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District Manchester
Address60 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LE
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District New Wave Thai Reviews
Restaurants Of Manchester (Thursday 3rd June 2021)
Key: 5 stars = World Class!   4 stars = FANTASTIC   3 stars = GOOD   2 stars = OK   1 star = Poor

District Chue Chan District Chue Chan
District Outside District Kitchen
Decor & Ambience World Class
Whenever you arrive at any brand new dining space, you’re always filled with a certain air of anticipation, I find.  That’s only heightened in District’s case because there’s not been much in the way of photos flying around on social media etc, and press material has also been quite thin on the ground too.  That adds further anticipation as you’re not sure what to expect, just like back in the old days of going to a new venue.  Once away from the Oldham Street pavement, you find a mash up of a Bangkok street food market with fires and burners etc, and a futuristic fluorescent looking scene from Blade Runner.  We liked it!
Not to everybody’s tastes perhaps, and definitely in the camp of slightly hipster above high end.  And I’m not sure how comfy it would be had we been there for a couple of hours rather than lunch.
District Chue Chan District Chue Chan
Liquid Menu 'Dream Gun' Cocktail
Value World Class
Despite the unassuming fascia and playful branding, the entry level high-end intention here is clear, based purely on the price points.  When a restaurant uses Tock, the pre pay booking service, you know that they are aiming high in the quality stakes.

£20 for a set lunch menu of this standard is decent.  Add about the same again for a pudding, drinks, water and service, and lunch for 2 came in at £85.  No complaints from us.
Expensive for lunch, mid-week, on Oldham Steet?  Probably for many people.  That magic psychological £15 lunch price point is hard to hit in nice places though, and is this the kind of venue which office workers/suits will go to when people actually go back to the city centre full time?  Let’s see.
District Chue Chan District Chue Chan
'Chue Chan' Lunch Menu Overhead Food Shot
Food & Drink World Class
New Wave Thai. That’s their stated ethos. I don’t know what that means in the slightest, which can only be a positive. The video which adorns District’s website home page shows fire, BBQ, skewers, meat, blowtorches. My inner caveman was delighted.

We visited at lunch because a lunch visit was all that we could shoehorn in amidst this week’s binge eating schedule, so the express £20 ‘Chue Chan’ lunch menu was our only option sadly, since thats all they do at lunch service.

Hogget Massaman sounds delicious. It was. A perfectly balanced ‘curry’ sauce with real depth, and a clear investment of time to prepare. Hogget is a hugely underused protein, and this slow cooked/shredded variety melded well with the Massaman sauce. Peanuts on the side gave some depth and crunch, and some BBQ potato brought a bit of smoke and char to the flavour party. The side bowl of rice was as you’d expect.

Chicken Wing Part 2 was a simple and satisfying affair. Crispy skin was nailed; a must have on any wing. Then the caramel fish sauce, reminiscent of Ketsap Manis with its sweet stickiness, bonded with the fatty wing. The ideal balance of sweet and savoury. I could have polished off a dozen of these.

Charred Gem Lettuce was our favourite dish, despite it being a side/accompaniment. Perfectly cooked, charred to perfection on that open fire, and seasoned well with those soy and garlic notes. A humble, usually quite bland ingredient, elevated beyond its natural form.
District Chue Chan District Chue Chan
Chicken Wing Part II Charred Gem Lettuce
We opted for the pudding of ‘It Was Only a Dream’. Now unless you’re a 3 star chef from Modena, naming dishes rather than just saying what they are is usually just pretentious and cringy. We will let District off in this case though. A simple sweet coconut mouse, a dab of acid from the mango puree, some puffed rice for crunch and what tasted like charred rice powder, which lifted the whole plate! Simple and a nice way to clean the taste buds.

Drinks wise, the menu is small, but everything we drank had an air of quality about it. Our ‘Radical Heights’ cocktail was astounding. Aromas of coriander, followed by lime and pandan on the palate. Super fresh, super clean. A bespoke District beer made by Salford’s Shindigger, aptly names Thai-PA, was also a winner. And lastly, the wine options were overseen and rolled out to the staff by the natty wine Queen; Jennie Frost of Grape to Grain in Prestwich/Ramsbottom, so you can be sure of quality. That’s pretty much a summary of the drinks offering really; small but quality.
The pickled ginger on the Massaman felt a bit out of place, and the chicken skin on the lettuce was a bit soft, rather than being super crunchy as you’d hope.

And in an uber drink-led city as per Mcr, perhaps the drinks list needs a bit more padding out with more options, to encourage people to spend?
District Chue Chan District Chue Chan
Local Hogget Massaman 'It Was Only A Dream'
Service World Class
Friendly, upbeat, informal, and fitted the venue and vibe ideally.  Water was topped up, along with a few little upper level touches that go beyond the norm.  No real moans at all.
A tad uncertain at times when describing the dishes, and our drinks took a while to land, but it’s a new venue, finding staff has been super difficult, and fluency takes time.
District Chue Chan District Chue Chan
Thai-PA Beer and Radical Heights Cocktail Dining Room/Kitchen Bench
Overall World Class
District has appeared with little fanfare, no real press push, and yet has clear intentions of pitching itself amongst the city centre’s big hitters when it comes to what’s on the plate. Even with our basic lunch menu, which is just a sample of their full arsenal, the signs of a truly promising experience were there to see. Cooking is precise, educated, balanced and above all, something different to the city which is what we need amidst a relentless and frankly boring barrage of dirty burgers, tacos and pizzas.

District has individuality, it has a feeling of purpose, and is one to keep a very close eye on as it matures and starts to flex its culinary muscles in the short term
Not for all tastes and not what most people would think of as being Thai at all. Not a bad thing in our books, but it will be interesting to see if they gather a following on something so niche, especially for the higher price pointed menus.

Speaking of which, maybe it’s OTT for lunch hence the £20 menu is on, but I really wanted one of the complete menus for lunch. Not everybody has to squeeze lunch into 50 minutes, and since you book and pay deposit ahead of arrival on Tock, maybe let people order in ahead so that the prep can be done?

District New Wave Thai Reviews
New Wave Thai restaurant with a emphasis on barbecue and wood fired cooking, offering a fresh approach to Thai cuisine in the form of set menus. Opened May 2021~ Restaurants Of Manchester (June 2021)


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