Raymond Blanc's Brasserie is tucked away in Hale Barnes, within a Marriot airport hotel - a true hidden gem if ever there was one.
Just over 1km away from the entrance to Terminal 1 (thanks Google Maps), Brasserie Blanc is located within the foyer of the airport hotel, a stone’s throw from the busy M56.
Following in the footsteps of the likes of The Refuge and The French, don’t let its placement in a hotel put you off – this sublime bar and brasserie is well worth a trip, with a menu that takes inspiration from a range of Raymond’s own experiences and expertise.
Maybe you don’t know who Raymond Blanc is. Well, I sat down to talk with him about the concept behind his Brasserie and so not to embarrass myself – I did my research.
Born and raised near Besançon in France, Raymond Blanc was a self-taught chef who arrived in the UK without a pot to piss in and went on to own and run one of the country’s greatest ever restaurants.
Named Le Manoir Les Quat’Saisions, the restaurant saw Raymond pick up two Michelin stars, as well as win the Egon Ronay Guide award for Best Restaurant in England. The excess of the 80’s then saw him purchase a manor house in Oxford and create Le Manoir – a luxury hotel-restaurant that also boasts two Michelin stars.
So Raymond definitely knows his stuff and is still considered by many to be one of the best chefs in the world. Inspired by his mother’s home cooking, he recently created his range of Brasserie restaurants in the hope to make his seasonal style of French cuisine available to everyone. As someone who has 3 moths in his wallet most of the time – this came as welcome news to my ears.
Walking into the Brasserie at the Marriot, first of all, is a bit of a challenge. There aren’t any bloody signs! Once I finally realised that I was indeed in the right place and not an idiot, I was greeted with a large open restaurant and huge bar complete with a spectacular conservatory style roof overhead.
With the Brasserie, Raymond aims to offer a mix of traditional French classics from home, alongside dishes that come from elsewhere in the world (and may be more suitable for us Brits). It’s all cooked in-house, with fresh, local ingredients and with a clear emphasis on seasonal produce – something Raymond is keen to point out as much as possible.
Sitting down in the restaurant, we enjoyed a stunning Smoked Roast Pheasant Breast, which came alongside creamy dauphinoise potatoes and a fantastic braised and pureed sweetcorn, as well as one of the Brasserie’s signatures – the Grilled Cod with preserved lemon marinade and chilli squid.
You’ll also find such French delights as Slow Cooked Beef Bourguignon, Moules Frites, Duck Leg Cassoulet and of course Escargots on the menu, as well as a range of other dishes that both impress and entice.
I must admit that I wasn’t expecting much when I arrived but I was thoroughly impressed by both the vibe of the place and the food. It’s clear that Raymond is proper passionate about it all too – he’s wanting to create somewhere that people will take time to visit and to be fair to him, I think he’s succeeded.
Brasserie Blanc @ Airport Marriot Hotel
Brasserie Blanc, , Hale Rd, Hale Barns, Altrincham WA15 8XW
0161 870 2633