s fine dining scene, with all the hallmarks of a keeper.
Wood, Jack Rosenthal Street, First Street, Manchester, M15 4RA. Tel: 0161 236 5211, closed Sun & Mon, www.woodmanchester.com
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Published on: Thu 25 Jan 2018