Looking for new restaurants in Manchester? Read our expert review (here are our other Manchester favourites).
WOOD Manchester in a nutshell
Fine dining made casual with a modern spin on British classics, in the shiny new First Street development just outside Manchester’s city centre.
WOOD Manchester restaurant review
Chef Simon Wood is best known for landing the MasterChef title in 2015, and now diners can taste his food for themselves at his first restaurant, WOOD.
High ceilings tower over dark wood and teal furnishings, with cosy booths and dim lighting. Upstairs is a private dining room with floor-to-ceiling plate glass. An open kitchen gives diners a view of the MasterChef at work.
There are four menus to order from, to reflect the different ways you might like to dine here. A tasting menu is kept as a surprise for the night you visit, they call it a mystery tour. The lounge menu focuses on the Josper grill with flat-iron steak, smoked gnocchi, rocket parmesan pesto and leaves on offer, while the low-key theatre menu is restricted in choice, but expansive in flavour, with the likes of belly pork, cider, granny smith apple, and sage and onion popping up as a starter.
We order from the a la carte early evening menu, starting with mackerel, teamed with sweet coins of thinly-sliced beetroot, blobs of salty goat’s curd, and watercress, and another bowl of warmly spiced squash veloute, with added richness and umami courtesy of truffle, gnocchi and a touch of honey.
The knowledgeable staff are as relaxed as the trainer-wearing diners and deliver us an easy to drink, rich Tittarelli Malbec.
For all of their artistry, many of the dishes are British classics remodeled. Crisp pollock with pommes sautées, pea, mint and caper would please anyone craving the flavours of fish, chips and mushy peas, while strawberry, basil and meringue speaks to Eton Mess in its flavour if not appearance (like in our own Eton Mess cheesecake, here).
Far from as zingy, but every bit as luxurious, the dark bitterness of a chocolate tart is lifted to higher plains by the sour cherry sauce.
Pork best end is splashed with a sweet cider gravy, served on the creamiest mound of champ, with the fragrant warmth of sage throughout.
We wish they’d crank up the lighting so we can see the food better!
WOOD price range
With four menus there is something to suit all pockets.
November 2017, woodmanchester.com
Jack Rosenthal Street, Manchester M15 4RA
Words by Kirstie McCrum
Photographs by Carl Sukonik – The Vain Photography