Cinematic interiors, panoramic city views, cocktails in the clouds and endless culinary pleasures.
There’s a lot to love about Manchester’s tallest restaurant.
Dining in skyscrapers isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be, but if anyone can make a statement restaurant aimed squarely at Manchester’s jet-set work, it’s D&D London.
With an impressive portfolio of eateries that includes Bluebird, 100 Wardour St and Issho, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wander into 20 Stories Manchester with high expectations, no pun intended.
Located at No1. Spinningfields in the heart of Manchester’s financial district, the rather forgettable ground floor entrance doesn’t give away so much as a hint as to what lies on the 19th floor. No sooner have the elevator doors opened, there’s a buzz about the place that your average restaurant would kill for.
Dramatic floor to ceiling windows running round the majority of the building take advantage of the view, which is pretty impressive by northern standards, even after dark. Walk into the main room, and you’re faced with the fine dining area to your left and the bar and casual dining to your right.
It’s here where your attention turns to the futuristic interior design, which looks like a modern vision of Patrick Bateman’s favourite restaurant, mixed with Stanley Kubrick’s Space Odyssey. If there’s one thing 20 Stories isn’t short of, it’s eye candy.
Once seated in the slightly more intimate and relaxed confines of the dining area, the slick and polished table service kicked in, and we began to get the feeling we were in for more than just a visual treat.
Our waiter was refreshingly honest, and talked us through the menu explaining what to avoid and what to consider, based on our personal taste. This advice turned out to be invaluable, because in truth, nothing from the starter menu was exactly jumping off the page for me personally.
On recommendation, we went with two starters which we were told worked very well together. First up came the wonderfully nutty Chestnut and Shallot Ravioli, served with a chestnut velouté. Creamy and rich, as promised it was an excellent companion to the complex flavours of the Warm Potato Mousse with Braised Oxtail, truffle and Secreto beef.
A perfect pair of appetisers that were not only memorable, but unlike anything I’ve tasted before. We were off to a good start, which was helped along nicely with a bottle of the 2012 Les Cadrans de Lassegue. Once again chosen by our waiter, this red Bordeaux blend had the right mix of fruit and spice required for our forthcoming mains.
After a brief debate, we decided to leave the easy option of the Chateaubriand in favour of the 42oz Grilled Wing Rib of Beef, which I must admit I’d never heard of. Turns out, cows don’t have wings after all, but this cut is in actual fact sirloin with the bone left in to infuse the meat with flavour.
The beef arrived perfectly pink and tender, with more than enough meat to satisfy even the most gluttonous of diners. After a lengthy break spent marvelling the mirrored ceiling complete with abstract cog-work to reflect Manchester’s industrial era, we loosened our belts a notch to make way for dessert.
Whilst my companion enjoyed the aptly titled Manchester Tart, it was soon clear that my Chocolate Tart with Pistachio Ice-cream was far superior with it’s dark, thick, chocolatey wall of goodness.
We capped off our evening on the oversized outdoor terrace, where we enjoyed the indulgent Truffle Honey Old Fashioned from the Bedtime cocktails menu. Blended with Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum infused with truffle honey, bitters and garnished with rosemary, prunes and chocolate, this £12 tipple was worth every penny and would have Don Draper climbing another 20 stories by foot.
An essential night spot in Manchester, and one that’s well worth overcoming vertigo for. Just go.
Words by Jordan ‘Fletch’ Fletcher, you can find him here, eating his way around the UK….
20 Stories, No 1 Spinningfields,
1 Hardman Square, Manchester M3 3EB
Tel: 0161 204 3333