Restaurant Review: Manchester House

Nat (Carl Sukonik)_preview

Spinningfields in Manchester is renowned for its impressive range of bars and restaurants and, as Camille Allcroft discovers, Manchester House is one of the most prestigious, with a reputation for contemporary fine dining in stylish surroundings

Former Head Chef Aiden Byrne recently moved on to head up D&D London’s forthcoming Manchester restaurant 20 Stories, leaving room for a new Head Chef to take pride of place in the strikingly modern open kitchen at Manchester House.

King crab - Kaffir lime - Coriander 2_preview

Step forward Nottingham-born Nathanial Tofan who embarked on his career as an apprentice chef aged 18, after developing a taste for the industry while working in his family’s restaurant. He gained experience in kitchens of all sizes and he worked for David Lem at Vienna in Nottingham before spending a year honing his skills in Paris, prior to moving to Manchester in 2011 to work on the launch of Pan Asian fine dining restaurant Australasia.

In 2013, he became a key member of Aiden Byrne’s team at Manchester House and after a brief sabbatical to travel, he returned as Senior Sous Chef before being appointed Head Chef in September 2017. Eager to showcase his playful and precise style of fine dining, Nathanial has spent months developing his own menus, the first of which was recently unveiled at a special tasting lunch.

The food

After slices of springy sourdough with hazelnut butter, two ‘snacks’ got the meal underway with aplomb. Firstly, the Millionaire’s sandwich – a whimsical delight of delicate sponge filled with foie gras mousse, pistachio and sweet sauternes jelly which would not have looked out of place in the window of a Parisian patisserie.

Raw beef - Coal oil – Egg yolk 3_preview

The sponge was counterbalanced perfectly by the second snack of beef tartare tacos with confit duck egg yolk and coal oil, which were a sensation of rich flavour and texture. A lesson in simplicity followed next with a set of clean flavours from Turbot cooked to perfection and complemented by white soy and verjus, which proved that not all dishes need an array of ingredients in order to dazzle.

Aged sirloin - Sweetbread – Onion 2_preview
We moved on to an elegant dessert of Sea Buckthorn tart with yoghurt and lemon, a zesty treat which was beautifully presented and which led us to a selection of handmade sour cherry fudge, green tea dark chocolate, pineapple macaron and white chocolate with rhubarb and cardamom which completed the meal with a flourish.

The Millionaire’s Sandwich_preview

The verdict

It is clear that Nathanial Tofan is relishing his role as Head Chef at Manchester House, expressing his passion for harmony of flavour with succinct dishes which reflect his poise and ambition. Judging from the artful creations we sampled, it is clear that he is set to steer Manchester House in a very exciting direction.

Make it happen
Cost: Lunch, 3 courses £29.50.
Where: Manchester House, 18-22 Bridge St Manchester  M3 3BZ
Bookings: Phone 0161 835 2557 or visit to make a booking

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