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French Restaurants in Manchester |near the Bridgewater Hall |near the Opera House |near the Palace Theatre |F |M
The French Manchester
CLICK HERE TO BOOK ONLINE or Tel. 0871 230 5347
Midland Hotel, Peter Street, Manchester, M60 2DS [map]
Very posh and lavish, award-winning French restaurant inside the Midland Hotel, and first Michelin star restaurant in Britain
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The French at The Midland - overall reader reviews
most popular dish: Halibut (£27.95)
The French Restaurant Manchester - our reviews
A Restaurant So Consistent You'd Be Forgiven For Thinking You Had Deja Vu (Jan 2009)

Trusted Reviewer "Following on from our review a year ago (below), a further visit to The French at the Midland Hotel was almost like deja vu it was so consistent. Especially as they sat us on the same table as our previous two visits. The past year may have seen the opening of Michael Caines at Abode, the closure of Juniper, the area's only Michelin star restaurant, and the multi-million pound arrivals of Vermilion and Ithaca, each knocking The French off its top spot as the most exclusive restaurant in town, however there's no doubting the quality of this fine dining restaurant.

There's very little we can add to last year's review that hasn't already been said - service was a little quicker and we tried different dishes - this is a restaurant for those special occassions and it certainly delivers.

OK, silver service is not for everybody, however if you let that get in the way of a great meal then it probably says more about yourself than the formal approach of the waiters. The fact that for most of the night they were stood patiently waiting to serve, like on duty ceremonial guards outside a royal palace, highlights how The French has changed over the years - in the past, you'd need to book week's in advance to get a table. Now, probably largely due to lack of marketing and the fact the plush restaurant is somewhat hidden away from non-guests inside the glorious Midland Hotel, free tables are a plenty and the large dome shaped interior can add a cavernous feel if there's only a handful of diners.

The food, as with all our visits, was amazing and worthy of the price, which, without a Hi-Life Platinum Card, isn't cheap it has to be said. The homemade breads alone are worthy of mention. Two pheasant dishes (a tarte courtesy of the chef and a main course) both contained the lead shot probably used to kill the bird, however the presentation and taste of the dish made up for any cracked teeth.

All in all, a year on and our more detailed review (below) says it all really. The Midland's French restaurant is certainly a restaurant that should be visited at least once a year. The deja vu effect of it's consistent brilliance at least makes you feel a year younger!" - restaurants of manchester 26/1/09 (visited on a weds evening)

A Grand Meal Not To Be Forgotten (Dec 2007)

Trusted Reviewer "Despite all the hype and PR that surrounds each new multi-million pound restaurant opening in Manchester, the coveted Michelin star is still elusive from any city centre establishment. The French at the Midland is certainly the closest you will get, and one visit to this exclusive restaurant will make you realise why it has, yet again, been awarded 2 AA Rossettes and 4 Good Food Guide stars in 2007 - the highest for any restaurant in the city centre.

We've read many prentious reviews of The French in other food guides labelling it as old fashioned and out-dated for its silver service waiters and formal approach. These reviews miss the point completely. The Midland is Manchester's most historic hotel and despite the 5 star openings across the city centre, it still remains the grandest. The restaurant, from the decor right down to the service, reminds you of a time when Henry Rolls first met Henry Royce in this very same building. It gives you a feeling of importance that can't be experienced anywhere else in the city centre yet, at the same time, it can hardly be called stuffy - a label that could be attached to the area's only Michelin star restaurant (Juniper in Altrincham) - as the Head Waiter especially is friendly and inviting, with the clientelle a good mix of business folk and hotel guests.

As you'd expect from one of the city's most exclusive hotels, prices aren't cheap. Appetizers range from £8 (Creamy Shellfish Bisque) to £60 (Chateaubriand for two), whilst Entree's will set you back £20 (Guinea Fowl Au Vin) upto £29 (Roasted Cutlet of Lamb). Desserts are £8 each with the Cheese Board at £10. There's a Tasting Menu at £75 per head for those with a wallet as big as their belly and a Set Menu Gastronomique ranging from £29 for two courses up to £45 for four. Hi-Life Platinum Card holders can take advantage of two meals for the price of one; a saving that almost pays for the card itself.

As is the norm in most top restaurants across Europe, less so in the UK, we received a wonderful dish 'courtesy of the chef', the Honey-glazed Scallop was gorgeous and would have been my first choice as a starter had it been on the menu. Instead I opted for the Tortellini of Woodland Mushrooms, Corn fed Chicken and Black Truffles (£12.95). The presentation was fantastic and the taste just divine. Highly recommended!.

In between each course, the very formal black tied waiters each took to their specific roles professionally - a bottle of Tuscan Morellino red wine (£27.95) was allowed to breathe before being expertly poured and a bottle of mineral water was chilled in ice. The couple on the table next to us playfully asked the waiter if the chef had forgotten them and it was at that point that we realised we'd also been in the restaurant for over an hour and still hadn't received our main course.

When the main courses finally did arrive, in their silver trays, any quarms about the delay were soon forgiven. The Guinea Fowl Au Vin was superb whilst The Lakeland Beef with Rosti (£29) was the best steak I've ever eaten in Manchester, making up for the initial disappointment of receiving meat Rosti rather then the Swiss Potatio Rosti I expected. The presentation was amazing and went someway to explaining why each dish took so long to arrive. Impressive!

Overall, The French deserves its reputation as the best fine dining restaurant in Manchester city centre and is certainly the perfect restaurant for that special occassion - like the Midland Hotel itself, it's grandness and ambience provides a dining experience not to be forgotten. Superb!" - restaurants of manchester 10/12/07 (visited on a thurs evening)

The French at The Midland Manchester - members' reviews

"The restaurant at The French is not too big, which means that you do not feel like you are in a cattle market. It's just the right size to ensure that customer service can be top of the list. The food was sublime.... everything was fresh and in season and the presentation was excellent. The service and manner of all the staff was perfect. They were very attentive without being intrusive, a credit to the restaurant. The price is slightly higher than some other places around Manchester, however, once you experience the outstanding customer service, the ambiance and the amazing taste, then it was worth every penny." - Gemma Higson, Manchester ~ NEW MEMBER (7/3/12 ~ visited on a Saturday evening)

Trusted Reviewer "I've never rated the public rooms of The Midland as aesthetically pleasing but the French is the exception. It seems to have been parachuted in from the Palace of Versailles and provides an oasis of opulence in the midst of a modern hotel. Even when the room is quiet the ambience remains warm, comfortable and luxurious. I've not actually eaten there for a few years and it's great to report that standards are still as high as ever. From the superb breads, the complimentary Amuse Bouche through to the desserts, every course of our meal was top class.

For starters, my wife chose an outstanding potato, cod and scallop veloute (£14.95) whilst I stuck to my tradition of hitting the calories with a slice of pork pie, which somewhat surprisingly worked very well, particularly if you like terrines and pâtés. We both went for fish main courses and weren't disappointed. My Seared Halibut (£27.95) was cooked to perfection, as was the Red Mullet & Scallop Linguine. The service couldn't be faulted. The meal was served at exactly the right pace and the waiters were always attentive and highly professional. The Dessert Menu (all £7.95) kept the ball rolling nicely. A custard tart coupled with liquorice and blackcurrent sorbet was a great combination and the Panacotta with ginger sorbet was top notch. An excellently balanced menu which just oozes class.

If you want top quality you pay for it - or do you? We went mid-week and got a fantastic value deal using our Platinum Hi-Life card card and also taking up the Restaurants Of Manchester free glass of wine offer. The bill of £127, including all drinks, was sliced down to just £77 with these offers. With such great food, service and ambience this is up there with the best deal in town. Manchester isn't well endowed with top quality dineries and the French is for me a very special place which we need to cherish." - Ian, Stockton Heath 22/2/12 (visited on a tuesday evening)

"top class"
"use a hi-life card"
"luxurious yet comfortable"
"one to be cherished"

Trusted Reviewer "The French has always had a top reputation in town, has played host to several important people over the years, not to mention being where Posh and Becks went on their first date, which in modern terms really does equal the famous first meeting of Mr Rolls and Mr Royce in the same place, all those decades ago.

Anyway, we had a bit of a reason to celebrate this week, so I told the Mrs that I was taking her out on the tiles. From the off, she was suspicious, as she knows me better than that. In actual fact, the special occasion, although not the one which I admitted to, was Wayne Rooney's 50th cap, but I kept that quiet in fear of getting a backhand.

First impressions pointed to an experience which was very well done, if a little old fashioned and traditional. Waiters in waistcoats, a stiff upper lip, formality, and what you would class as stereotypical fine dining, which is becoming rare these days. Anyway, since we were celebrating (come on Rooney), we kicked off with a bottle of Bollinger whilst having a look at the menu and wine list. Around the same time, we received a chef's complimentary appetiser of chicken and pork terrine, with carrot, wrapped in spinach, accompanied with a cauliflower puree. All very nice.

As you would expect, the wine list is vastly French influenced, most of which was beyond me. We went for a bottle of Beaujolais, since it went with our mains, and, to be honest, one of the few that I could pronounce! Unfortunately, this had sold out. We wanted something French, but didn't overly mind going for a bottle of one of my favourites, a 2007 New Zealand Huia Pinot Noir, for a relative snip (£32), as I've seen this at other less esteemed places in town for pushing £40. There isn't anything around the £15 house wine kind of mark on the list, but the quality bottles that they do have are very fairly priced on the whole.

For starters, we chose the Scallops (£14.95) and Goosnargh Chicken Cannelloni (£12.95). Both were perfectly cooked, very well seasoned, oozed quality and went down a treat. My scallops were moist and sweet, came with an apple puree, and thin slices of apple as garnish. Perhaps a bit too much sweetness, and some acidity would have helped, but no complaints really. The Mrs' cannelloni was. as is usually my luck, the best of the two dishes. I cant work out how she does it!?! The chicken was perfect, and the pasta coating was outstanding, all topped with foam and mushrooms. Old school indeed, but far from old hat.

For mains, I had the Honey Duck (£25.95), and the Mrs went for Lamb (£28.95). My duck was again perfectly medium rare, and the accompanying sauce, distinctly orange. At first, I must admit to not seeing too much 'French' on the menu, but this was a revamped, gourmet Duck a l'Orange, and went down a treat. The lamb, wasn't just a lamb fillet, but in fact came cooked 3 ways, on a bed of leeks. Really good stuff all round.

I should mention the bread trolley, from which you can choose your own bread, and have it sliced in front of you. There was a massive selection, and various different flavours. The blue cheese deserves special mention, although they were all quite heavy dough, and some more airy, lighter breads would have added more variety.

To finish up, we went for the Raspberry Soufflé (£7.95). Which again, like a broken record, was perfectly cooked, light as a feather inside, and tasted great. It came with raspberry sorbet, which was lovely, but perhaps should have been something slightly contrasting in flavour to the soufflé itself. Still top drawer though. We also got a cheese board (£9.95), which wasn't listed on the menu, but the guys sorted one out for us anyway. To be honest, it was the best cheeseboard that I've had in town, by a mile. A lovely, melt in the mouth soft, a mellow but brilliant blue, a hardish white, and a smoked cheddar. Only one was French, but all four were great, so we made a point of letting the guys know that a cheese board should be on the menu permanently. We were assured that they do offer cheese, but don't list it, as the cheeses that they have in stock do vary.

Criticisms, well, sometimes the piano (as nice as it was) bordered on intrusive, and it's far too old school for most people, which again, probably comes down to its tradition. So, expect formality, a slightly serious side, silver domes, real fine dining and silver service, which to be honest, doesn t exist anywhere else in the city, even in the very top eateries. This isn't really a fault, its just that I'm only 32 and, other than my better half, was by far the youngest diner in there, and this kind of style is possibly 10 years before my time. It already has 2 AA rosettes, and if I had to pick one place in town which would get a Michelin star, this would probably be it to be fair, and the fact that its been open so long and hasn't got one, really makes you wonder what needs to be done if it's ever going to happen. Other than that, there wasn't really much to fault, and it's the food and service which speak volumes, whether you're old school or not.

Overall, this is without a shadow of a doubt one of the top food places in town. Of course it all depends on what you like, but if it's not the top, then it's in the top 2, but I'll let you decide on the other, and the order. The service is exceptional, probably the best in town if you like proper fine dining and formality. The dining area is stunning, rivalled only by places around King Street with their palatial domed roofs. It's expensive at around £50 for 3 courses, which does outprice it a bit in Manchester, regardless of quality, but with the Hi-Life card, this soon becomes a lot more reasonable. Definitely a special occasion place, and one for traditionalists or the more mature crowd.

Upon leaving, the manager asked our opinion in comparison to other places in town, and I summed it up in saying Its top notch in the locality and, that whilst it may not be to everybody's taste, is a BMW better than a Jaguar, or just different? However, even if you're perhaps a bit too 'new school' for a Jaguar with cream leather seats and walnut dash, you still couldn't ever doubt its quality and class."
- Chirs Handley, Salford 3/4/09 (visited on a wednesday evening)

"old school, not old hat"
"formal but exceptional"
"stunning and historic"
"one for special occasions"

The French

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Disclaimer: All information correct 1/4/2011. and can not be held responsible for any differences experienced at the premises listed. All images and information © 2002-13 PrideOfManchester