Recently, the Finest posse visited Radisson Blu’s, ‘standalone’ restaurant Opus One for their Gentleman’s Afternoon tea. We were impressed with a hotel restaurant that was trying to stand out from the crowd and trying something a little bit different. So, when asked to go back to try their Market Menu this week I was interested to see what they had come up with.
The Market Menu is six starters, six mains, and six desserts (with a rolling menu, whereby one dish from each changes weekly) of seasonal and locally sourced produce at a reasonable enough £20 for two courses and £25 for three. For a hotel with a clientele that I assume gets its fair share of out-of-towners I thought this concept (though of course much repeated) was a good one, and as far as I’m concerned a, ‘taste of Manchester’ is never a bad thing. Actually I believe there was a very interesting dessert with this very name (Taste of Manchester, consisting of an iced Vimto parfait, smoothie and Eccles cake) – although this had fallen off the menu by the time I had chance to visit, it gives you a good impression of what to expect. Local produce served in a modern contemporary way.
The Free Trade Hall that Opus One sits in is a beautiful building either enhanced or overshadowed by the statement chess pieces & giant red lighting (it’s a matter of opinion). Personally I’d recommend the seats in the front modern glass area as opposed to the main restaurant area if possible.
It’s not often I bother to mention the bread at a meal but 8pm after work reviews mean I eat a bit much of it and Opus’s freshly baked bread was delicious and came in coriander, wheat and white.
For starter I went with the (Brixham crab & lobster cakes, spiced tomato salsa & green herb mayonnaise) which are not as huge as the trick photography would make you believe, but were very good in texture, taste and it was very nice not to be presented with another Thai spiced version of the dish. My companion had the Cheshire ham hock ballotine – tasty, salty pork that contrasted nicely with pease pudding.
My main was the Venison (Saddle of venison, marrow risotto fritters, truffle pancetta) a perfectly cooked, lovely piece of meat, however I did not feel the risotto fritters (although nice) complimented it very well. My side of Bubble and Squeak was lovely and warming on a cold Manchester night. My companion had the salmon (confit Scottish, salmon, saffron potato, ginger textures), it was well cooked, salty and oily – as you’d expect from salmon. It was a very well-balanced dish served with potatoes, kale and ginger. Top marks.
For dessert I went for the the Iced milk chocolate & malteser parfait, chocolate milkshake and white chocolate marquise trio. The mini milkshake was delicious and fun, the malteaser cone was average to good and the white chocolate element would probably appeal to hardcore chocolate fans but was a bit much for me. The tarte tatin (Apple tarte tatin, cinnamon ice cream, apple textures) was delicious with warm flaky pastry and cool cinnamon ice cream and interesting fresh tasting jelly cubes.
The waiting staff were very nice – friendly and down-to-earth, not at all pretentious or overly formal, a bit like the food as it happens!
All in all a good, well presented and well executed meal. There were a couple of very minor low points, but overall a solid choice. Opus are doing some fun, tasty things in Manchester at the moment (gentleman’s afternoon tea, steak and lobster) and are well worth a look.
For more information and booking visit the Opus One website.