Short Break - Hilton Manchester Deansgate
PUBLISHED: 13:34 25 May 2013 | UPDATED: 13:46 24 February 2016
The Hilton’s reputation precedes it. Founded in 1919 by Conrad Hilton, in the intervening years it has played host to such events as the creation of the Piña Colada in 1949 and the famous John Lennon and Yoko Ono Bed-in for Peace in 1969, on its way to become one of the world’s most famous brands.
Its reputation is fully deserved and the Hilton on Manchester Deansgate, housed in Beetham Tower, the tallest residential building outside London - a gleaming spire of glass that dominates the city’s skyline - certainly keeps the flag flying high. The hotel owns the first 23 storeys of this 47 floor building, capped off with the chic cocktail lounge Cloud 23, which is the perfect place to admire the incredible view while chilling out with a cocktail. If you’re brave, you can even look through the transparent floor to the street way down below.
The hotel is dotted with relaxing nooks including the luxurious Spa 303, but the place to go has to be their restaurant, Podium. Here talented chefs are busy treating the hotel’s guests, and the public at large, to delicious modern British cuisine. Although the restaurant is a part of the extensive open-plan lobby, it somehow manages to feel intimate, through clever use of atmospheric lighting.
The menu is small yet boasts a broad selection of vivid tastes, including some exquisite options for seafood fans - the locally caught plaice with saffron potatoes and squid was a big hit with our group. The chef switches out a couple of dishes a week to keep the selection seasonal and interesting, and new on the menu was a soup of garlic, freshly foraged in the local countryside by one of the more adventurous junior chefs, and blended with a balanced combination of potatoes and walnut pesto, with pancetta lardons providing occasional pleasant charges of flavour and texture. It was all deliciously rich and subtle and more than set the tone for the evening ahead.
Accompanying the signature menu Podium has a fantastic grill selection, featuring a range of steak cuts and other meats sourced from local farms. The rib eye I chose was so tender it barely needed chewing and cut like butter. There’s a variety of sauces to finish off the meal, including a decadent pepper and red wine jus and the restaurant isn’t afraid to slum it a little with onion rings and magnificent chunky chips.
The dessert menu featured several favourites, including a decadent banoffee crumble and a chocolate mousse, served in small intense hits of flavour. It’s the perfect end to a great meal all delivered by prompt and friendly waiting staff, who had a lot more personality than the stuffy waiters you find in some establishments.
Fortunately, if you’re a guest at the hotel you only have a short elevator ride up to a hot bath and an extremely comfy bed, which is just as well because you’re probably too full to even contemplate doing anything else. If you’ve booked a room at one of the VIP levels you’ll even be treated to a selection of delicious continental cheeses, hams and delicate pastries courtesy of the establishment.
Dean Bowman was a guest of the Hilton Hotel, 303 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 4LQ.
Tel 0161 870 1600.