IT’S always sad to see an independent restaurant close and stylish Squid Ink on Great Ancoats was certainly that. Just two years in existence, it will cook its final service on Saturday June 23. The good news is that Ancoats-raised chef/patron Anthony Barnes he is transferring just a couple of streets back to work for exciting new restaurant Mana as Director of Operations.
Exciting and new seem to go hand in hand in Ancoats these days as we log its latest food and ventures, but Mana does look special – the project of ex-Noma Copenhagen chef Simon Martin (pictured above with Anthony, left).
In an early Mana Tweet 27-year-old Simon promised “two state of the art kitchens, a science facility, a research and development facility, indoor garden and aquarium and a place for chefs to have a pre-prep nap!” and succeeding social media despatches about preparatory pop-ups in Chester or selecting crockery from Michelin-centric potters 1265 Degrees North have further whetted the appetite for the opening, scheduled for late summer.
Mana will be tasting menus only with prices going north of £100. In contrast we remember what a quality bargain Squid Ink was at its inception, its minimalist white look matched by just self-taught Anthony cooking and one server. Yet what was obvious from the food (squid ink was never used!) was his ambitions.
Such a shame, in straitened times, these couldn’t be realised in his own place, but we wish him well at Mana (in Hindi it loosely means the elemental power of the soul). Anthony says in a Facebook statement: "A restaurant and role I'm ridiculously excited about."