Eat And Drink, Food, MANchester, Restaurants

Brasserie Blanc, Hale Barns – Restaurant Review

When thinking of somewhere to visit for a special meal, I’m pretty sure a hotel near Manchester Airport would not be your first choice. So when Brasserie Blanc invited me over, I was a little sceptical. Despite being called an Airport hotel, The Manchester Airport Marriott Hotel is a mile or so away from the hotel with no, accessible public transport links that I could find. That meant I had to drive and the M56 is not pleasant, at any time of day!

The hotel has had an impressive refurb and the restaurant sits in the middle, with a bar area next to the dining area. It feels luxurious and special, with parque flooring and leather seating including booths. There is an impressive back bar with a great selection of spirits that are reasonably priced for a hotel restaurant.

The vibe feels upmarket but there were families dining and people dressed down eating solo, clearly using the restaurant as a stop gap before a flight the next day. Everyone was welcomed in the same way and the staff here are exceptional. It would be easy to assume that this is because we had been invited to review the restaurant, but they really did treat every guest with the same impeccable level of service.

Having such good service we put their skills to the test and totally put our orders in their hands. Our waiter recommended the Mussels and the Cheese Souffle. The mussels can be served with either a Thai red curry sauce or a more traditional mariniere. My friend went for the Thai red curry which meant the sauce was heavy on the chilli but still light, unlike a traditional Thai curry. The mussels were big and plump, perfectly cooked and the portion was massive for a starter. It would have done me as a main on its own. I chose the souffle, which is served with a little jug of cheddar sauce. This was pure genius and I wish I had a side of fries to mop up the remaining creamy sauce. The souffle had been twice baked so had a slightly crunchy outer with a soft and light centre with a light cheesy taste. It wasn’t too heavy and the sauce added made it more rich.

For mains we, again, went with a recommendation. My friend ordered the Chicken with Sweet Potato Wedges, which was another comfortingly winter dish. Half a roast chicken was marinated in a zesty glaze, served with sweet potato wedges and a side of mayo. I couldn’t resist the Lamb Tagine and I definitely made the right choice. The lamb was slow cooked so incredibly tender. The side of cous cous was spiked with almond, pistachio and sultanas for bite yet sweetness. I love a lamb tagine but this one was one of the best I’ve tried. I could have ordered so many things on my menu as lots took my fancy, but I’d definitely have this again.

My friend decided he was too full for dessert and chose some Ice Cream, with me finishing things off in style with the Pistachio Souffle. The waiter thought my friend was missing out so also sent the Chocolate Delice to our table. Let’s talk about the souffle. It arrived whole with a side of chocolate ice cream, the waiter scooped a bit out of the middle and dropped the chocolate ice cream into the centre to melt into the light and fluffy souffle. It was an absolute delight, the chocolate was rich and creamy yet the souffle was delicately flavoured with pistachio.It was so special, the lady at the table next to me asked if it was as good as it looked. Apparently she was too full but couldn’t resist either. The waiter was right too, my friend would have been missing out had he not tried the chocolate delice! A velvety and decadent chocolate ganache sat on top of a crunchy feuillantine garnished with hazelnuts and a praline panacotta cream. It looks small on the plate but it is so rich, it would be impossible to eat anymore than what arrived at the table.

We had such a lovely evening and I was really surprised by how good it was. Usually I wouldn’t choose to eat at a restaurant where I have to drive but, for this, I’ll make an exception.

We were invited to dine as guests of Brasserie Blanc and were not asked to pay.

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