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Michelin Man(chester)

9th Oct 2019

It's a sore subject - and one that perennially has the national press calling Restaurants of Manchester, asking for a quote - however it is crazy to think that 44 years have passed since we last had a Michelin Star restaurant in Manchester city centre - The French held the prestigious accolade in 1974 and 1975 - making it the largest city in the (Michelin-covered) world not to have the tyre company's red plaque on its doors. 


Whilst the Normandie in Bury gained a star in 1995 and 1996, Juniper in Altrincham was the region's last accredited venue; holding the restaurant trade's most coveted award for eleven years, between 1998 and 2008. Sadly it closed down shortly after Head Chef Paul Kitching moved to Edinburgh - where he instantly gained Michelin recognition at his 21212 restaurant, retaining one star until, somewhat coincidentally, today.


In fact, the closest Mancunians could get to Michelin Star-rated food was by travelling 30 miles up the road, to Northcote Manor in Langho - which has held a Star since 1996 - or at the recently accredited White Swan in Fence.




The likes of Michael Caines (at the time with 2 Stars at Gidleigh Park but now with 1 at Lympstone Manor), Michael O'Hare (1 Star at The Man Behind The Curtain), Aiden Byrne (with the multi-million pound backing of Living Ventures), and Simon Rogan (2 Stars at L'Enclume, 1 Star at Fera, 1 Star at Rogan & Co. and 1 Star at Roganic) all failed to impress the inspectors, despite heavy involvement in their Manchester openings.


To the constant bewilderment of most foodies, Adam Reid and Simon Rogan were both controversially overlooked at The French, despite delivering consistently far better food than many of the places Michelin inspectors deemed worthy of their red plaque - Rogan even commenting that his food at The French was superior to that at Fera, his London offering, which got the nod.


The French Restaurant Manchester


Come 2019, and all eyes were on two new openings; Mana by chef patron Simon Martin, an alumnus of "the best restaurant in the world", Copenhagen's Noma - which, itself, controversially "only" has 2 Stars; and Enxaneta by 5 Michelin Star Executive Chef Paco Perez - with the talented Miquel Villacrosa moving from his Michelin-starred Berlin restaurant Cinco, to head up the tiny kitchen.


Tast Restaurant Manchester


Meanwhile, the more established Adam Reid, having just won the BBC's Great British Menu for a second time, became the highest accredited chef in the country not to have a Michelin Star, with The French scoring 4 AA Rosettes and climbing to No.11 in the Good Food Guide's "Best Restaurants in the UK" list.


Despite the fact that all three restaurants - and arguably others in the region - seem to be serving up far better dishes than many establishments that proudly boast the Michelin Man's smiley face on their door frame (including those close to home), only Mana was deemed worthy of a Michelin Star in the 2020 guide, with the result being announced at the typically long-winded and cringeworthy ceremony in London on 7th October 2019.



The incredible Ancoats restaurant from the Warrington-born, Shropshire-raised chef serves, without doubt, technically the best food in Manchester; created in an open plan £300,000 kitchen. The dishes showcase the best produce the British Isles has to offer, including  Reindeer Moss from the Isle of Skye, in a playfully creative menu that is heavily influenced by the 29 year old's Norwegian heritage and Scandinavian training.


Restaurant Mana Manchester


With tables hard to come by, even before today's announcement, you can expect demand (and prices?) to go through the roof now Manchester has its first - thoroughly deserved - Michelin Star in 44 years.


It's just a pity that Michelin don't send the same generous inspectors who seem to travel elsewhere in our region to review Manchester's other world class restaurants. 



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