FIRST things first. It’s pronounced Mah Moo See Um. It’s a variation on Mancunium, the Roman fort in Castlefield from which, mist-shrouded legend has it, Manchester sprung. Etymology nerds note it means breast-shaped hill.
Mamucium is definitely an odd name for this restaurant in the newly opened Hotel Indigo, so close to Victoria Station you can hear the tannoy apologies along the lines of “The 18.40 Transpennine Express Service to Manchester Airport has been delayed by approximately 40 minutes…"
The Indigo itself is a bit retro, a cylindrical tower grafted on to the Grade II listed City Buildings, for so many years forgotten and forlorn. The dining room benefits from that in the round base with its sweep of windows, great for people watching as folk scurry past heading for the Arena or that beleaguered rail service.
Bright blue leather banquettes are handsome, if a touch hotel corporate; the ceiling pipes and vents wrapped in some kind of foil a glam post-industrial tease. It’s the silestone and brass bar area that gives the place presence.
The intention is not to cater just for the hotel guests. That way sadness lies. Even The Lowry’s River Restaurant, exec chef Andrew Green’s last posting, has rarely felt like a destination dining room in recent times, though ToM was always happy to trek over to sample his celebrated take on Beef Wellington.
That dish has accompanied him to Mamucium along with a raft of Modern British classics, defined once again by the immaculate sourcing and deft technique, which earned The Lowry two AA rosettes. So expect Yew Tree Farm meat, Goosnargh chicken (with Blacksticks Blue dauphinoise potatoes), cannon of Herdwick lamb in the hotpot and Sandham's Lancashire cheese in Mr Green's pie, while Manchester Smokehouse, source of the salmon for a superb £8.50 starter, partnered with cucumber, beetroot, seaweed and rye crisp.
Not everything on the menu is avoiding air miles. My half a lobster (£19.95) was Canadian, but flown in alive, our server told us. Its came with a fricassee of samphire potato and baby onions.
First impressions are of a chef who has hit the ground running. This is too good to leave to Hotel Indigo guests. Don't be put off by the name!
Mamucium, 6 Todd St, Manchester M3 1WU. 0161 359 7499. Open daily for lunch and dinner from 11.30am to 10.30pm Monday to Thursday, and 12pm to 10.30pm on Friday and Saturday.