Manchester’s Bridge Street is well on its way to being transformed as a destination for food lovers, starting with next week’s soft opening (October 28-November 2) of Masons Restaurant Bar.
Masons will then officially open on November 3, following the glittering Manchester Hall opening event the evening before which will see the former Freemasons Hall transformed and open to the public for the first time in decades.
Just as the Masons’ name references the building’s unique history, the food at Masons will be a nod to the traditional with familiar British dishes on the menu such as Pan-Fried Salmon (£18.95), Gressingham Duck Breast (£20.95) and Pea & Leek Tart (£11.95). All ingredients have been carefully sourced from across the British Isles including Connemara organic Irish salmon from Ireland and Dukesmoor steaks from Wales. While the menu options might be familiar, the dishes will be a little less so – with all having a world influence.
The extensive wine list offers variety and value from some of the best up and coming vineyards across the UK including from the Three Choirs Estate in East Sussex. Many drinks and cocktails will be mixed at the table – another example of how Masons is putting the emphasis firmly on exemplary customer service.
An exciting difference of the Masons menu is that side dishes are included in the price – meaning the restaurant offers excellent value for money given the stellar quality of the food choices on offer. Indeed, the menu will be kept deliberately simple as serving staff under the watchful eye of Head Waiter Tim Fuerst (previously of Mr Cooper’s House & Garden) will be expected to establish a rapport with customers and provide them with the detailed knowledge of the dishes on offer that day.
The menu choices have undergone extensive testing under the past few months by Chef Nathan Wightman, originally from Ramsbottom. Nathan trained in France and has worked at restaurants including The Parkfield Inn at Whitefield. He spent six years working under the direction of the Shoulder of Mutton’s head chef Paulo Atalainha. Nathan has also been recently joined in the Masons kitchen by Chef Piotr Szymczak who has joined from Hawksmoor Manchester.
Manchester Hall Director Deepa Parekh, who before joining the Masons and Manchester Hall team was Managing Director at Manchester’s popular members-only Circle Club, says: “We can’t wait to start revealing Manchester Hall’s secrets, starting with Masons Restaurant Bar. There’s no doubt in my mind that Nathan is about to prove a breakout star of Manchester’s restaurant scene.
Adds Deepa: “Masons isn’t about fine dining. It’s about the best quality food sourced from across the British Isles combined with exemplary customer service. Enjoying fantastic food shouldn’t be an intimidating experience and Masons’ ethos will be to combine attention to every single detail in our cooking with the most welcoming personal service. Masons isn’t a stuffy venue, but a place to unwind and relax with friends and colleagues in the heart of the city.”
While the interior of the restaurant has a few nods to the iconic building’s Freemasons’ past this has been kept deliberately low key – such as in the Freemasons-inspired dining booth which seats up to four people – with the emphasis firmly on offering the best quality food and exemplary service.
The green colours of the design scheme have been chosen to help create a welcoming, light and informal club atmosphere. The restaurant area offers a multitude of different dining settings under one roof catering for a plethora of requirements from breakfast planning meetings, entertaining clients at lunch or taking out your special someone on a date.
Masons will serve breakfast from 8.30am-12noon Monday to Friday; and 10am-1pm at weekends– with guests promised a hearty, yet elegant, start to the day. Breakfast options include smoked haddock with a breaded and deep fried poached egg (£7.95) and The Masons Restaurant Full English Breakfast priced at a very reasonable £7.95.
Normal opening hours will be 8.30am-11pm Monday to Friday; 10am to 11pm on Saturdays and 10am-8pm on Sundays.
Masons is offering 40% off food between October 28- November 1 during its soft opening period.
Telephone bookings: 0161 359 6952
Twitter – @masonsmcr
Instagram – @MasonsMcr
Facebook – www.facebook.com/masonsmcr
Web Address – www.masonsrestaurant.co.uk