I’m something of a foodie and always on the lookout for exceptional food. A restaurant that has ambiance, delicious food and top notch service is something of a rarity, so when I come across one that ticks all the boxes, I want to shout out from the rooftops about it. Enter, The Restaurant Bar & Grill. Now, this place has been on my radar for the past month and I was lucky to dine there last week and review it for Manchester Confidential.
This little gem of a restaurant is conveniently located on John Dalton Street overlooking Albert Square. Don’t be fooled by the unassuming exterior, which will leave you somewhat blindsided as you enter the swish and stylish indoors. From beginning to end the RBG knows how to treat their customer. And my God was it a treat.
I’m a huge advocate of good customer service and loved the warm welcome from the concierge. As we were escorted upstairs, we had the option of dining either in the restaurant, or on the Terrace. My gal pal and I were feeling adventurous so we chose the latter. Despite it being a cold evening, it felt positively tropical on the Terrace, courtesy of the strategically placed heaters and the delectably squishy and comfortable seats. One of my favourite things about the RBG is the retractable awning. Now, we all know that Manchester is prone to inclement weather and this nifty contraption which allows diners to enjoy their food in peace is an unbelievably simple yet imperative addition (well played RBG).
We had the assorted Asian Plate to start and were spoilt for choice as we perused the delectable tray of treats. This was gastroporn on a gargantuan scale and I couldn’t have been happier. The lightly dusted squid was cooked to perfection and the prawns buried in pillowy tempura were little pieces of heaven. I personally found the duck spring rolls a little dry, but that was a teeny tiny minor niggle which was easily rectified by dipping said pastry into the plum sauce. Other moreish appetisers which we sampled were succulent smoked salmon and cream cheese blinis, light as air dough balls drizzled with fresh garlic butter and piquant salsa, tender chipolatas enveloped by smoky ribbons of bacon, and fluffy cheese whipped with chives in mini basket pastries.
For main course, I had the salt baked sea bass whilst gal pal had roast monkfish. The finesse with which our server, Pepe filleted and beheaded the steaming fish from the grill was like watching a magician at work. He expediently dug into the salt-pack explaining in his softly spoken voice how the dish was cooked whilst offering his opinion on choice of wine that would go with our meal. Seriously, this guy is a legend. He makes everything seem so easy and remains as cool as a cucumber at all times. The gal pal couldn’t stop raving about her velvety yet meaty monkfish either, so the mains were winners all round. The side dishes deserve an honorable mention; zingy house salad, earthy roasted field mushrooms and crunchy cashew and chilli broccoli were stars in their own right too.
Despite the generous portions of the mains, I thoughtfully left room for dessert to indulge my sweet tooth. The dessert trolley was rolled out with a flourish and there was a wide selection to choose from, including fig and almond tart and lemon meringue pie. Sitting out on the Terrace had put me in a somewhat summery mood, so I chose the Knickerbocker Glory whilst gal pal had the dark chocolate fondant decorated with gold leaf served with cream. Don’t get me wrong – the desserts were nice. But with the starters and mains being off-the-Richter-Scale delicious, I was expecting something extraordinary to round off the meal. I couldn’t help but feel a little underwhelmed by the average dessert. We didn’t get the chance to try the coffee as I was dangerously close to resembling Hulk bursting out of his clothes, but there’s always a next time.* Would I go here again? In a heartbeat. Overall, the food was manna, the atmosphere understated chic and Pepe is a superstar who is one of the jewels in the crown of one of my now favourite eateries in Manchester. The RBG is so much more than a restaurant – it’s an unforgettable experience that will keep you coming back for more.
*I am in the middle of compiling a coffee blog of places in Manchester and London. If you’re a coffee connoisseur, do continue to check back here as I’ll be writing about cafés and restaurants that do good coffee. Or, if you know of any place that does fabulous coffee and want to recommend a place, drop me a line and I’ll check it out. (I’ve started the coffee blog, but NaNoWriMo is keeping me busy for this month…)