8 Manchester is a glitzy temple to Chinese cooking, all soft carpet, plush velvet and moody black. It might have ideas above its station when it comes to bold superlatives but it is very good at what it does.
The menu isn’t complicated, just popular dishes done well. But, you know, some dishes are popular for a reason and when you find somewhere that does them to a high standard, what more do you need?
The focus is on dim sum and you’ll enjoy dishes like sesame prawn toast, duck spring rolls and steamed scallops with xo sauce – all examples that set the bar high.
Main courses range from salt and pepper monkfish to stir fried char siu (Chinese BBQ pork) with Szechuan sauce. In general they maintain the same high standard although some of the fish dishes can be a little bland compared to the meatier options. The fillet steak dishes and the duck dishes are real standouts – duck in plum sauce is a classic for a reason.
The cooking is solid but on paper, or on the menu, 8 Manchester does little to set itself apart from other decent Chinese restaurants in Manchester. It’s all tried-and-tested fare. However, unusually for an Asian restaurant, 8 Manchester actually has a very good wine list and some eye-popping champagnes for any cork-popping celebs who might be tucking into their prawn crackers.
The puddings are another surprise – they are very, very good with memorable home-made cheesecakes and a gooey chocolatey concoction.
8 Manchester isn’t reinventing Chinese cuisine but it offers well-loved dishes, cooked well and sometimes, that’s exactly what you want. The fact it’s housed in a former bank is perfect; respectable cooking, rich sauces and good returns – you’ll go back again and again.
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