Food Review: Mr Cooper’s, The Midland, Manchester
Nestled among the Edwardian splendour of The Midland is Mr Cooper’s, the modern British Brassiere. It’s a fitting and suitably impressive venue for a cosy and hearty roast with my mum, a fierce critic of a good roast.
As the throngs gather for mulled wine in the Christmas markets, we settle down to sample the recently launched Sunday lunch menu. The two AA rosette restaurant promises ‘home-grown seasonal favourites and cuts of meat carved by Manchester’s only in-house butcher’.
The confused interiors, a mismatch of a fake silver birch tree, brass candelabras and digital prints, are a little at odds with the traditional menu. As we gaze at the sculptural piece above our table, decorated with shiny baubles, the restaurant manager tells us that the restaurant is closing from January until early March to undergo a refresh. Despite this, the exuberant atmosphere, full of hungry shoppers, more than makes up for the décor.
The main Sunday roast menu is a concise affair but what you crave on a day of rest – half-roast chicken, roast topside of beef, slow-cooked crispy pork belly or roasted squash, spinach and gruyere pithivier,
We begin with homemade rosemary and garlic bread, served with churned butter and sea salt. This is a little under baked, but the warm lemon-pine herby flavours are comforting.
For our main we choose roast topside of beef, served on chunky earthenware, which comes with a decent selection of veg – squash, parsnips, carrots, sprouts, roast potatoes, broccoli and, of course, Yorkshire pudding. We select spiced red cabbage and cauliflower cheese as accompanying side dishes. Matched with a light Pinot Noir this works well. The gravy has a warming, meaty flavour and the red wine and mustard add piquancy. This is a warm cheery plate of food on a rainy Sunday. The cabbage is a particular treat and the cinnamon flavour feels extremely festive. This accompanies the aged Yorkshire Black Angus beef, which is incredibly tender and succulent. The roast potatoes are our only quibble – they let the side down and need to be fluffier and crispier.
Head chef Rebecca Richardson joined the team in May and has introduced a wider selection of desserts. With the avant garde choice of chocolate soil, choc cherry kirsch mousse, marzipan carrots and baby toffee apples, we choose slow-cooked pineapple, coconut crumble with grass ice cream and glazed vanilla crème brûlée, Grand Marnier and a mint fruit basket. Both desserts were delicious but a little on the small side. Nevertheless, the pineapple and coconut combination was a tasty tropical ending and the fruit basket was suitably boozy.
The service was attentive throughout and the waiting staff make the whole experience feel like an event rather than just another trad pub roast. The meal was a heart-warming affair and definitely got my mum’s seal of approval.
Images courtesy of The Midland Hotel.
Sunday lunch at Mr Cooper’s is available every Sunday from 1pm to7pm. Visit the website to book online.
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