Restaurant review - TNQ Restaurant & Bar, Manchester
PUBLISHED: 00:00 24 June 2016
This super Northern Quarter venue is a magnet for visitors searching for good food and drink. Emma Mayoh reports
The shift that’s happened in the Northern Quarter over the past decade has been seismic. It’s gone from a dreary, seldom visited corner to a bustling part of the city centre. In fact, it’s been said if you stand in one place for long enough in this part of Manchester then a bar or restaurant with form around you.
You’ll find a bustling mix of fashion shops, music stores and shops for the hip and trendy brigade. But arguably, its biggest strength is the many restaurants that draw people in their droves every day and night. Try to get a table on a weekend, lunchtime or an evening, and you’re likely in for a wait – and a lengthy one at that.
At the top of the culinary pile is the restaurant that takes its name from this part of Manchester. The stylish Northern Quarter Restaurant in the shadow of the old fish market has pared-back décor
At its helm is chef and owner Anthony Fielden. His introduction to the culinary world may have been discreet and accidental – he was pulled in last minute to a Swinton restaurant by a friend after the cold starters chef had walked out.
Since then he’s worked in many of the city’s best and busiest dining venues. At just 23, his first head chef role was at Albert’s Shed and Dukes where he was cooking for the hundreds of people that ventured through the doors of the Castlefield venues daily.
It’s this experience that has made The Northern Quarter Restaurant – or TNQ as it is known – an undeniable hit. It’s seldom quiet – make sure to book - and on a sunny day you’ll find diners spilling out into the outdoor eating area located in the shadow of the old fish market arches.
The restaurant’s pared-back yet chic décor makes an impression. But the thing that packs the biggest punch – as you’d hope – is the food. When I visited on a very busy Monday evening – no table was free. This could have partly been down to that evening’s “Happy Monday” offer of three courses and unlimited wine for £29.50 – a tempting prospect for the non-drivers in our party. The menu changes every three months to keep things exciting as well as to celebrate the best of local and seasonal produce.
Starters were salt and pepper squid with rice noodle salad, peanut, chilli and lime dressing and a wild garlic and Shorrocks bomb soufflé, twice baked to gooey perfection using cheese from the well-known Goosnargh-based producer.
This was followed by followed by a rump of lamb that even made my fellow diner’s substantial chicken pot pie look small.
This dish filled the plate and also came with perfectly cooked asparagus, peas, beans, and wild garlic gnocchi, leaving just enough room for the goats cheese and black olives. My dining companion – although happy with their choice - could not resist taking a forkful. All in the name of helping me finish the dish, of course. I did make great strides in my effort to give back a clean plate but eventually I had to wave the white napkin and accept defeat.
Dessert – not for me – was a creamy crème brulee with just the right amount of crunch that yielded with the contact from the spoon. It was good but I had to take their word for it as I could not have eaten a morsel more.
We’d arrived as the first guests and were leaving as their last - we weren’t eager to leave. The surroundings are everything you’d want from a city restaurant. Chic, modern but relaxed and without pomp and ceremony. The staff were friendly and attentive with a warm welcome. Don’t expect to leave hungry.
TNQ Restaurant & Bar, 108 High St, Manchester M4 1HQ