Vermilion was dazzling, bling and beautiful when it opened in 2007 – and it’s still just as impressive. Designed by Miguel Câncio Martins, the hand behind European style icons such as Paris’ original Buddha Bar and Lisbon’s new Heritage Avenida Liberdade Hotel, Manchester’s finest Asian Fusion restaurant has evolved several times over the years. It expanded in 2017 to include a 1500+ seater banqueting space; the changes earlier continued this year with the arrival of consultant chef Bobby Retnakumar Geetha.

Born in Kerala, India, Geetha is only South Indian contestant to make the final 10 in BBC’s Masterchef: The Professionals – and his CV is nothing short of banging; India’s prestigious Taj Hotel group, Noma Copenhagen, Heston Blumenthal, Raymond Blanc and British / UEA group, Asha’s to name but a few. His new menu unites the finest in regional ingredients and seafood, with his remarkable talent in the kitchen. Small plates include black ash samosa (£12.95); a trio of ash-hued, ball-shaped ‘pastries’, filled with Lancashire ‘Black Bomber’ cheese, edamame and sweetcorn with ginger and spices and seabass with Mrs Darlington’s English Mustard, cooked over open flame in banana leaf.

Lotus chaat (£11.50) is a crunch-ful with crisp lotus root, pink lady apple, kale and pomegranate, and crispy butter chicken tikka kofta; panko-coated croquettes with butter chicken, cheddar and turmeric-tempered mayonnaise (£10.95). There’s confit duck leg coconut khorma (£18.50), curried Lancashire hot-pot with slow-cooked kid goat and chickpeas (£19.95) and occasion-worthy pulled duck biryani (£18.50). Round things off with chai kulft served ‘Magnum’ style on a stick with rose-flavoured vermicelli style noodles (falooda) and a locally-soured honey crumble (£9.50), or a vegan chocolate fondant with peanut butter and lemon curd ice cream (£11.50).

Cocktails and mocktails are epic too. Son tried the white-hot Bollywood Star Martini (a twist on ye olde Porn Star Martini) with fresh passion fruit, seedlip spice, pineapple juice and LASHINGS of dry ice (£8.90). I kept things (relatively) simple with a long, Southern Comfort dominated Whisky Mist (£8.50).

Located next to Sport City in Ancoats, the venue is worth a visit alone. Framed by waterfalls, and a 300 capacity carpark, it caters equally to date night, special occasions, weddings and conferences. Being ‘off the beaten track’ so to speak, I’ve struggled over the years to remember to head out here – but the decor is just as jazzy and every moment feels like an occasion. With Geetha’s albeit not cheap menu to explore too, this is one I’m going to remember when it comes my birthday next year.

Hulme Hall Lane/Lord North Street, Sport City, Manchester, M40 8AD
, Tel: 0161 202 0055, Varies
Ruth Allan
Published on:
Tue 1 Dec 2020