20 Stories, Manchester’s first venue from London-based restaurant group D&D, is headed up by the former Manchester House chef Aiden Byrne – and it’s a treat, not least because of the incredible views. Officially the city’s highest restaurant, the outdoor terrace and bar (which takes up at least 50% of the site) is protected from the elements by sky-scraping glass walls. Split in two by a large, fan-topped bar, success stories include roast pigeon with cherries and violet mustard (£13.50), pea and mint mousse with air-dried ham (£12, pictured), Yorkshire-sourced steak (varies) and freshly baked apple tart tatin (£15) to share. In particular, rare breed beef fillet steak is worth the £40 price tag for its butter-ish tenderness and grassy flavour, while the tart tatin is, well, perfect. The menu roves from adventurous (pigeon, deconstructed Manchester Tart £6.50) to bistro favourites (steak tartare £11, duck liver parfait £8) and comfort food (lamb hot pot pie £28 to share, pork cutlet with black pudding puree £25, cod cheek and chips £12.50) – but the grilled meats, typically sourced from Yorkshire and aged in-house, are the thing. There’s even a massive wing rib (basically, sirloin cooked on the bone), if you’re in the mood for sharing, at £80. And don’t scrimp on cocktails. Heady creations prepared with the kind of panache you’d expect from the Alchemists of this world – or any international bar at this kind of elevation – include liquorice-meets-Haribo Blackberry Smoke (Jamesons, lemon, hickory smoke, vanilla foam and dandelion and burdock sherbet, £12) while the wine list is well chosen and compact. Many bottles fall into the kind-of-affordable £40 bracket; a marriage of two Italian grapes in Australia called Sposa & Sposa (or ‘wife and wife’ £43) is one for Malbec lovers after a challenge. The only problem is getting a table. Generous reviews from the likes of Grace Dent in the Guardian – and the fact that 20 Stories feels like the kind of place James Bond might go to propose – have combined to create a smash hit. Rumour has it, the restaurant is booked up at weekends until October. For more restaurant reviews and food and drink news click here.
Now open, 20 Stories, 19th Floor, No. 1 Spinningfields 1 Hardman Square, Manchester M3 3EB. Tel 0161 204 3333 www.20stories.co.uk
Published on: Sat 19 May 2018