METEORIC rise is an overworked term, but it is applicable to a duo of Manchester city centre restaurants that have just achieved well-deserved AA rosettes in near record time. ToM’s heartiest congratulations to WOOD and Grafene. Though hearty is hardly appropriate for two kitchens producing some of the region’s most refined dishes, allied to deft service.
The highly sought after awards, from one to five rosettes, recognise culinary excellence. According to inspectors the two rosettes are awarded to the best local restaurants, where “greater precision is apparent in the cooking” and there is “obvious attention to the selection of quality ingredients.”
WOOD on First Street has only been around since September, ambitious personal project of Masterchef 2015 winner Simon Wood, with the help of experienced head chef Mike Jennings, who held two rosettes at Grenache in Walkden. We love the entire five star review offering.
Grafene off King Street has been around a little longer. Here meteoric applies to its new head chef, Ben Mounsey, who has made a terrific impact on its fine dining and daytime British tapas offering since joining in February. We gave it five stars, too.
Ben told us: “Being presented with the Two AA Rosettes so soon after joining Grafene is not something I take for granted. It’s a tribute to the whole team, who have worked tirelessly to ensure that my creative vision is executed perfectly in every dish we serve. It’s been a fantastic two months, and as we are already underway with testing our new summer dishes, more exciting food is to come.”
The only city centre restaurant to hold three AA Rosettes, awarded to “outstanding restaurants that achieve standards that demand national recognition well beyond their local area”, is Adam Reid at the French.
The rest of the local 2 AA rosette list is in truth a mixed bag. The pick are Hipsi, The White Hart at Lydgate and The Lowry Hotel.