63 DEGREES, the French restaurant owned and managed by the Moreau family in the Light Building in the Northern Quarter, is going from strength to strength.
Flavours march across the palette like standard bearers for their ingredients.
The place looks a lot sexier with white linen adorning the table, softening the room.
A new wine list that is exclusively French shows off a number of really great wines coming from the new generation of graduates out of the Institut d'Oenologie in Bordeaux who have overcome their predecessors disdain for new world wines and woken up to the reality the pupils were teaching the masters a thing or two.
The ‘youngsters’ are using their USP, ‘Terroir’, their soil. Alex Moreau’s list is well chosen.
But the best thing is the new menu which further shows off the skills of the Patriarch, chef Eric Moreau.
He has pulled the menu up a few notches, particularly with the new starters showing off his skills in the French classic stocks to produce refined, flavour packed sauces which make the diner stop and think about what is passing their lips.
Flavours march across the palette like standard bearers for their ingredients. As with all great French cooking, the raw produce is well sourced and presented to show off their best qualities. This is three or four courses dining that can be matched to wine, not a chemistry experiment to show off the molecular knowledge of the chef.
This writer has tried several of the new dishes grazing a menu that is clearly morphing and improving as the seasons move on.
Pea cream with mint, giant prawn with saffron, is a marvel, with two outstanding flavours that are made for each other, shellfish and peas in a refined cocktail.
Frogs legs with cress is a deal more feminine and sexy than it sounds; a Monet of a dish with the legs boned and skewered, cooked gently to preserve their delicate flavour perched over a languid pond of a thick watercress purée.
Grilled vegetable compression and pecorino will gladden the hearts of vegetarians everywhere, carnivores would equally enjoy this one.
A really special dish is the gilt-head bream tartare with avocado, tomato and basil. The editor, Schofield, thought this was the best tartare he'd ever tasted. Look at the flower too. Lovely touch.
The cod steak on the main courses is delivered with a butter sauce that has been introduced to black olives and basil, with crushed potatoes.
Pavé de cabillaud, vierge aux olives et basilic pourpre, écrassé de pomme de terre à l’huile d’olive de provençe: Cod steak, butter sauce with olives and purple basil, mashed potatoes with Provençale olive oil
The lamb dish is an absolute winner, cooked with Lemon Thyme and an ‘upside down’ tomato tart.
In the deserts standouts are Breton shortbread with peppermint whipped cream and raspberries and the peach soup with fresh verbena and lemongrass, the latter adding a wonderful Indochine back note. Then there's the sheer theatre of the gloriously named chocolate orb which disintegrates with hot chocolate poured over it.
All in all a spectacular menu and one that people should rush to try. Gordo is very seriously impressed.
63 Degrees is at 20 Church Street, City, M41PN, 0161 832 5438
You can follow Gordo on Twitter here @GordoManchester
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