Restaurant review - BISTROTHEQUE at CulturePlex, Manchester

Bistrotheque: cool, chic and with cocktails (c) Felix Mooneeram

Bistrotheque: cool, chic and with cocktails (c) Felix Mooneeram - Credit: Felix Mooneeram

Bistrotheque comes to Manchester

Bistrotheque (c) Felix Mooneeram

Bistrotheque (c) Felix Mooneeram - Credit: Felix Mooneeram

One of East London's best restaurants has spawned a sister. The hotly anticipated Bistrotheque has landed in Manchester's fresh and innovative Cultureplex - a workspace-cum-hipster-hangout in a converted warehouse. The big guns behind the slick operation - Pablo Flack and David Waddington - have made their mark on the restaurant scene, not just with the wildly popular Bethnal Green original, but with a bunch of pop-ups darting around the capital. And now this - the latest in a crop of London enterprises that have spread their wings with a Manchester offshoot (Hawksmoor, Dishoom, The Ivy).

There may have been a shift in location, but the team have stuck with a similar aesthetic - guests can gaze at the big open kitchen; the space is pared back with soaring ceilings, industrial pillars and looming wooden walls; the soundtrack is cool and fun; and there's a young, unpretentious team who really know the menu and speed over with warm sourdough as you pull up a chair

Steering the modern bistro menu is chef director Blaine Duffy with a penchant for simple but clever cooking - no pointless gimmicks or fads. Kick things off with the delicate crab on celeriac remoulade, or the cured salmon with beetroot that'll be devoured in moments. My main of cod with garlic and chilli was standout, pimped up with crunchy sage leaves and super-fine strands of chilli that looked like a large heap of saffron scattered over the fish. But the plate you have to order is the juicy hunk of rump steak, sliced up, just-pink, with a smoky sauce that's still playing on my mind. It was rich and earthy and the kind of sauce that won't get lost in a city filled with steak dishes. I could've done with a whole jug to pour over chips. But then again, I wouldn't have had room for the oozy sticky toffee pudding with smoked butterscotch.

Bistrotheque has rightfully gained a reputation for grown-up, accomplished cooking with a laidback, friendly vibe, and Manchester's all the better for it. Is it worth trekking into town for? Absolutely. For that beefy sauce alone.

BISTROTHEQUE at CulturePlex, Ground Floor, Ducie Street Warehouse, Manchester, M1 2TP 0161 713 3130

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