Home Contemporary Chinese - a new restaurant with a dedicated in-house dim sum chef

The restaurant serving specialising in Cantonese and Szechuan food has recently opened on Chorlton Street near Canal Street

By Kelly Bishop | Last updated 31 March 2023

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“We weren’t ready to open,” says Jason Wu, owner of Manchester’s newest Chinese restaurant, Home Chinese, which opened in March with little fanfare on the corner of Richmond Street and Chorlton Street in the Gay Village. “In Chinese cultures dates in the Chinese calendar are quite superstitious,” he explains, “It was a good date in the calendar.”

We catch up with Jason less than a week after the restaurant opened its doors. Everything is in full swing but they are still trying to complete their front of house team. He’s quietly confident, if a little frazzled.

The bar at Home Chinese. Image: Manchester’s Finest

Jason went to university in Manchester and was born in Leeds but grew up in South Wales. One of the partners in Home Chinese Manchester owns Home Chinese near Leeds University (not to be confused with Liz Cottam’s Leeds fine dining restaurant). It has a solid following, especially from Chinese students, so they decided to keep the brand but Jason has different ambitions for Home Chinese Manchester. He wants this new restaurant to be “above average” and says it’s aimed at people who are looking for a more refined experience. 

The refurbished dining space at Home Chinese. Image: Manchester’s Finest

Home has taken over the space formerly occupied by Lebanese restaurant Jasmine and it looks completely different. The multi-level venue has been completely gutted and given a modern makeover with muted colours and striking features.

One whole wall of the main dining space is covered with a simple horizon mural in soft greys, and there is a private dining room with red brick walls and a huge caged chandelier hanging low over a long wooden table, downstairs is the kitchen and yet more seating space.

In the bar area, there is a striking, black and white geometric patterned floor and glam hanging light fittings. On the day we visit, the place is covered with bouquets of flowers from well wishers congratulating them on their opening. 

Jade Dove Cabernet Sauvignon from China at Home Chinese. Image: Manchester’s Finest

“We have tried to do something a bit smarter and more service driven than other Chinese restaurants where the service can be, let’s say, lackadaisical,” says Jason, “We’re not fine dining. We’re not like Tattu or Musu, but I don’t think we have any competitors doing what we want to do.” 

It’s more bar-led, he says, with cocktails to be added when they can find the right bartender for the job. The wine list has been put together by Jason himself and includes a couple of Chinese wines, including the Cabernet Sauvignon from Shanxi that we try on our visit. China’s wine regions are getting more and more attention in the rest of the world, and Jason says he plans to expand the selection of Chinese wines in the future. Also on the wine menu are Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, Italian Barolo, and French superstars from Chablis and St Emillion.  

Roasted Cantonese meat at Home Chinese. Image: Manchester’s Finest

What about the food? The menu is big. Jason says they are trying to tick a few boxes but there is a strong focus on Cantonese, people pleasing roast meats roasted on-site and an extensive dim sum section, and hearty, spice-driven Szechuan dishes. The restaurant has hired a dedicated dim sum chef so everything from dumplings to custard buns is freshly made in house from scratch – no frozen dim sum here. We tried the signature custard and mango steamed bao, mock duck beancurd wraps and, our favourite, vivid pink cheung fun stuffed with crispy tiger prawns. There is also a huge variety of dumplings: crispy radish, Shanghai, Peking, Har Kau, Buddha’s Delight and more.

Mango and custard buns at Home Chinese. Image: Manchester’s Finest

“Traditionally in China, or Hong Kong, people have dim sum for breakfast or lunch,” says Jason, “Essentially, it’s Chinese tapas.” He suggests ordering a mix of hot and cold, savoury and sweet dishes all to be enjoyed as one varied spread. Jason’s dim sum order always includes dumplings, pork bao and cheung fun, he says. The more people the better when eating dim sum, because then you can order more different dishes and the whole thing gets more exciting. 

Beancurd wraps at Home Chinese. Image: Manchester’s Finest

There is so much to choose from that repeat visits are in order. Many dishes here will be familiar to lovers of Chinese food, but Jason is keen to highlight that they are adding their own unusual flourishes to classic dishes. Alongside the dim sum, we taste a striking fried rice dish with Chinese sausage, topped with a ‘volcano omelette’, a hot pot with duck blood tofu, a super crispy plate of sliced and battered salt and pepper aubergine with added crunchy bits like the best chippy tea ‘scraps’ of your life, and a spicy ma po tofu. There are all manner of soups and congee on the menu too, as well as hot pot.

Crispy aubergine at Home Chinese. Image: Manchester’s Finest

“Outside London, Chinese restaurants haven’t really modernised,” says Jason, “Not in the way that many Indian restaurants, for example, have.”

This place with its calming colour palette and brand spanking new fit out stands out from the more traditional, down to earth Chinatown restaurants we all know and love. There is room for both types of place to eat, of course, but it’s always good to have a more upmarket option with a more considered wine list for those times when a bustling basement won’t cut it.