Thursdays are the new Fridays; or at least that’s what I tell myself as I blow my fringe upward away from my newly glistening forehead – the result of which is from seeing JUST HOW MUCH the bill has come to after my friend Dariane and I dine at WOOD on a Thursday evening.
Because what other excuse could there be for spending over £55 per head for two courses and a pair of G&T’s?
Wood has been on my agenda ever since I heard word of its arrival following my Masterchef obsession circa 2015. A brief tease of the original menu sold me completely, as I waited for the perfect occasion to excitedly embrace a reservation.
Whilst there’s no shortage of fine dining restaurants in Manchester, there’s something about WOOD which combines homely-ness with sheer luxurious opulence. A far cry from Bunny Jackson’s Juke Joint situated next door, WOOD is worlds away from the norm and excels in a warm welcome.
Sinking into our buttery soft, leather booth; the friendly staff buzzed around us, tending to our every need; taking our coats, detailing the menu and fixed us with a handsomely large gin, (the most important of the lot arguably).
Before ordering, we were presented with two perfectly plump buns of freshly baked bread. Still warm from the oven, the soft bites were simply heavenly when combined with the same ratio of salted butter to bread.
Having poured over the menu previously that day; we eagerly placed our orders and awaited excellence.
To start, Wild Mushroom Raviolo cooked with sage, chestnuts and pangrattato.
Texturally pleasing; the rich, flavourful filling was hugged by soft, slippery bites of its pasta case and crisped by a crowning crumb. A simple concept, executed marvellously, I’d have gladly eaten a trough of it.
Beef Carpaccio, which seems to be off the menu presently; regardless, it was a total delight and masterfully presented.
On to mains, neither of us could resist the Halibut and neither of us could quite bring ourselves to share, and for very good reason.
The most spectacular dish.
A perfectly cooked fillet of halibut, lay atop a bed of tender stem broccoli. Smoked mussels dance around the plate, led by the enticing crunch of sweet pistachio nuts, all of which is bathed lightly in an outstanding jus-esque cream sauce.
So rich but so delicate, a show-stealer and day-maker.
We were coaxed into a side of Woodland Salad – which did it’s job providing extra greenery, but was no supporting role to this dish.
Whilst I had no desire for dessert, Dariane settled upon the Yorkshire Rhubarb and White Chocolate pudding .
A fanfare of flavours and artistically built plate. Refreshing, sumptuous and sweet.
When it comes to fine dining, this ever-growing field seems to have new establishments popping up like mushrooms overnight; alas WOOD is a restaurant which I believe will grow and flourish with the city.
We have been spoilt somewhat in recent years, as talent increases; the opportunity to dine out lavishly is more obtainable at a more cost effective price. Dining venues such as Mackie Mayor, whilst not necessarily the same experience or quality, but arguably flavour and value mean that we’re able to get a taste of innovative and exciting dishes without worrying whether our card might get declined.
This being said, I feel WOOD should most definitely be experienced by all, while personally it might not be in the price bracket I feel most comfortable in; there is no denying the craftsmanship nor the excellence behind the dishes and those which create, cook and serve them.
If you do decide to indulge, book here, and be sure to tell me how you get on. Trust me, you wood’nt want to miss it.
*Interior photos taken from google (I was so immersed in the food I totally forgot to take them myself).