It took some time to finally visit Mr Coopers House and Garden in Manchester. The problem with our fair city these days is that’s there is so much choice. Not a bad problem granted! So we finally made it there a couple of weeks ago for Sunday lunch.
You walk in and couldn’t feel any further away from a hotel restaurant. It has a cool interior, we were sat in the garden end where features include a pagoda where’d a small group can dine together. Sounds naff but it really isn’t. We had a great spot where I could people watch almost the whole restaurant over my cocktail.
Sunday afternoon means you can choose from the a la carte or a set Sunday roast menu. Although the latter is brilliant value at £20 for there courses we really wanted to try the full menu to see how Simon Rogan does this type of food.
To start I had sweet and sour mushrooms with galangal panna cotta. I am always drawn to mushrooms on restaurant menus. I love seeing how the chefs lift humble fungus into something great. This arrived looking every inch the Rogan dish. The mushrooms looks like tiny models – each one cooked just so it kept its form. The panna cotta tasted vanilla to me rather than galangal, but it still worked as the sweet element to the dish. Odd but worked! I could have eaten a massive bowl of this, but as it was each delicate mouthful was a delight.
My husband Andrew started with spiced pumpkin soup with dolmades. He picked this because we fell in love with the spiced parsnip soup when we went to Rogan’s L’enclume a million years ago. The soup was served with all the theatre you’d expect in The French next door. The dolmades came in a bowl and a tiny jug of soup was poured over by our waiter. As is usual I didn’t get to try but am assured it was delicious.
My main course may be one of the best things I eat this year. Tamarind glazed duck, honey and ginger aubergine, more fantastic mushrooms and a mustard sauce. The sour-ish taste of the tamarind and the sweet-ish finish to the aubergine were ideal bedfellows. And bring me a bowl of that sauce please! Next to me Andrew enjoy cumin rubbed lamb with gravy infused with lamb fat and lime. I was sceptical about the lime but it really came though and cut through the fat. We also had a side of creamed kale spinach with bacon.
There was no question that we’d find room for dessert. A crisp topped caramel tart was served with light as air mascarpone ice cream.
It’s early days but. This has been the meal of the year so far. The bad news? The new menu is out now so you can’t try that delicious duck or those mushrooms. The good news? The fact that there is a new menu. Tweaks are main and some dishes changed so it is kept seasonal. Another trademark Rogan touch. We’ll just have to go back and try the new menu-all of which I could eat right now. If you want fabulous food, great cocktails and a chilled out atmosphere head to Mr Coopers for an unbeatable mix.
Mr Coopers House and Garden. The Midland Hotel, Peter Street, Manchester. M60 2DS
0161 932 4128