We are big fans of Manchester House. The food is excellent, service impeccable and the interiors are right up my street. There’s no better place for a long, relaxed lunch in Manchester, as my best mate and I proved when we enjoyed the 7 course tasting menu a while ago – we finished up our cheese course and the last of our wine flight with the staff, the last customers to leave before dinner service began.
So when we realised that Aiden Bryne would be leaving Manchester House and opening a new place just down the street, we were all over it. Handily, the opening coincided with my husband’s birthday so I booked us in as a surprise. I had no option really, as I had already been to 20 Stories a few weeks earlier on opening weekend, and he was distinctly unimpressed that I was trying it out without him.
20 Stories is actually on the 19th floor of an unassuming office building in the mini-Canary Wharf that is Spinningfields. It’s only when you look up to see the roof terrace on the edge that you realise there’s more to the building – and when you get out of the non-stop lift on the 19th floor, you get that amazing view.
It was pretty terrible weather the evening we went but even the Manchester mizzle didn’t get in the way of appreciating the view through the floor to ceiling windows – which enable you to enjoy a 360 view of the city, even from the toilets. The restaurant itself is split into four zones – bar, brasserie, restaurant and terrace and the internal view is just as impressive as the external.
The vibe was buzzy and vibrant; it was jam packed when we arrived at 7ish and I would imagine it stays that way pretty much constantly. The service is always a stand out at Manchester House and 20 Stories hits the same level, with just the right balance between friendly and relaxed, professional and attentive.
We ate in the restaurant, but unlike the first time I went, there was just one menu which incorporated both the restaurant and brasserie options so there’s more choice. We started with this delicious bread, served on this cool little branded platter. The bread itself is from Manchester’s Pollen Bakery (which, side note, is on my hit list for breakfast one Saturday – their Insta feed makes me drool) and is in keeping with 20 Stories policy of sourcing and using ingredients from suppliers in the North West. The bread was delish, but the butter unsalted, and I like mine with plenty (I have been known to get the salt grinder out and make my own…)
For starters I had the Chilled Broad Bean Soup with Black Olives & Goats Cheese, which was fresh, creamy and incredibly tasty. And yes, I did use the last of the bread to mop up because I am a northerner and there are strict etiquette rules to follow when it comes to soup.
Mr N went predictably meaty with the Roast Pigeon, Cherries and Violet Mustard. I didn’t beg my usual taste – I’m not a fan of game – but am assured it was up to his standard.
For main course, we both went for fish; me the Smoked Haddock, Curried Cauliflower and Hollandaise and him the Lemon Sole, Cockle, Potato and Seaweed. Both were delicious (of course I tasted this one) but I think the mix of creamy hollandaise with the piquant curry and salty fish was the winner. You’ll have to take my word for it though as I failed to get a photo of the lemon sole #bloggingfail.
But then. The Dessert. Chocolate, Peanut Praline & Caramel Mousse with Banana Ice Cream. I am a big dessert fan, but this was A. Mazing. Like a massive Ferrero Rocher with the added bonus of the delicious mousse and ice cream. Unfortunately we had agreed to share this, as we were both quite full but I really wish I’d had it all to myself. Even Mr N loved it; testament to it’s deliciousness as he is not a big chocolate fan. I was fully expecting him to have his usual few mouthfuls and leave the rest to me, but it became a spoon tussle to the end.
So, 20 Stories – a great night; delicious food, fabulous interiors and fantastic service. The next time we go back will be when the sun is shining so that we can try out that amazing roof terrace. I expect the rest of Manchester will have the same idea.