Walking into Grafene I’m immediately reminded of the last time I came here for dinner, I ended a brilliant meal with a rather wreck-less positive gesticulation and knocked red wine all over the table, Paul the owner remembers it well.
For dinner this evening we’re entering into a 7 course taster of some delicate and expertly crafted dishes but first things first, Gin. The bar atmosphere at Grafene rivals that of any stand alone bar, music is modern, progressive and set at level that raises the room but not everyone’s voices, it’s a great space to start an evening in.
Following the compulsory (because it’s so good) helping of bread and soft salty butter we start our meal with ‘tomato, consommé, black olive and mozzarella’ light and full of flavour the scene has been firmly set and more is yet to come.
‘Octopus, sweet potato, ice lettuce, rhubarb & fennel’ then ‘slow cooked spring lamb, peas, dill & spring onion’ accompanied by a glass of 70 Thistledown’s “A Cunning Plan” Shiraz sees us relax more and more into the evening, the place is full the kitchen is busy and we can see first hand how the chefs balance the frenetic energy of a full service with the delicate hand of plating and presenting the dishes.
Two more brilliantly crafted courses follow, ‘stone bass, daikon, seaweed & ponz’ and ‘guinea fowl breast, leg, spring vegetables & broth’ come with space between but no waiting, there is a big difference. Both dishes are packed with flavour and really effective combinations as we’ve come to expect. Grafene is not about the OTT, it is a relaxed atmosphere with taster food you can relate to. No-one is foaming a pea with some form of freezing agent usually used by NASA, there is of course a place for that in gastronomy, but it’s not here and we certainly wouldn’t want it to be.
Dessert is ‘rhubarb, ginger, crumble, custard’ to get us in the mood followed by a childhood classic brought right up to the modern day ‘artic roll, blackberries, basil & petit fours’ and as we savour the taste and enjoy the texture we chat about being pleasantly full, a rare and mysterious state of being. The balance was right, the amount of each dish was right and we have enjoyed the experience of eating them.
As we finish our evening and consider our route home our server asks me how everything was, the urge to once again gesticulate comes over me, I keep it in, I play it cool, there’s still wine on the table.
Grafene, 55 King Street, Manchester, M2 4LQ
0161 696 9700