Restaurant review - 20 Stories, Manchester
PUBLISHED: 00:00 17 May 2018
20 Stories in Spinningfields is Manchester’s newest restaurant to see and be seen in. Janet Reeder went along to check out what chef Aiden Byrne is up to now.
An unprepossessing entrance at the ground floor of a tower block on the edge of the Spinningfields district of Manchester doesn’t prepare you for what awaits on the 19th floor.
20 Stories is an impressive space with 360 degree views of the city. The views are the stars of the show but does the food match up? Chef Director here is Aiden Byrne, formerly of Manchester House, and Cheshire Life’s 2016 Chef of the Year, another restaurant accessed through an anonymous tower block and a huge hit among the dining cognoscenti.
At 20 Stories the recipe that worked so well at Manchester House has been tweaked a little. On one side of the floor is a restaurant specialising in modern British cuisine, the other a more casual dining experience, the grill. Then there’s a gorgeous terrace bar, perfect for soaking in more of those views.
It’s part of the D&D London restaurant portfolio and is as smart as they come, with mirrored ceilings an impressive bar, marble topped tables and an air of glamour. Confusingly it is on the 19th floor, the stories bit of the name doesn’t refer to how high up it is but some made up’ narratives’ found on the website that I’m still chewing over.
Anyway. Back to that impressive dining room. We ate at the more cheffy restaurant which cooks up the sort of food we used to call nouvelle cuisine back in the day. You can guess it, portions aren’t huge but the culinary team know how to pack in flavours, so the leek and truffle salad, confit egg and goats curd, £8 is rich and sweetly intense. Broccoli, mussel and razor clam tart, £12.50, has beautiful buttery pastry and looks divine but perhaps not the right vehicle for the delicacy and moisture of the clams.
Butter poached salsify, burnt leeks and parsnip puree, £18.50 is an array of soft creamy textures, while Herdwick lamb served with gnocchi pine and chanterelles,£26,is very good but heck it is small. One piece of gnocchi and teeny fungi aren’t shrieking la dolce vita. The Manchester Tart dessert, £8.50, continues Aiden’s reinvention of that classic as an indulgent, sweet and pretty arrayed plate of creamy custard, crumb and raspberry while chocolate, the other dessert a peanut praline and caramel mousse with banana ice cream, £8.50 is, as you may guess unctuously filling. We drank a 2014 Chateau Musar white, which was rich and creamy, yet crispy and dry.
There are plenty of waiters on hand to cater to all your needs and service was attentive but not obsequious. One quibble. We requested a window seat and our waiter mumbled something about moving us there later. Still not sure why we weren’t moved, especially as the restaurant was fairly empty when we arrived. It was soon packed however. This is certainly Manchester’s newest hot spot and when the summer finally arrives that terrace bar will be the place to be seen. Book now and if you want to sit by the window, let them know before you go!
20 Stories, 1 Spinningfields, 1 Hardman Square, Manchester, M3 3EB
0161 204 3333 20stories.co.uk