Owned by 2015 Masterchef champion Simon Wood, WOOD Manchester is an elegant restaurant which has quickly carved out a reputation for impressive menus which deliver fine dining without the formality. Flickering candlelight, dark wood and comfortable booths set a stylish scene in the dining room, which is flanked by an open kitchen where you can watch the chefs at work.
We enjoyed fresh bread and butter before our amuse-bouche arrived, a crispbread of ‘fish, chips and peas’ which paired perfectly with our wine choice, a crisp Mt Hector 2016 Sauvignon Blanc from the Matahiwi Estate New Zealand.
The five-course tasting menu commenced in earnest with a tropical sensation of pork belly with pineapple, coriander and shallots – the sweetness of the pineapple contrasted well with the succulent pork belly. Crispy hen’s egg with asparagus, Morels and chicken thigh was another winning combination and the crispy coating of the egg added texture while the mushrooms completed the dish with smoky depth.
It was time for a fish course which again paired well with the wine – beetroot cured salmon, wasabi, melon and peppery radish balanced a fusion of flavours and the delicate salmon was lifted by a subtle hit of fiery wasabi. We moved on to the next course, beef cooked on the Josper grill which had an appealingly smoky quality complemented by rich ox cheek, mushrooms and earthy beetroot.
We were treated to a pre-dessert, which we were reliably informed is one of Simon Wood’s most popular dishes – a ‘tutti frutti’ pot of creamy lemon posset with zesty citrus gel, this was ideally suited to the warm spring evening. The main dessert was a must for any lover of chocolate, a chocolate pebble with a velvety mascarpone filling, raspberries, biscotti, salted caramel and espresso ice cream. This epitomised exactly what a dessert should be, an unbridled indulgence which rounded off the lavish dining experience on a decadent note.
WOOD strikes the perfect balance of high-end cuisine with a more relaxed approach and the polished flavours, refined setting and excellent service make it a wise choice of dining destination.
WOOD Manchester, Jack Rosenthal Street, First Street, Manchester, M15 4RA. Tel: 0161 236 5211
Words by Camille Allcroft