MONDAY, October 2 is the date they hand out the Michelin stars – traditionally known as Manchester’s Day of Disappointment. Meanwhile, to raise spirits, the more encouraging Waitrose Good Food Guide 2018 is out now.
Moor Hall near Ormskirk (our 5 star review) is the most meteoric new entry in the North West as a whole, similar to Forest Side in The Lakes last year, both chefs alumni of Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume at Cartmel, which keeps its perfect 10 score (but is pipped for the No.1 spot by Nathan Outlaw in Cornwall).
1 First heartening accolade nearer home – Adam Reid at The French (above), post Rogan, keeps its 8 score, one ahead of Moor Hall and Forest Side and easily the best ranking in the city. The entry notes that “with wine as good as ever and an easy-going atmosphere in which to drink it, this is close to being the complete package.”
2 Umezushi, whose Terry Huang scooped Chef of the Year at the 2017 Manchester Food and Drink Awards and a long odds bet to earn a Michelin star (them again), finally gets recognised with a 4 score by the GFG, which has regularly featured fellow Japanese, Yuzu (3) in Chinatown. The sushi and sashimi specialists (main picture) based in railway arches near Victoria are praised for “a menu, from which it is near impossible to go wrong.”
3 There are in total a record 33 entries across Greater Manchester with a more than usually savvy hook on talented newcomers such as the city centre’s Refuge and The Rabbit In The Moon, Stockport’s Where The Light Gets In and Didsbury’s Hispi, One88 in Whitefield and Porta in Altrincham, all nominated too in this year’s Manchester Food and Drink Awards (vote now).
4 Out in the Basque enclave of Ramsbottom it’s good to see Baratxuri and its stablemate around the corner, Levanter in the guide, but surely they deserve more than a miserly 2. Surely next year when owner Joe Botham’s Baratxuri Comedor expansion is is taken into account it might well make a 4.
5 We are particularly delighted to see Whitefield makes its Guide debut. Toof few off the food writing fraternity have made it up the A56 beyond the motorway to trumpet the considerable merits of David Gale’s bright new restaurant/bar One88. Ditto with The Clarence in Bury, a former Manchester Food and Drink Food Pub of the Year. That should be in the Guide along with Andrew Nutter’s The Bird at Birtle, which only merits a mention in the entry for the flagship Nutters in Norden.
Finally these we have loved. The only exits from last year’s guide have been veteran entry The Waggon at Birtle, just down the road from the Nutter pub and Damson Heaton Moor (shut), while Volta (which spawned Refuge) has been downgraded from a scored entry to ‘local gem’ status.
Waitrose Good Food Guide 2018 (£17.99), published September 4, 2017.