In case you missed it, MOTLEY, the hotel restaurant and bar opened on the corner of Deansgate and John Dalton Street around this time last year.
It’s an eccentric social space on the ground floor of YOTEL Manchester designed for hotel guests and locals to eat, drink, catch up with a bit of work or hang out. Despite its hotchpotch of neon signage, graffiti mannequins and bright mismatching upholstery, it’s really quite a calm and relaxing space.
It’s also dog friendly, so we thought we’d bring our pup who seemed to pick up on the chilled-out vibe and slept under the table after a drink from his own water bowl. Staff are friendly and welcoming, on hand when they’re needed and disappear when they’re not. That may sound obvious, but it’s actually trickier than you think to get right.
Now MOTLEY has had a year to settle in they’ve revamped their menu which features a people pleasing collection of small and large plates. They’ve clearly sat down and thought about exactly who their customers are and what they might want. They’ve not tried to be too fancy or clever – and that’s to their credit. Food is well presented, portions are good, prices fair and dishes accommodate the whole range from simple to more adventurous tastes.
Look, we’ve all been there. You’re on a long weekend city break with your family or a group of friends, you’ve just got to your hotel and you want food and drink. If you’re new to the city you might have lots of plans, but usually you want to start with something simple and just eat at the hotel restaurant. If that’s the case MOTLEY won’t disappoint. Same if you’re in town looking for somewhere to keep a group of family or friends with a range of tastes and appetites happy. MOTLEY is not going to let you down.
We tried a couple of small sharing plates from MOTLEY’s new menu. They’ve cherry-picked influences from all over the world, but that’s fair play if you’re part of a hotel chain with international guests. However, the ‘eco-conscious’ venue promises that dishes are based around low-mileage, local, seasonal food. You can travel the world without leaving the dining room with Mezcal seabass ceviche with blood orange and daikon, beef shin croquettes or even a jerk jackfruit taco.
A plump British Burrata (£9.25) sat amongst a medley of colourful heritage tomatoes and a soft herb dressing. A beautiful spring/summer dish that manages to be delicate and indulgent at the same time. Bit cold though – tomatoes taste infinitely better if you don’t keep them in the fridge.
A generous portion of Korean fried chicken (£7.95) was on the opposite scale - packed with flavour from gochujang (the trendy fermented chilli condiment currently having a moment) on a punchy salad of kimchi, fresh spring onions and coriander. It’s not spicy hot but very ‘tasty’ so have an extra drink on hand if you order this.
MOTLEY’s updated large plate selection includes a pork ribeye with hassleback potatoes, roast chicken or sirloin steak, as well as some well thought out vegetarian dishes including a pulled BBQ mushroom burger or the seasonal spring garden pappardelle.
I was defeated by the lamb kofta kebab (£12.95) on house made flatbread with mixed leaves, pomegranate, tzatziki and pickled cabbage. Although I’m no stranger to kebab-wrangling, I wasn’t sure how best to tackle it. Tucking in with a knife and fork seemed overly prim so I rolled it up and tried eating it like a taco, but the flatbread began to crack and flake away. Maybe it should come with instructions.
No instructions needed for the classic MOTLEY Cheeseburger (£13.95 - they also offer a Southern fried chicken burger) 6oz of ground British beef with burger sauce, cheese, onions, gherkins and fries. My son said he’d “never felt so full” – seriously, if you’ve ever seen how much teenage boys are capable of packing away, that’s quite some feat.
In the end we were too stuffed to try MOTLEY’s desserts – even though we’d had our eye on the incredible-sounding Ferrero Rocher éclair with hazelnut chocolate cremeux (£7.75). Looks like I’m going to have to come back another time with my laptop, park myself on a flowery sofa (or on the outdoor terrace) and order one with a coffee.
To learn more or to book a stay visit yotel.com/Manchester, 2 John Dalton Street M3 2NW