Monday, 19 May 2014

Mr Cooper's House - Manchester (second visit)

I had family visiting a few weeks ago and after such a positive experience last time I didn't hesitate to book Mr Cooper's House - the perfect mix of interesting venue, great atmosphere, broad menu and imaginative cocktail list to wow them. It went down a storm.

I went heavy on the superlatives last time and did have slight concerns that I'd gone over the top with my praise but if anything the overall quality and experience was even higher on this second visit.

First major brownie point was that the menu had been updated since the last visit, this really shouldn't have been a surprise due to the Simon Rogan influence but it's still great to see use of seasonal ingredients and this gives me even more incentive to head back again. At first I was slightly disappointed to see that the lamb with curried lentils had been removed as O'd been so impressed with it last time but given a choice of 9 further dishes I soon got over that.
As a slight aside, after the lamb dish disappeared from the menu here Simon Rogan kindly shared it in a column in the Guardian, link included below. I find it pretty hilarious this is filed under 'quick' midweek recipes and I'm certainly planning to have a go but I'm thinking of setting a Sunday aside rather than trying to steam through it one night after work:

Onto the food - on this visit, I tried the following:

Started with fresh bread which came accompanied with wonderful creamy butter and salt flakes to add as much flavour as you prefer, a nice touch. It dawned on me that I hadn't been offered bread on the last visit so I'm not clear if this is a new addition to the meal or it was just overlooked last time.

My starter was anise crusted sweetbreads, saffron risotto and fried leeks - as luxurious as you'd imagine, the sweetbreads were melt in the mouth. Risotto is usually so stodgy but this was light enough to work well as a starter.
I also tried the mussel chowder with leeks and bone marrow croutons - the chowder was lovely and thick, the bone marrow croutons adding a wonderful fatty flavour.

For my main course I had the confit duck fritter, spiced red cabbage and roasted duck breast - the highlight for me, just thinking back to this now makes me want to head straight down there and order another one. The textures, flavours and presentation were all spot on - a completely flawless dish.
I also had a quick go on the grilled sole, ginger butternut, shrimps and bok choi - a very delicately cooked piece fish which was complimented very well by the accompanying ingredients and the bok choi which can often be over-powering but it tied everything together well here.

I couldn't resist ordering the spiced madeleines, lemon curd, apricot and orange for my dessert. The madelines were one of the highlights of the meal, fantastic fresh tasting and as you'd imagine from the mix of flavours - the entire course had deep fruit flavours which reminded me more of the type of dessert you'd expect in autumn time. The great mix of warming flavours made it very enjoyable.
The other dessert I sampled was the white chocolate cake with pineapple - a luscious piece of cake hidden away under the thick rich white chocolate sauce.

Another fantastic meal. The only slight issue was that we were charged for a glass of champagne that had been sent to another table but the maƮtre d' was exceptionally apologetic and did go on to take the time to give us a mini history lesson of the restaurant including the delivery of that incredible marble table in the bar.

Instead of moving on, we lingered in the bar and got stuck further into into the cocktail menu - the bartenders were really attentive and happy to go 'off menu' to meet any requests. Mr Cooper's House just impresses me more and more.

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