MANCHESTER RESTAURANT REVIEWS - James Martin Manchester Reviews  
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James Martin Manchester

James Martin Manchester Reviews
AddressManchester 235, The Great Northern, Watson Street, Manchester, M3 4LP
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"Unquestionably one of the best value mid-range dining deals"
 
James Martin Manchester Review James Martin Manchester Review
James Martin Manchester Review

Restaurants Of Manchester (Thursday 22 July 2021)

Key: 5 stars = World Class!   4 stars = Fantastic   3 stars = GOOD   2 stars = OK   1 star = Poor

Decor & Ambience 4 stars

Positives
Every time I review James Martin I feel obliged to mention that it's housed right at the back of the Manchester 235 casino.  Your pathway to the dining room unavoidably takes you by roulette and poker tables etc.  Not a huge issue for us really as we are just used to it after all these years.  Plus once you're actually seated, the casino thing becomes a distant memory until you visit the loos.  No clutter of chips to be heard anywhere.  At least not the potato variety.  I've used that same joke in a past review of the same venue, in hindsight.  The dining room is generally smart though, with nice brick ceilings, a lovely dark wooden floor and some interesting chicken sculptures on the walls. 
Positives
There's no doubt that the casino location will lose points in the eyes of some people.  I don’t get the chickens either.
 
James Martin Manchester Review James Martin Manchester Review
Bread & Butter Smoked Short Rib Taco
 
Price Fantastic

Positives
On this occasion, the 5 course tasting menu was in play.  Said menu is priced at a paltry £35, so it's already decent value for the quality and quantity on display.  Now add to that 5 glasses of wine, not sample portions either, and what you end up with is unquestionably one of the best value mid-range dining deals anywhere in the region, let alone city centre.  It's absurd value really, and usually runs from Jan to Feb, but clearly this year's been a bit different in many ways.  It's impossible to criticise the value for money one bit if you're going with the tasting menu offer, which we of course did. 
Positives
If you stray to the full wine carte rather than the included pairings, then some of the mark ups are contrastingly steep.  The entry level Lobo Loco Tempranillo weight in at a hefty £23, and RRPs at just over a fiver.  You get a glass of it in the wine flight.  Further up the price ranges offer better value though, with the reliably good Hahn Estates Californian Cab Sav coming in at £51 and an RRP of £18.  Very acceptable. 
 
James Martin Manchester Review James Martin Manchester Review
Charred Confit Carrot BBQ Bream
 
Food & Drink 4 stars

Positives
We usually review this same deal in Jan/Feb as touched on earlier, which gives me an opportunity to rehash another joke; this time about how you don’t usually fancy eating out in January after the Xmas excess.  But since it's July, Ill need to work harder.  Luckily, the food wasn’t at all hard work, nor was it a joke.

Bread was lovely; crusty and deep in flavour, we suspect made in house which we always love in the age of places buying in, as much as you see why that happens. 

Smoked Short Rib Taco got things in play, plus I had to drop in a cheesy casino reference.  A lovely masa based taco shell, with uber rich beef dressed with hickory mayo, some sweetness and texture from toasted corn and some zippy acidity and brightness from dollops of gherkin ketchup. We ate with a knife and fork as to avoid making a mess. 

Charred Confit Carrot with carrot puree, buttermilk and pomegranate was next up.  The well cooked and perfectly griddled carrot was the rightful star of the plate.  Carrot tops and rosemary powder completed the garnish and rounded things off nicely.  A nice mixture of contrasting textures, temperatures, and all manner of food article related adjectives. 

BBQ Bream was perfectly cooked, sitting atop a score of Cornish mussels, with a trendily-split green/translucent basil scented broth, and some well-paired cherry tomatoes.  I'd hate to be the person who blanched and peeled all those for a 50 cover service!. 

Lamb Neck was a substantial plate; more so that a mid-lockdown Scotch Egg. Well glazed lamb, with an array of purees, sauces and peas.  A dot of black garlic on a cube of potato brought a tidal wave of umami and a nice bit of carb to the party.  The Peter & Peter German Pinot which this paired with was easily the best match of the evening. 

Cheese (£10 for 2 surcharge) was what it says; a selection of British cheeses, all well-kept, ready to eat, with some house made crackers and lovely chutney. A superb value supplement.

Mango Parfait was as pretty as a picture.  A textbook parfait, with stunning coconut mouse/foam, and some leaf/cube garnish to turn it all into a dish.  A lovely and light way to finish with an elegant recreation of the old school Artic Roll.
Positives
However; the pomegranate seeds added extra sweetness which wasn’t really cohesive with the already sweet carrot dish, despite adding a nice little textural element.  The lamb protein was good meat quality but a few degrees overdone.  And the Mango dish's sponge element was very dry, perhaps suffering during the freezing process?
 
James Martin Manchester Review James Martin Manchester Review
Glazed Lamb Neck Selection of British Cheeses (to share)
 
Service 4 stars

Positives
Kelly was our server, and she looked after us well all evening.  Chatty, friendly, just the right amount of chat, and reeled she off the wine tasting notes like a pro.  We tipped extra because she deserved it!
Positives
Our table was a bit crowded with empty wine glasses at times, so keep an eye on those clear downs.
 
James Martin Manchester Review James Martin Manchester Review
Mango Parfait Entrance to James Martin Manchester
 
Overall Very Good

Positives
So, James Martin Manchester continues to deliver one of the best dining experiences in the city centre.  Great value, a skilled kitchen that’s way beyond what you'd expect of a casino restaurant, and Manchester has always loved a celebrity reference.  Since launch James Martin has become one of the city's go to food destinations, striking the ideal balance between cost and quality, with that aforementioned celeb hook up.  There's a very good reason why they've been in our top 10 best restaurants since they opened, so if you've not been already, then get yourself a table and see for yourself.

The only downside is that by the time you read this, the 5 course and free wine offer will have ended!  With any luck it will be back in January though, so that I can once again crack the same old joke about post Xmas/NY eating, on top of the bad chip joke.
Positives
A couple of little service points, and a few minor food hiccups which you wouldn’t even mention at a lesser venue.  And even then, you'd still be paying much more than this!
 
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James Martin Manchester January Preview
Restaurants Of Manchester (Wednesday 8th January 2020)

James Martin Manchester - January 2020 Preview James Martin Manchester - January 2020 Preview
James Martin Manchester - Restaurant January & February 2020 Offer
It’s that time of year when one; you’re probably flat broke after laying out on presents.  And two; that dire lack of funds isn’t a show stopper because you’re sick of eating anyway, and would happily get by on bare toast for a month. 

But what if we told you that one of our favourite city centre restaurants are not only giving you their tasting menu at an already amazing price of 5 courses for £30, but are including 5 glasses of wine for free until the end of February?  If you’re like us, then such value scales any post-Christmas food walls and diet plans, this is the deal for you.
 
James Martin Manchester - January 2020 Preview James Martin Manchester - January 2020 Preview
Bread Course Ponte Prosecco
James Martin Manchester invited us down to sample this great value deal for ourselves. We decided to go for one regular tasting menu, and one vegetarian menu, to share and experience more dishes, as the vegetarian cep pappardele was something that we just couldn’t ignore. 

Lovely warm bread started the meal, as it should do with any decent meal out really.  This came with either olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or beef dripping.  That also makes it a 6 course dinner if you’re being picky.
 
James Martin Manchester - January 2020 Preview James Martin Manchester - January 2020 Preview
Cheese and Onion Cheese and Onion - Vegetarian Option
‘Cheese and Onion’ was next.  A whole saltcrust-baked onion to lock in all that flavour and moisture.  Scooped out, and filled with a lovely espuma’ed cheese; Berkswell for the vegetarian plate, and the slightly smoother Westcombe Cheddar for the non vegetarian option.  A great start. 

We half expected the free glasses of wine to be tasting sizes, but make no mistake. These were glasses, as in proper glasses. The glass of Ponte Prosecco which came with the starter would set you back a fiver alone usually.  The selection of matched wine was generally good quality, and could easily justify the meal’s £30 asking price alone.
 
James Martin Manchester - January 2020 Preview James Martin Manchester - January 2020 Preview
Braised Faggot Smoked Heritage Carrot with Burrata - Vegetarian Option
Braised Faggot was an old school classic, done with refinement.  Rich and full of offal notes; ideal for the Winter temperatures outside.  The vegetarian course at this point was the table’s favourite. 

Smoked Heritage Carrot with Burrata for bags of creaminess, a sprinkle of black truffle and a vibrant tarragon emulsion completed this dish.  An absolute lesson in why proper vegetarian food shouldn’t just be a meatless replica.
 
James Martin Manchester - January 2020 Preview James Martin Manchester - January 2020 Preview
Miso Cod Cep Pappardele - Vegetarian Option
How does BBQ Miso Cod sound?  Well, it tasted fantastic, with a lovely bitter sweet rhubarb sauce, and some lovely texture and acid balance from the fermented kohlrabi.  

Vegetarian course this time around was the one we had been waiting for, cep pappardele, which was substantial, big, and a celebration of earthniness. It lived up to all our pre dining expectations.
 
James Martin Manchester - January 2020 Preview James Martin Manchester - January 2020 Preview
Poached Pheasant Butternut Squash and Sage Gnocchi - Vegetarian Option
Poached Pheasant, finished on the plancha for colour, was probably our favourite meat dish of the night.  Well-cooked bird, plated simply and confidently next to a stunning cabbage wrap, sauced at the table for some theatre.  This dish had a real feeling of class about it.  

And for the vegetarian menu, it was Butternut Squash and Sage Gnocchi. The gnocchi carried accompanied an excellent, scooped out squash, filled with slightly-souffled spicy squash filling, topped with pumpkin seeds for well needed texture.  Little cubes of Yorkshire Fettle, akin to Feta, finished the plate.
 
James Martin Manchester - January 2020 Preview James Martin Manchester - January 2020 Preview
White Chocolate Marquise Example Tasting Menu
Pudding was the same across both offerings. White Chocolate Marquise with blood orange and Champagne sorbet.  The microwaved pistachio cake pieces had an odd texture and didn’t add much to the plate, but also didn’t dent our enjoyment of the smooth marquise, with a lovely fresh sorbet.  

We genuinely can’t recall having a better value meal anywhere in the city in a very long time.  In a month (or two) where everybody is doing deals to get you in, it’s very rare that a restaurant package of this all round quality is discounting an already well-priced tasting menu/wine package by around 1/3.  

Go on, skip the takeaway and treat yourself to a January eating out-bargain.  And who really wants to eat toast all month anyway, even if your pants tell you otherwise? Available now, until the end of February at James Martin Manchester.
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