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The best restaurants for natural and biodynamic wine in the North

5 years ago

These millennials, eh? They’re always trying to meddle with things that have been the same way for hundreds of years. But, no matter how much some people pull their faces and dig their heels in, the vines they are a-changing. To be fair, natural and biodynamic winemaking actually pre-dates the whole modern wine industry, as it was once the only way to make wine. However, low intervention wines are enjoying a renaissance on modern restaurant menus and it’s getting easier to find outstanding examples if you know where to look. Environmental considerations are crucial to our times and more and more restaurants (and customers) are bringing the focus back to all things, well, natural. So it might be time to stop wine-ing and open an eco-friendly bottle or two with your dinner, you might be pleasantly surprised.

While there are strict rules around the labelling of organic and biodynamic wines, the guidelines for natural wines are as murky as an unfiltered orange. For some, this just adds to the fun as things get really experimental – and, some might say, risky. But there’s no need to worry when the expert sommeliers at some of the best restaurants in the land have done all the graft for you. We’ve put together a list of five of our Top 100 restaurants and another five honourable mentions in Manchester (that opened since we announced our last guide) that are sure to pour you an au naturel glass you’ll love.

  • One of the dishes served at The Cartford Inn - a restaurant with rooms near Preston in Lancashire
    Book Now Preston

    The Cartford Inn


    This historic coaching house serves adventurous British pub food in poetic configurations. Cooking is by mushroom forager and head chef, Chris Bury, whose CV includes the Fat Duck and Claridges, while award-winning suppliers include local wine merchants, D Byrne and Gornall’s dairy, near Preston. The interior, some of which dates back to the 1800s, is packed with wood panels and idiosyncratic artworks while the wider complex takes in glass-clad extensions, an al fresco terrace, and cool, eco-style cabins, integrated into the landscape. A place to get away from it all for a day, or a night – and enjoy some of the best food in the region at the same time.

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  • The light and airy dining room at The Forest Side - a Michelin star restaurant in Grasmere, the Lake District

    The Forest Side

    Restaurant - Modern British

    Michelin-starred restaurant and hotel The Forest Side, owned by Lakes hotelier Andrew Wildsmith, is built on the foundations of the cooking of former L’Enclume forager, Kevin Tickle.

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  • Eel as served at Jöro - the Nordic-inspired, acclaimed restaurant in Sheffield.
    Book Now South Yorkshire


    Restaurant - Scandi

    Offering Nordic-inspired fine dining inside a shipping container, Jöro has secured accolades galore, including a clutch of AA Rosettes and Michelin Bib Gourmand.

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  • Pumpkin pie at Where The Light Gets In

    Where the Light Gets In

    Restaurant - Modern British

    With no menu and esoteric wines, Where the Light Gets In doesn’t adhere to the typical fine-dining formula. But it’s been a success for Stockport, thanks to chef-patron Sam Buckley’s belief in doing things his own way.

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  • The exterior of Isca in Levenshulme, which specialises in natural wines and organic food


    Bottle Shop

    Isca is a natural wine bar and shop on an unassuming street in Levenshulme, brought to you by Caroline Dubois (sommelier at Where The Light Gets In) and Isobel Jenkins (Seasons Eatings supper club).

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  • Window seating at Wolf At The Door - a bar serving taco and bao buns in Manchester's NQ
    Northern Quarter

    Wolf At The Door


    The team behind Wolf At The Door know a thing or two about adaptation. They launched as a highly stylised restaurant and cocktail bar serving NOMA-influenced small plates. Then changed their name (they were formerly known as Wilderness) and completely overhauled their menu. Nowadays they serve tacos and bao buns that keep the playful feel of the original offering, but with much more accessible prices. 

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