Looking for restaurants in Manchester? Read our review of The Bull & Bear, and check out more places to eat and drink in Manchester here.
The Bull & Bear in a nutshell
Serving modern comfort classics, The Bull & Bear is the latest opening from chef Tom Kerridge in Manchester’s impressive Stock Exchange Hotel.
The Manchester kitchen is made up of Kerridge graduates from Marlow and London, as well as local chefs.
What’s the vibe?
Settle into one of the soft leather booths, under the domed roof of the city’s former Stock Exchange, for a high-energy night. There’s a window through to the kitchen, as well as screens showing vintage sports (that’ll be the Neville and Giggs influence – the footballing pros own the hotel along with hotelier Winston Zahra), alongside marble pillars, a sculpture from (Tom’s wife) Beth Cullen-Kerridge, and plush drapes. It’s a fancy business lunch or raucous night with mates kinda place.
What’s the food like at The Bull & Bear?
The menu’s divided into cold, hot, hot ‘a bit bigger’ and sides – but the idea essentially is sharing plates (yet another reason to visit here with a group). There are must-try Kerridge classics – chicken kiev with maple-glazed butternut squash, mushroom ‘risotto’ (made with finely diced ’shrooms instead of rice, inspired by Claude Bosi), and chips with gherkin ketchup. But, unique to the north and the highlight of our trip, is the rotisserie baked potato with crème fraîche, raw steak, cured egg yolk and a shed load of black pepper. Desserts are similarly rib-sticking – think beef suet sticky toffee pudding – but banana custard with dates, honeycomb and pistachios is light, retro relief.
And the drinks?
There’s a pleasingly succinct wine list, with four white, four red, one rosé, and three sparkling by the glass, including a chardonnay from Simpsons Estate in Kent and bubbles from Bolney Estate in Sussex. As with all of Kerridge’s venues, there’s a strong cocktail list, too – with glitzy glasses such as the Heartbreaker with coconut-oil-washed plantation rum, Velvet Falernum, raspberry, lime, vanilla and egg white – matched by creative, grown-up mocktails including a no-groni, tonka colada and garden sour.
If you’re travelling, stay the night (rooms start at £162 per night) – there are marshmallow-like king-size beds, slide-into stand-alone baths, and even yoga mats for those that want to downward dog post dinner. Order Staffordshire oatcakes (a thin, savoury pancake) stuffed with cheese and thick-cut bacon for breakfast.
Words by Laura Rowe
Photographs by Cristian Barnett