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Kala Manchester
Address55 King Street, Manchester, M2 4LQ
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Kala Reviews
Restaurants Of Manchester (Saturday 19th June 2021)
Key: 5 stars = World Class!   4 stars = FANTASTIC   3 stars = GOOD   2 stars = OK   1 star = Poor

Kala - Review June 2021 Kala - Review June 2021
Kala Outside Kala Menu
Decor & Ambience World Class
A striking corner unit with impressive glass frontage has huge presence on the upper end of King St.  I remember it being a posh clothes shop back in the day.  Once inside it's a split level affair with a bar doubling up as the kitchen's pastry section overseeing King St, and then an upstairs mezzanine where the proper dining room lays.  Handsome and fits the purpose.
A bit non-descript and generic to be fair.  Once you get beyond the entrance located bar/pastry section, it's not as homely and cosy as the Elite Bistros neighbourhood venues.
Kala - Review June 2021 Kala - Review June 2021
Kala Main Kitchen Rosemary & Thyme Focaccia
Value World Class
£100 for a 3 course lunch (£40), a 2 course lunch (£35), and 4 small glasses of wine.  There's cheaper options via the set lunch menu (£23 for 3 courses), but we fancied the options on the full carte so splurged a touch.  Wine mark-ups are acceptable at just under 3x RRP across the wine list, and no automatically applied service charge is in play.  This is what the mid-range on King St costs.  Some complementary bread on arrival is always a nice touch; one that's dying out far too commonly in mid rangers these days.
Would £35 for the Chicken Liver Pate and Hispi Cabbage main have been expensive had we ordered those and didn’t understand GP margins?  Yeah, probably.  Pick wisely.
Kala - Review June 2021 Kala - Review June 2021
Squid stuffed with Aubergine Glazed Belly Bacon
Food & Drink World Class
You always know what you're going to get at any Elite Bistros venue, and we don’t mean that it's been crowdfunded to the hilt. Even a visit to the loo was turned into a crowdfund plugging opportunity via an advert on the wall. However, what you can always expect is good, solid, simple, satisfying cooking. That was no exception here, on balance.

Belly Bacon starter was thin slices of rendered belly, served with hazelnuts for crunch, balanced with some sweetness and acid from diced apple, and another pop of cleanness via kohlrabi chunks. Simple and fresh.

Squid came in blackened crumbed rings, and also squid torso stuffed with various Med inspired flavours, plated on some red pepper sauce. Visually, a super-striking plate of food.

The Beef Featherblade is an Elite Bistros icon, and was an apt way to ramp things up on the main courses. We've eaten it countless times and it's always super satisfying, even when the season outside isn't at all in keeping, as per on this occasion. A rich, deep, glazed chunk of slow braised beef, which transforms into mere strands with minimal defiance, paired up with some textbook chunky truffle and Parmesan chips. Saucing comes via a comforting, glossy reduction of the braising liquor. It's probably on the city's top 10 must eat dishes to be honest. .
Kala - Review June 2021 Kala - Review June 2021
Braised Featherblade of Beef Hake Fillet
Hake Fillet with courgette salad, smoked apple and dill dressing, felt more seasonally apt.  The taramasalata was superb, and a reminder than the product existed long before the fancier Chefs recently started calling it fish roe dip.  Fresh light and a delight to eat.

We shared a single pudding since we popped in for a light lunch, intending to order 1 course, but clearly didn’t.  Mini Clotted Cream Doughnuts were a light and fresh way to end.  Some lovely poached pineapple, a textbook vanilla ice cream, and a small mound of filled mini doughnuts.  Light, airy, with just the nice amount of texture on the outside.

However; the Belly Bacon starter looked like it'd been cooked on a plancha which badly needed a good scrape as much as i'm sure it didn't, and was generally a bit clunky and thrown together in appearance.  The squid starter lacked general oomph, was short on seasoning and swimming in sauce, which was cold and hence made everything else cold too.  And the hake badly needed a good squeeze of lemon, just to give it some zing and more acid-boost to tie everything in.

And we couldn't put our finger on it, and still cant the day after.  But somehow the Elite Bistro food offering just feels more in keeping at their 'burb venues such as Hispi and Pinion.  I have my name on the wall in the latter premise, and it's in my birth town.  For me, the bistro feeling food just works better there, somehow.

Kala - Review June 2021 Kala - Review June 2021
Mini Clotted Cream Custard Ddoughnuts Kala Crowd Funding
Service World Class
Friendly, welcoming, warm.  Just what you want really in the casual dining realm.  No real delays during the ordering and serving stages, everybody was lovely and we felt suitably looked after.
A bit of a wait to get an opportunity to pay, and a few apparent new starter nerves from one server.  We still tipped 15% though, because you should do at the moment.  We will repeat that sentiment in every review for at least 6 more months, so you're pre warned.
Kala - Review June 2021 Kala - Review June 2021
Kala Bar Area Seating Kala Entrance
Overall World Class
So, everything that you expect really.  Food made with care, generally, using nice produce to create tasty, hearty, no nonsense food which people just like to eat, with just the correct level of posh for the right amount of money.  And that's what it's all about really.  You don’t get to raise almost a million quid in crowdfunding without doing something right, and the proof is usually in the pudding.  Gary Usher's empire has a solid little following for good reason.  End of story.  Kala is no different.
Disappointing starters felt lacking in love, and we prefer how the suburb located venues tie into the food, somehow.
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Kala Reviews
City Centre Bistro from Gary usher and the team behind Hispi, Sticky Walnut, Burnt Truffle, Wreckfish and Pinion ~ Restaurants Of Manchester (Apr 2020)

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