French. 55 King Street, (off Chapel Walk), Manchester, M2 4LQ, England
Tel 0161 832 1000 Fax 0161 832 1001. „
I had dinner at Brasserie Blanc last night in Oxford. You have got to be joking !!
Let me elaborate. Firstly the next table was precicely 4 inches from mine (I measured it) which made conversation difficult in the extreme. We were lucky enough to have an end table next to the window (wonderful view of a pile of rusty bicycles) What people with inside tables must have thought with 2 tables within 4 inches is too much to bear, but they certainly all looked aware of their neighbours conversations.
My Roquefort Souffle was rubbery and cold and if actual Roquefort cheese came anywhere near the thing, as opposed to some other blue cheese, I am, in the immortal phrase, a chinaman. My dinner partners soup was apparently OK
My main course was Haddock. Firstly it was tiny (half the size of the one my neighbour was served up 10 minutes previously), was served skin up which made it look like a piece of old rubber, and was completely dried out. The sauce, which was (literally) smeared onto the plate, was enough for one mouthful.
The mushy peas - reheated up in a Microwave - were (to my mind) frozen peas which had simply been pummeled a little with a fork.
And now we get on to the big chips really, they were quite appalling. Soggy on the outside (even our neighbours sent them back) and tasteless on the inside. McDonalds, McCain..... even my local chippie, do better.
Tarte au Citron next. A huge slab admittedly, though which arrived with no decoration at all, not even a little cream or mint leaf or clever little smear of chocolate. I suspect there may have been a scattering of icing sugar. Come on !
A dreadful, overpriced and overcrowded restaurant that, despite not being owned by him any more, does Mr Blanc's reputation no good at all.
Yesterday was my birthday. As a way of celebrating, hubby booked a table at Raymond Blanc's brasserie on King Street Manchester. And a very happy birthday I had too!.
The venue is bright, immaculately maintained with beautiful flower displays. The tables are reasonable spaced and there is a good sized no smoking area.
THE MENU/THE FOOD
The menu changes regularly. As well as a dozen or so starters, there were five types of bread to choose from. Starters on last nights menu included a couple of soups, Caesar salad, deep fried goats cheese with a tomato chutney and moules marinieres. Sixteen main courses - Grilled organic salmon with rosemary butter, cassoulet of confit duck and beef bourguinon.
Being an exceptionally cold night, we both settled for the soup. Hubby had mediterrean fish soup with croutons which he said was delicious and I had pumpkin and kirsch soup which was wonderful and warming. Starters ranged from £4.00 to £6.45. For mains, hubby chose pan fried hake with butter beans, fennel and rouille. I had herb pancakes with mushroom, kirsch and gruyere cheese.. We had these with minted baby potatoes and a tasty crisp mixed salad. Both meals were excellent. Main courses started at £8.50, the most expensive being the bourguinon which was priced at £16.50.
No room for pudding, but regulars such as creme brulee, crepe suzette and tarte au citron were available for around £4.50.
I must admit the thing that surprised me for a French restaurant was the range of veggie food on offer. My pumpkin soup, wild mushroom risotto and souffle with pear and walnut dressing were only a few.
Forty two wines from all over the world starting at £12.00 a bottle (£2.95 a glass) to £52.45 for a Pinot Noir. We had a bottle of French Chardonnay at £14.50 - again this was excellent.
The script here reads "Children of any age are not just accepted, they are welc
omed and we have created a special menu for them". I was pleased to see a menu with a change from the usual burger and fish fingers. Featured on the kids menu were a variety of soups, pastas, chicken and fish. Food for grown-ups but in smaller portions. The menu for children up to 11 years old was priced at £5.95 for two courses.
When we arrived, I noticed a comment in the diners' book. It read "Excellent food, shame about the service!" However I couldn't fault the service we received. The waiters took time to make recommendations on both the wine and the food and were exceptionally pleasant and professional. We both thoroughly enjoyed our evening and will definately be returning soon.
It was Tigger and mine's 2 year anniversary on Saturday. So, for a treat Tigger booked us into Le Petit Blanc, Raymond Blanc's restaurant recently opened in the trendy shopping area of Manchester (King Street if you know it.) The only table that we could get was at 10.00pm, a bit late as I am sure some of you must think. But we've been abroad quite a few times this year and we've got used to eating late like the natives. When we arrived the Maitre'D was quick to find our reservation and we had no wait as we were led to our table and handed a menu each. Raymond's signature dishes are in bold type. The restaurant is square with all the tables around the outside of the square and the kitchen and bar in the centre. The kitchen is hidden away so that you don't see anything. It is a very clever layout, because although there are a lot of covers, you can only see at the most 1/2 of the from wherever you are sitting, so it gives it a more intimate feel. The decor is white and chrome and very stylish. The Head waiter arrived first to take our order. I ordered Asparagus & Poached egg in Béarnaise sauce followed by Pan Fried Duck Breast with a spicy pear and spring vegetables. As I don't particularly like fish (except fish fingers) and we never have it at home, Tigger started with wafer thin tuna with Chinese vegetables and followed it with Monkfish on a beg of herb noodles. The wine we chose was an Australian Chiraz, which was very nice and fruity, which even I liked as I am not a big red wine fan. The waiters and waitresses were all very attentive, but not too much in your face. As we had such a late reservation, we watched as the restaurant slowly emptied. A few people were seated after us and there was one particular party near us who were really trying the patience of the waitress. She was all smiles as she dealt with them, but when she turned her back (so we could then see her) she was ready
to spit fire. The food arrived in good time with just enough wait in between the starter and main course. My Asparagus was nice enough and Tigger really enjoyed the tuna, which was raw. I quite liked my Duck, but I've never really eaten duck other than Crispy Duck with Pancakes or another way or cooking it at Chinese restaurants where the flavours of the spices really mask the gamey quality of the meat. This time is was quite strong and I wasn't that impressed. The spiced pear on the other hand was delicious. Tigger liked the monkfish. We also ordered a couple of side dishes, honey roast parsnips in garlic and Carrots in Caraway seed butter which were both wonderful. After this was whether or not to have dessert and I love my puddings, so the answer to that was yes. I ordered Crème Brulee and Tigger had Tarte Tatain, which is Apple Tart to you and me. They were both scrumptious. Finally the bill. £75.00, which wasn't cheap and I'm not sure if it was really worth it. The reason I gave 4 stars is because the decor and atmosphere and staff really improved the experience. Below is the ethos of Le Petit Blanc, which was taken from their website www.petit-blanc.com Faithful to their Parisian role models, Le Petit Blanc brasseries offer the same buzzing atmosphere in relaxed yet stylish designed surroundings. The emphasis is on food, combining the best traditions of French cuisine bourgeoise with a modern vision incorporating Asian and Mediterranean influences. We welcome families (children have their own menu) and the time conscious business person: Our Blanc Vite menu selection provides fast, fresh food on the plate for those in a hurry or simply wanting a quick snack. Open throughout the day, Le Petit Blanc is the perfect place to meet for coffee, a bite to eat, a meal with business colleagues or a more leisurely visit with family and friends. The setting in each brasserie is sm
art yet relaxed, with the emphasis on design which is adapted to the individual location. The Terence Conran design for our Oxford brasserie aims for a casual yet stylish atmosphere, whilst Tilney Shane's work in our Cheltenham brasserie presents a more elegant approach, designed to suit the Regency architecture. Tilney Shane have also been responsible for the striking design of the Birmingham and the new Manchester brasserie at 55 Kings Street, which cleverly creates distinct dining experiences under one roof. Each Brasserie boasts stylish Private dining rooms suitable for a wide variety of occasions including corporate entertaining, press launches, family celebrations, cocktail receptions, charity functions or a private dinner party. Our Oxford brasserie seats 130 and has private dining for up to 20. Le Petit Blanc in Cheltenham seats 160 and has additional seating in the champagne/cocktail bar, as well as a private dining room for between 20 and 80 guests. The Birmingham brasserie has 180 covers on the ground floor and a superb private dining room, Le Premier Etage at Le Petit Blanc, on the first floor. The New Manchester brasserie has 130 covers and four stunning private dining rooms. ***Update*** Check www.5pm.co.uk for cheaper dining at Le Petit Blanc or invest in the North West Hi-Life Card at www.hi-life.uk.com, probably the best Dining Club in exsistance, which can also be used here.