Guide

Six show-stopping Sunday lunches in Manchester

What are your essential components for the perfect Sunday lunch? Do you turn your nose up at anything other than a huge slab of beef? Or are you all about roast pork with that crunchy, chewy crackling? Maybe a lemony, buttery roast chicken is the only one for you. There are some exceptional vegetarian contenders these days too, an earthy wild mushroom wellington is a favourite.

The trimmings, of course, are of paramount importance: the crispiest of roast potatoes, gooey and indulgent cauliflower cheese, Mancunian-style red cabbage braised in Vimto, gargantuan Yorkshire puds, ‘schweins’ in blankets and, quite possibly the most important component, a damn fine gravy all feature on our dream Sunday plates (and cause impassioned arguments in the Confidentials office). Or how about going one step further with a gigantic slow roast prime rib for 2-3 to share? All of the places on this list are doing something special with their Sunday dinner offerings, we’re hungry just thinking about it.

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    The Refuge

    European

    Winning small plate fusion in an iconic and glamorous setting. Housed in Manchester’s iconic The Refuge Assurance Company dating back to 1858, this DJ-run restaurant and bar is large and sassy. There’s a Winter Garden; an enormous bar; a restaurant; and subterranean ballroom. The venue (as opposed to the wider Principal Hotel, of which it is a part) is run by Luke Cowdrey and Justin Crawford AKA DJ duo The Unabombers who were given the job on the coattails of their success with West Didsbury bar and restaurant, Volta.

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    James Martin

    British

    A fine dining restaurant inside a casino with a celeb chef name above the door? Alarm bells. Yes, there’s a big name celebrity chef on the massive billboard outside, but this is not an ostentatious venue. Tucked away high up in the Great Northern Warehouse, it feels set apart from the bustle of the casino below. Sure, it’s not somewhere you’d visit in passing, unless you were passing between the blackjack dealer and roulette wheel. However it could just be that the disadvantage being so far from regular city footfall is what makes the chefs work so hard to provide some of the best seasonally changing British grub in Manchester. Typical dishes include Yorkshire wagyu with malt-glazed cheek, celeriac mousse with candied pecans and white chocolate and whisky croissant-and-butter pudding with single malt ice cream. The wine list takes in both bargains and account busters, and there’s a fun bar too.

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    Hispi

    European

    Hispi is, quite simply, a great bistro. Fifth in a growing chain of restaurants conceived by Gary Usher, the concept started with Sticky Walnut in Chester (see also Top 100), a neighbourhood operation which made its name off the back of great, simple food, quaffable wine served in beakers, and excellent quality produce. Expect chunky British dishes – such as chicken liver pate and braised featherblade – made with fresh ingredients and great results.

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    Albert’s Schloss

    European

    A Bavarian-inspired fun palace of extraordinary dimensions and clever design. Behind the glistening tiles of the former Manchester and Salford Wesleyan Mission building (est in 1910) you’ll discover a vast bar, real fires, perfectly preserved original plaster, and a wall stuffed generously with flowers by floral artists’ Frog. You’ll also find a stage, DJ booth and network of beer pipes and tanks serving unpasturised Pilsner Urquell to hordes of adoring punters.

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    Hawksmoor

    British

    The best steakhouse in the North. Opening on Deansgate in 2015, the first Hawksmoor steakhouse outside of London is a confident affair. Steak and attention to detail have created a branch like no other, whose beef is among the world’s finest. Sourced from Yorkshire’s Ginger Pig, choose from huge sharing cuts such as T-bone, Porterhouse and prime rib, with solo steaks available if you’re not into sharing. Starters such as Caesar salad with airy Doddington shavings, an artisan burrata made in Wiltshire or sticky, rare breed Old Spot belly ribs are meals in themselves, while seafood is a strength. Ethically sourced scallops bath in white port and garlic butter, or try the UK-sourced monkfish, grilled over charcoal. Side orders such as triple-cooked chips, creamed spinach, anchovy hollandaise and bone marrow gravy are reason enough to visit, and the location is lovely.

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    The White Hart at Lydgate

    Modern British

    Rustic dining pub with excellent reputation and wine list. Located seven hundred feet above sea level, where Saddleworth Moor starts, the restaurant is located in an impressive former coaching house, and it’s a place for all; a composite experience including a restaurant and brasserie with two AA rosettes, pub, function areas and a boutique hotel. There are many cosy seating areas: low ceilings, beams, exposed stone walls and big fireplaces. Head chef Mike Shaw’s cooking, meanwhile, is all about local ingredients cooked with flair. Cheese is a strength with French and British options, while dessert could include duck egg custard tart, a passionfruit cheesecake, coconut yoghurt with chocolate and eucalyptus, or a pear tart tatin with liquorice ice cream.

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