MANCHESTER RESTAURANTS - 63 Degrees Manchester  
Restaurants Of Manchester
63 Degrees Manchester
63 Degrees Manchester
3.5 stars
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"Don’t be tight like us!"
63 Degrees Manchester Review 63 Degrees Manchester Review
63 Degrees Manchester Review
Restaurants Of Manchester (Tuesday 5th December 2019)

Key: 5 stars = World Class!   4 stars = FANTASTIC   3 stars = GOOD   2 stars = OK   1 star = Poor

Decor & Ambience Very Good
Tucked away in a quiet corner of the Northern Quarter, the building looks great on approach, especially of an evening with slick uplighting giving eye catching illumination to the brickwork. 

Inside, it's a cozy affair with a true Parisian feel to it, with a small number of tables, a compact greeting area, and a semi exposed kitchen with the pass at the back. 

Décor downstairs where we sat was starting to look a little tired in spots.  A big crack on the wall to the right of the pass and some drips down the wall adjoining our table, would both be easily fixed to boost things no end.
63 Degrees Manchester Review
Salade De Homard, Vinaigrette Goma
Price Fantastic
We visited on a Tuesday so opted for the £28 for 5 course 'tasting' menu, which was solid value indeed for the quality on the plate, in a restaurant where a full sized main alone can easily cost as much.  Wine markups were also very decent, with many hovering around the 2.75x RRP level, and some better quality bottles coming in at only 1.5x markup (Boillot Pommard Premier Cru, 2013). 

We left feeling a little hungry, it has to be said, so the value felt lessened.  Some bread would be a cheap and yet very French way to bulk out those 5 tasting size portions. 
63 Degrees Manchester Review
Filet De Bar Aux Agrumes
Service Fantastic
Bags of French slickness and polish, with our main server and maître d, being charming throughout. 

Service became very, very slow after the first 3 courses, which in total took around 30 minutes from ordering to clearing down.  The final 2 courses however, the chicken and chocolate sphere, took almost hour in total. 
63 Degrees Manchester Review
Volaille 63degrés À La Trufferade
Food & Drink Fantastic
Ask anybody what their favourite food is, and most will predictably say Italian, Chinese, Indian, a few Spanish, etc.  I always find it strange though, that French food is seldom anybody's favourite food.  Unless you're in France, in which case it's everybody's favourite cuisine.  Sure, French food is also horribly represented in this country via the mainstream. 

However, pretty much everything in the game, even the language used, originates from just over the Channel.  No matter what you eat, you visit a café, brasserie, restaurant or buffet.  You order from a menu.  Your food is cooked by a Chef, who spends the day preparing their mise en place.  Your protein is possibly cooked sous vide, or in a sauté pan.  You look at the wine list, and might order a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir.  Almost everything in the food and drink game owes its roots to the French. 

We started with a Chestnut Veloute, which had a velvet-like texture, presented simply, and ate like a dream.  The simple things are usually the giveaway as to how accomplished a kitchen is, and this had us eager for more. 

Lobster Salad with Goma Dressing was next.  Translucent crustacean, some claw, some tail, cooked on point, presented simply, with a lovely sauce, for a Japanese influence, carrying sesame and ginger notes. Garnish was some quinoa, and the matched Vouvray Sec was a spot on pairing. 

Sea Bass with Citrus was a punchy, perfectly adicic yet sweet sauce, delivered well, topped with a textbook cooked slice of bass, crispy skin included.  Watching Chef Moreau personally cook this element himself at the stove was great to see. 

63 Degree Chicken with truffle paste was, perfectly cooked, you'd imagine to 63 degrees.  Sauce was yet again, spot on.  A simple plate with just the two elements. 

Chocolate Sphere with Pear came to the table, with the added theatre of being sauced table side.  The hot chocolate sauce dissolved the thin chocolate casing, revealing its contents.  A lovely touch. 

The tasting menu, wasn’t really a tasting menu.   This felt more like stripped back, carb free, mid-week taste of things, during a typically slow day in dining rooms when getting people in to help break even is a financially successful service. 

The veloute would have benefited from some more garnish, say an oil drizzle, and maybe some textural change from a few chopped chestnuts hidden at the bottom?  More variety in the samey leaf garnish, as used on all the savoury dishes, and the inclusion of a carb element to some of the dishes, would also boost courses to feel rounded and complete. The 63 degree chicken lacked truffle scent, and the chocolate sphere was very, very sweet.  For £28 though, the price of some of the a la carte mains, it's hard to be too critical. 

We generally enjoyed everything we ate, but felt the need to return and try the full sized version of the dishes.  A tasting menu should tick all the boxes in a Chef's culinary arsenal.  This experience just whet the appetite.  So, maybe that’s their other intention? 
63 Degrees Manchester Review
Sphère Au Chocolat Et À La Poire
Overall Fantastic
So, it’s easy to see why 63 Degrees has forged such a strong reputation in the city, and why the family who run it are so well established, running not only this venue, but also quality patisseries in and around the city.  Everything we ate, whilst having a feeling of being stripped back due to our own menu choice, was perfectly cooked, seasoned very well, and was made with good produce. 

It's clear to see what's on offer here, and the quality to which things are done, so we kicked ourselves for opting for the tasting menu, not a la carte. 

Dodge the tasting menu, don’t be tight like we were, and order from the a la carte. 
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63 Degrees Manchester Review
Restaurants Of Manchester (Wednesday 12th December 2018)
63 Degrees Manchester Review

Key: 5 stars = World Class!   4 stars = FANTASTIC   3 stars = GOOD   2 stars = OK   1 star = Poor

Decor & Ambience 4.5 stars
Enter the quaint Northern Quarter building opposite the historic Smithfield Market gates, and you're immediately thrust into the homely dining room of the Moreau family; one of only a handful of family-ran independent restaurants in Manchester. White table linen, flowers and paintings of the chef-owner's native Paris are illuminated by the bright light shining in from the large windows, whilst an equally inviting upstairs dining room adds additional seating at weekends, but is primarily used for private dining events.

During our midweek December lunchtime visit, our fellow diners consisted of a young couple, celebrating an anniversary meal; a lone diner, who came armed with his Michelin 2019 Guide - in which 63 Degrees wins a "good cooking" Michelin Plate award; and two old lawyers, meeting up to discuss business and the latest Brexit shennanigans (they seemed rather angry that many "nice Poles and Slovakians, working in Manchester's Caffè Neros and Starbucks" - let alone the French, Spanish and Italians, cooking their food in 63 Degree's open kitchen - suffered from "taxation without representation" during the Referendum; which seemed rather apt, coming the day before the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst was unveiled in St. Peter's Square). It is a venue that suited all three tables, however I'd recommend requesting more privacy, when booking, if you don't want nosey parkers like me earwigging your sensitive or political conversations.
The layout might be too formal for some, which can affect the atmosphere, particularly when the restaurant is quiet. As with many similar restaurants, being located in an old historic building, with large windows on two sides, some tables can suffer from the cold draught in the winter. There's no waiting area or cloakroom, so it's not advisable to arrive early, and the upstairs toilets are not accessible for those in wheelchairs, or anybody who suffers with the classic symptoms of having sampled too much of the fine French wines on offer; such as dizziness, balance issues, and gout.
63 Degrees Manchester Review
Saint Jacques poêlées (£15.50)
Price 2 stars
Whilst the a la carte is on the pricey side, it's important to remember that you are paying for top quality ingredients, crafted lovingly by a small, family ran kitchen, who don't benefit from the returns to scale of the big boys, who more than often use inferior products with much less care. In fact, the profit margins on some of the dishes - such as the incredible Pan Fried Scallops at £15.50 - are so tight, they're probably only on the menu as Chef Eric Moreau suffers from that perfectionist attitude that is driven by wanting to educate the locals and share his vision of French Mancunian fine dining.

That said, the Lunch Menu is ridiculously good value (two courses for £16) - especially given there is no change to the dish's size or quality. The incredibly popular £28 Tuesday night 5 Course Tasting Menu, which has been ever-present since the restaurant opened in 2011, continues to fill the restaurant and is a great introduction to 63 Degrees. [Book ahead]

If you know your quality French wines, you will find some celebrated bins here, priced with a notably low mark-up - the highly recommended Benjamin de Sansonnet St. Emilion Grand Cru Bordeaux, at £44 (or £7.60 a glass), for example, would set you back £22 in the shops, whilst there are 13 wines available by the glass, including some impressive vintages.
Away from their inviting set menu offers, 63 Degrees is certainly more expensive than many restaurants in the Northern Quarter, with the cheapest a la carte starter (Beetroot Veloute) costing £8.50, and main courses starting at £14.80 (Beetroot Risotto), with small side dishes, £4.50. Whilst it won't break the bank, away from their great deals, it is not a place for those on a budget.

The extensive French wine list - which seasoned oenophiles will point out, represents the higher end vineyards at reasonable prices - is notably short of cheaper options. Of the 56 bins on offer, only four whites, one red and two rosés are less than £30; the cheapest being the delightful Côtes de Gascogne Domaine Horgelus Merlot/Tannat, or Colombard/Sauvignon, both priced at £26 (or £4.20 a glass).
63 Degrees Manchester Review
Fraîcheur de Homard (£16.80)
Service 4.5 stars
Being a family operation, chef Eric Moreau, and his wife, Florence, play front of house, delivering all the French charm without the stereotypical surly, couldn't care less attitude. Despite the relatively formal setting, service is laid back whilst the waiters are attentive and informative; detailing each of the dishes, as they are served.
With no offer to take our coats, the clean aesthetics of the restaurant are slightly ruined by diners having to hang them on the back of their chairs, or lay them down on the seat next to them.

[NB, whilst we hear good things from others, as also refelected on our previous visits, because of our midweek lunchtime visit, it was harder for us to judge what the service is like on a busy evening].
63 Degrees Manchester Review
Filet de boeuf (£29)
Food & Drink 4 stars
Having previously worked in 2 and 3 Michelin starred restaurants in his native Paris, Eric Moreau's approach to cooking is certainly focused on being creative with classic French dishes made from top quality ingredients - most of which, are imported directly from France. As mentioned, his kitchen team is also imported from the Continent, with the chefs, likewise, coming from decent establishments. This was apparent during our visit, as the dishes have certainly improved since our last visit, over a year ago.

Of the dishes we sampled, all were unpretentious, unfussy and of a generous portion size. The aforementioned Saint Jacques poêlées (£15.50) were, without doubt, the best we have sampled in Manchester for many a year; incredibly succulent, large Scottish scallops, pan fried perfectly in a red wine sauce.

Equally as succulent and pentiful, was the Fraîcheur de Homard (£16.80); three delicious lobster spring rolls, which successfully combined influences of Asia with French know-how. Whilst these too were expensive for a starter dish, we would not complain at the price. For those on a tighter budget, there's plenty of other French specialities to choose from, including Escargots en persillade - snails - (£11.50), and the speciality of the house, oysters from Brittany, where Eric's family originally derive (three for £13.40 or six for £24) - for comparison, these are £2 more expensive than Randall & Aubin's best offering.

The main courses were also fantastic - the Filet de boeuf sauce Rossini (£29), served perfectly tender and topped with crispy Pommes Anna slices. If steak is your thing, then 63 Degrees should well be one of your go-to restaurants. Although, that said, it's almost sacrilege to visit here and not order the signature Volaille 63 degrés (£17), from which the restaurant takes its name. Cooked long and low at just 63°C, it is incredibly delicate and melts in the mouth, with cuts of chorizo and pumpkin - imported especially from France, "as it's more flavoursome than English pumpkin", naturally - adding to the special taste.

This being the Northern Quarter, you'll probably not be surprised to learn that burgers even make it onto the menu here. Albeit, pigeon, lobster or Foie Gras burgers. At £26 each, it's safe to say that the hipsters won't be queuing around the block in rain, snow and hail, like they did when Almost Famous opened next door in 2011.

As for desserts, it's a French restaurant, so you know that you are in good hands. More so, when you learn that Eric and Florence's son, Alex - who originally set the restaurant up in its original Church Street setting - is the owner of the incredible award-winning Didsbury (and soon-to-be-Deansgate) patisserie, Bisous Bisous. The Fondant au chocolat (£8.50), oozed gloriously gooey goodness, whilst the Sphère au chocolat (£8.50), was a perfectly rounded chocolate ball, served with caramelised banana. Fantastique!

The wine list takes you on a real Tour de France, without a suspect Manchester Velodrome jiffy bag in sight. Offering celebrated single estate organic wines, not found elsewhere in town, all the regions are represented; particularly Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Loire Valley, and Alsace, with the Domaine Sipp Mack Riesling 'Tradition' (£36) even making an appearance - a personal favourite of ours, having once held our Restaurants Of Manchester staff Christmas party at their Hunawihr vineyard. With a great selection of Ports, Cognacs, Armagnacs and Calvados to end the meal with, it's likely your conversation will switch to planning that next French holiday.

Surprisingly, there is very little choice for vegetarians and, even then, they better like beetroot - just one starter (Beetroot Veloute, £8.50), and one main course (Beetroot Risotto, £14.50).
63 Degrees Manchester Review
Volaille 63 degrés (£17)
Overall 4 stars
Manchester's best French import since King Erique rode into town, collar upturned.
In this day and age, supporting family ran, small, independent restaurants, who focus on creative dishes using top quality products, sadly isn't cheap.
63 Degrees Manchester Review 63 Degrees Manchester Review
Fondant au chocolat (£8.50) Incredible French wine list
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63 Degrees Manchester Reviews

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