I had been waiting for this for a while. I randomly saw a tweet about a new restaurant with rooms opening about 10mins from where I live that would have ex-executive chef of L’Enclume Mark Birchall at the helm. I knew I would have to give it a try. I don’t even remember how long ago it was, sometime last year I think, they had a lot of building work to do first so I just kept an eye on it.
Well the wait was finally over. The restaurant opened its door a month or so ago. I booked within a few days but like all new restaurants I like to give it a few weeks to settle in before going. It could have been open years, service was really good, better than a couple of places I’ve been that have stars. Although there was one point the table next to me set fire to their menu (by accident, I hope) and there was a little confusion about what to do. I doubt sorting out a menu on fire was on the training list. It reminded me of when we went to L’Enclume and a drink (maybe a dish) was dropped and about 10 people came running out of the kitchen to sort it out.
The sommelier needs a special mention. Engaging, really knew his stuff, all good pairings. I’ve been disappointed with sommeliers at other restaurants. I don’t drink wine at home, the only time I ever drink wine is usually with a tasting menu and the first time was at Sat Bains where the sommelier at the time was amazing. Since then none have been close. The sommelier at Moor Hall could be as good, maybe just a little bit more detail about what flavours the wine brings out in the food and the food brings out in the wine and he would be perfect.
Well, the food, what can I say? Every dish was on a scale of good to great. Usually there is at least one dish I don’t rate or even actively dislike but everything was done really, really well. There is an obvious massive influence from L’Enclume from the bespoke stoneware plates and bowls to the style of dishes. One dish in particular I have had three versions of now, first in The French, then at L’Enclume and now here. The beef in charcoal. The first time in The French it was Ox in coal oil which at the time was wow. Raw ox that tasted like it had just come off a BBQ. The second time was venison at L’Enclume, the coal wasn’t as strong but the meat was more melt in the mouth and all the little pearls accompanying popped with flavour. The dish was still good at Moor Hall but the beef didn’t standout, the charcoal wasn’t noticeable and the extras overpowered it a bit. Being a bit nit picky here but that dish at the other two places stood out, here it wasn’t in the top five. If i hadn’t had a similar dish before I’d probably have said it was great.
Anyway, I went for the 8 courses. Something that I really like is when you get a bunch of other things besides those eight. It came to 14 in total, 15 if you count the bit of prosciutto with pre-drinks. Standouts for me were the Baked Carrots, I really like contrast of temperatures so sticking something frozen on is great. The Grilled Scallop with cauliflower may well have been a standout dish, the purée and grilled cauliflower we fantastic and the scallop was so meaty. The toffee apple like desert is another winner.
A trip to Moor Hall has also added another thing to the list of what I would get if I won the lottery … a cheese room!!!
I’ve been waiting for a star in Manchester for a while now but instead I think there is a contender that a place 5 minutes down the road from where I live will actually get 1 (or 2) first. I recommend you go see for yourself before everyone else finds out about it.