March 7th, 2016

What Happens When You Take A Two-Week Old Baby For Lunch At Manchester House?

By Simon Binns, Manchester EveningNews

Taking a new-born for lunch at one of Manchester's best fine dining restaurants? Actually, it's not quite as mad as it sounds...

What Happens When You Take A Two-Week Old Baby For Lunch At Manchester House?
Braised beef cheek, fermented carrots and razor clam at Manchester House

Hang on. You took a two week old baby to Manchester House? For lunch?

We did.

What on earth for? Have you lost your mind?

Well, we'd just had her registered around the corner in Albert Square and thought a posh lunch and a glass of fizz would be a nice way to celebrate.

Nice for you maybe. Probably not the staff. And what about all those poor diners who had to listen to your baby cry through their very expensive lunch?

Actually, you couldn't be more wrong. Manchester House might just be one of the most unlikely child-friendly lunch options in the city. The staff couldn't do enough, everyone made a big fuss and other diners seemed quite happy. It probably helps If your child sleeps most of the way through the experience, like ours did. Or if you're sat in a booth a bit out of the way, like we were.

Ah. That's the key I suppose. Discretion. But Manchester House? It's not cheap is it?

Cheaper than you might think for lunch as it goes. Three courses for just short of £28 per head is pretty good value I'd say. A bread course and a fancy box of macaroons tacked on at either end pad it out to five very reasonably-priced courses for some of the best food in the city - star or no star.

Isn't it wasted on kids a bit?

Well, Rosie isn't that keen on anything that isn't milk at the moment, but I'm all for kids understanding more about food and restaurants as they grow up. And they're a useful lesson in how to behave in public.

It's another one of those food and drink culture things that other European countries seem to have figured out better than us.

What Happens When You Take A Two-Week Old Baby For Lunch At Manchester House?

Fair enough. So what do I get for my £28?

Ok, so your bread course is essentially the best bread you've eaten recently. Thyme scented brioche comes with roasted chicken butter and a rich artichoke consommé. All bread is now rubbish by comparison.

Then we went through the whole remaining six courses between the two of us - standouts were the braised beef cheek with fermented carrots and razor clam; and the roasted monkfish tail, baby squid, goats cheese and onion. Blackberry, apple and bay just pipped chocolate, pineapple and liquorice in the battle of the posh puds.

Did you see Aiden Byrne? Does he like babies?

He's always in the kitchen, so yes. And he looked a bit busy to be fair.

Listen, you don't need me to tell you that Manchester House is good, even if the Michelin inspectors aren't totally convinced. This lunch was a solid 9 and an eye-opener on the attitudes of higher end dining to children. Some of the mid-market could well take note.

Everyone seemed relaxed about it all. Panic and anxiety breed fear, which normally leads to tears - especially when kids and restaurants are involved.

So you'd definitely take your baby to Manchester House again then?

Are you mad? Lightning rarely strikes twice and while I might be brave, I also know to quit while I'm ahead. But as a one-off for the braver parents among us, Manchester House is suddenly - pleasingly - back on the menu.

What Happens When You Take A Two-Week Old Baby For Lunch At Manchester House?

 

 

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When you approach Tower 12 in Spinningfields Manchester, it looks like a very normal city tower, don’t be fooled. Inside lies a very special experience for both food lovers and lovers of a life with a view. Two stunning independently different environments. The Lounge on level 12 and the Restaurant by Aiden Byrne on level 2.

www.manchesterhouse.uk.com