What does ‘Modern British’ even mean?

It’s a term that is thrown around by the foodies, but what is it? Last time I checked British food was heavy, stodgy and drowning in gravy- but restaurants like Grafene are completely re-writing the rules of British cooking and taking influence from our colonial past.

By Manchester's Finest | 13 November 2017

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Once upon a time, when we were just a small non-influential island, we lived off bread and cheese and didn’t bother anyone. That didn’t last though, as our empire grew, so did our culinary repertoire, stealing things for our own from the countries we conquered- such as Tikka Masala and tea.

Intrinsically, British food is just stolen bits from here or there. Sorry to disappoint. But instead of getting defensive about that fact, Modern British restaurants celebrate this diversity.

So, to answer the question, It is less about the revival of old-fashioned dishes and more of a re-interpretation or fusion. The strength of British cuisine has always been in its excellent ingredients: excellent beef and lamb, fantastic pork sausages and pies and a good variety of fish from the seas surrounding the island. Think Aberdeen Angus beef paired with flavours from India, Scottish Salmon with Far Eastern Ingredients and British beetroot with French goats cheese.

Grafene is an excellent example of this in practice, as it uses local ingredients like local meat, root vegetables, fish and uses a fusion of flavours and techniques to make contemporary dishes. Some examples are as follows:

Beetroot, goats curd, Spanish gazpacho, hazelnuts


Fillet of British beef, oxtail ravioli, and snail bourguignon- a dish with influences from Italy and France.


Bream, Satay Chicken Wing, Penang Broth, Wilted Greens and flavours directly shipped over from Asia.

In short, Modern British means an emphasis on good, locally sourced ingredients and using traditional dishes as a springboard for new gastronomic adventure that reflects our colonial past.

Grafene, 55 King Street, Unit 6, Manchester, M2 4LQ
0161 696 9700