Wednesday 6 November 2013

Mr Cooper's House and Garden, Manchester

Mr Cooper's House and Garden, Manchester
Back in September we were invited to the grand opening of Mr Cooper's House and Garden, the newest venture from culinary whizz Simon Rogan. We have many happy memories of trips up to his flagship restaurant L'Enclume in Cartmel, and he recently enjoyed 'Best New Entry' and a top 50 spot with The French. Unfortunately, the launch of Mr Cooper's House and Garden was a bit of a media pow wow and we didn't get to see any of the amazing food on offer. 

There was a buzz around Manchester. Could Simon achieve the same acclaim for a less formal restaurant in the city? Manchester has an explosive dining scene at the moment, with a new eatery popping up every few weeks. With such stiff competition, can Mr Cooper's House and Garden survive in such a vibrant scene? We let the hype die down, then booked in for our wedding anniversary. We intended to find out...

Winter had well and truly hit Manchester. It was lashing it down and blowing an absolute gale. We were welcomed in and shown to the best table in the house - we were flabbergasted. We hadn't been able to see into the main restaurant on launch night because there were so many people, so this was a wonderful surprise. We were sat in a small wooden summerhouse, which forms part of the 'garden' feel to the dining room. 
Mr Cooper's House and Garden, Manchester
It was wonderfully private yet had the benefit of being able to see out into the rest of the restaurant. A large tree sits in the centre, surrounded by small garden style tables, benches and large parasols. There are even a few pretty bird boxes dotted around the place.

Chicken wings in pomegranate molasses, chives and sepia noodles: These wings were like no others I have ever tasted. Sweet and sticky with moist chicken underneath which fell off the bones with ease.
Mr Cooper's House and Garden, Manchester - chicken wings
Grilled figs, ham, rocket and spicy popcorn: Years ago we enjoyed a chilli popcorn amuse bouche at L'Enclume, so I had high hopes for this dish. I could literally eat a full bag of it! The salty ham went perfectly with the sweet popcorn and figs.
Mr Cooper's House and Garden, Manchester - grilled figs
Pork chop and sage crust with green beans in creamy tofu: Our lovely waitress Maria told us this was her favourite item on the whole menu. The sage crust was outstanding: it gave a mouth watering crunch to the moist pork and the subtle sage made the whole thing really fresh.
Mr Cooper's House and Garden, Manchester - pork chop
Cumbrian rib steak, truffle pudding and purple potato latkes: I'm a real sucker for steak so this was always going to be my preferred option. Cooked just as I like it, this barely needed the sharp knife it came with. We also ordered a side of chips to go with it - best steak and chips ever...
Mr Cooper's House and Garden, Manchester - steak
The dessert menu really steals the show at Mr Cooper's House and Garden. I'd been looking at this for a number of weeks, and then pretty much every hour on the day we were booked in. Still unable to chose just two, we decided three was more appropriate... It was a celebration after all.

Apple butterscotch pie with cinnamon crème anglaise: This was my favourite by far. It was almost a mixture of all my favourite apple desserts, with elements of Eve's pudding, Charlotte and even bread and butter pudding. It was delirious. Layers of tart apples, a spongy top, warming cinnamon, plump sultanas and a butterscotch sauce. I'll dream of this...
Mr Cooper's House and Garden, Manchester - apple pie
Rhubarb dessert, meadowsweet custard and black sesame wafers: The description of this gave little away, but I was willing to run with it as I adore rhubarb. This was a sweet and sharp mix of stewed rhubarb and granita, served with custard and topped with wafers made from black sesame seeds in set sugar.
Mr Cooper's House and Garden, Manchester - rhubarb
Caramel tart with mascarpone ice cream: This reminded both of us of Jason Atherton's brown sugar tart from Little Social. It had a crisp sugar crust on the outside, which hid a luxuriously smooth caramel filling. This is so intense only a small amount is needed. Granted, most people don't order three desserts though...
Mr Cooper's House and Garden, Manchester - caramel tart
We thoroughly enjoyed Mr Cooper's House and Garden. Not only was the food utterly magnificent, but the staff running the show are equally as great at presenting the food in a way which would excite even the grumpiest of guests. We didn't catch everyone's names, but special thanks have to go to Maria and head chef Gareth, who took time out of his busy kitchen to come and have a chat.

Unfortunately, as we left the restaurant we realised that we had been given the wrong shopping bag, and that my husband's new coat had been given to another diner. Luckily I saw the couple on the table next to us leaving with a bag from the same shop, so we quickly identified who had it. The restaurant arranged for the coat to be picked up and returned to us the following Monday. Although this was resolved in a few days, it did put a bit of a dampener on an otherwise faultless experience.

I'm keen to go back to sample the Sunday lunch which Maria told us about, but I think my husband may need a little persuasion just yet. I'll report back...

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1 comment:

  1. A lost coat isn't going to keep me away, the food was good enough to counter-balance that. It is ironic though, as the system they have in place (giving customers tokens for their belongings) is probably the most thorough of any restaurant I've been too.


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