The Thomas Bar & Restaurant has an undoubtedly different feel to the other Northern Quarter establishments. It’s light, airy and modern. It feels very warm at night, and is an enticing sight to passers by. I was asked to go along and sample their new menu – which sounded like a fine way to spend a Wednesday evening.
The Thomas has a large downstairs bar / restaurant, a first floor eating area with open kitchen and terrace, and a club room on the top floor which will be hosting Jazz nights in the near future. In contrast with everything else the top floor was darker, with large curved beams and looked to be the perfect imtimate room for jazz or acoustic noodling.
I started with a gin cocktail called a Negroni, which in all honesty I had never heard of. Despite my lack of frame of reference for what I am assured is a classic, it was a good solid cocktail and I would order one again given half a chance.
Main courses had a warm autumnal feel, which will gladden the hearts of windswept, rain soaked Mancunians I think.
We were given Crab Cakes, Potted Smoked Duck Breast and Warm Goats Cheese & Onion Tart to start. The Crab Cakes were not disappointing, but could have used a little more salsa. Potted Smoked Duck Breast was my star, but this maybe to do with my carnivorous nature or the the fact that I loved the borlotti bean and chorizo crush that it was balanced on. Either way I was happy. Perhaps the real winner here was the Warm Goats Cheese & Onion Tart which had all the qualities of a savoury cheesecake. A good thing – I assure you.
Main courses had a warm autumnal feel, which will gladden the hearts of windswept, rain soaked Mancunians I think. Pan-fried Fillet of Whitby Plaice was homely, like a good fish pie (a description which in no way does this dish down). It was very well cooked and presented. The Artichoke Risotto was slightly over done and lacked a touch of depth, but maybe I just like a bit more bite. Everyone agreed, however, that the Yorkshire Lamb Shank won the day. A fall-off-the-bone piece of beauty that tipped to an eleven out of ten by its rich jus. The Villa Domiziano Chianti that I had to accompany the main was good, but the Thomas Bassot Macon-Villages Chardonnay was the most drinkable.
Desserts came in the form of Thomas Tiramisu – a very good house version of the italian classic; a Tarte Tatin which I cannot fault at all and a Lemon Tart which was brilliantly light, zesty and I want another one, now.
Overall, Thomas seem to have pitched this menu just right for the time of year. I think they will see people coming back, and getting some good word of mouth trade as well. There’s more to the Northern Quarter than burgers this Autumn!
Thomas Restaurant & Bar
49-51 Thomas Street
Manchester M4 1NA
Telephone 0161 839 7033