Despite having a few average meals at Avalanche, I was sad to see it close its doors. It is such a large venue that the area has missed it being open and having the foot flow on, what is normally a fairly quiet street.
1761 is a new restaurant that pays homage to Manchester’s industrial past with a touch of the Manchester spirit we all know and love. The dishes are classically British and the decor elegant yet warm. The welcoming reception area features Chesterfield style chairs, a good view of the pass and a comfortable area to wait for your table to be ready.
The dining area is light despite the dark floors and dark red drapes. We visited before 1761 officially opened so there were some finishing touches that were missing, that said, we couldn’t really tell and felt like we had been transported back in time with the colour schemes and leather furnishings.
The main dining area has a cute seating area surrounding a display of warming candles. I love it and can imagine it is the perfect place to finish off your drinks following a meal without feeling rushed.
We kicked things off with some nibbles. The Pork Scratchings were light, crispy and melted in the mouth, none of this teeth breakingly hard nonsense! They were served with a baked apple puree – a weird choice I first thought but pork and apple is such a classic favour combination, it works perfectly here. The puree is slightly sweet, slightly tart and slightly moreish. I managed to polish off the whole pot with pork scratching left to spare.
The olives are a mix of nocellara and calamata with a sprinkle of lemon, chilli and garlic. They’re fat, fresh and juicy, the perfect pre meal nibble. I also liked the Popcorn Cockles which is interesting as I have never liked cockles before. They are lightly pickled so not as vinegary as others with a lightly spiced coating to give them a little more oomph.
Because we dined at a press launch event we were also treated to some canapés. I wouldn’t normally write about these as it seems daft to write about things that other people can’t try. These are different though as they are like miniature versions of the open sandwiches which are available on the lunch menu.
The Smoked Duck Breast was my favourite served with a slightly sweet honey and goats cheese mousse and chestnuts for a touch of earthiness. For someone who isn’t a fan of aubergine, the Aubergine Puree and Chopped Egg was also good with just a touch of puree to liven up the sandwich. Perhaps fans of aubergine would be less impressed! The Cured Salmon was interesting served with lime yoghurt and grapefruit. I loved the flavour combination although I think a little less grapefruit would have been better as it is such a strong flavour and drowned out the salmon.
Onto mains and here is where 1761 stole the show. The Three Rivers Battered Haddock was cooked perfectly. Flakey yet firm fish and a light yet crunchy batter comes with the chunkiest of beef dripping chips and ‘Manchester caviar’, a particularly good tartare sauce to dip it all in.
The Corned Beef Hash was equally good with a hearty helping of hash, a slightly crispy egg with a runny yolk topped with a thin piece of crispy bacon. The light jus bound it together so well and it is a dish I will be back for time and time again.
We had very little room left in our tummies but I refused to leave without trying their desserts. The Manchester Tart is a slight twist on the classic with sliced bananas on top of a Vimto lined pastry case before the cream and sprinkles of coconut. I’d have never thought to put banana with Vimto but it just adds a bit more creaminess to the tart to make it more luxurious.
The Mulled Quince is quite possibly the nicest dessert I have eaten this year, and I’ve eaten a fair few. Served with granola for crunch, orange mascarpone for creaminess and honeycomb for richness and chew, the flavours all pop when combined to refresh the palate and help you leave without the heaviness that a rich pudding would add.
As well as a beautiful dining experience, there’s also a new bar in town with Lily’s Bar downstairs. The bar wasn’t quite finished when we visited so unfortunately I don’t have pictures but you can expect expertly crafted cocktails inspired by a story from Manchester’s past. There is Bollinger by the bucket full and an underground speakeasy feel to help you escape the rat race for a moment of calm and extravagance.
1761 and Lily’s Bar is a great addition to the city and I can’t wait to head back for that corned beef hash and more mulled quince. Remember to be more like Lily, drink champagne when you’re thirsty, and here is the place. Welcome to the City.
I was invited to dine at 1761 and Lily’s Bar and was not asked to pay for my meal.