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NEW: Booth Gets Restaurant In New £15m Whitworth

Jonathan Schofield looks forward to a meal in the trees

Written by . Published on January 15th 2015.

NEW: Booth Gets Restaurant In New £15m Whitworth

THE WHITWORTH Art Gallery’s new cafe and restaurant has decided to go with a tried and tested formula when the gallery re-opens this Valentine’s Day following a £15m refurbishment.

The challenge for the amiable Scouser is to make sure his ideas and championing of robust flavours can make the leap into this much larger, smarter and costlier space.

Former tenant Peter Booth and his company, The Modern Caterer, will launch the spectacular food and drink space, bringing along Booth's trademark big flavours and vigorous presentation.

Booth will be relying on as much local and seasonal produce as he can muster. Before you groan, here the abused phrase ‘local and seasonal’ will mean something. The amiable Scouser doesn’t use it as an elegant lie to mask a prosiac truth but is passionate about when to pick his lettuce and pluck his grouse.

Many readers will recall how it was in the tea-towel sized cafe in The Whitworth where Booth made his name and gained a listing in The Good Food Guide despite the modest scale of the operation. The difference this time is the man will have more than enough room to swing a kiwi.

Booth in this tiny former unit at the WhitworthBooth in this tiny former unit at The Whitworth

As the Whitworth points out: ‘The cafe and restaurant will be a highlight of the new Whitworth. It is situated in a stainless steel extension which cantilevers into the surrounding Whitworth Park and overlooks the newly designed Art Garden.’

There will be mirrored mullions reflecting the garden plus floor to ceiling windows through which to view Whitworth Park. The cafe and restaurant will, if nothing else, provide a distinctive space seemingly afloat in the treetops.

The architects for the £15m gallery and restaurant refurbishment are MUMA (McInnes Usher McKnight Architects) who wanted to visually reconnect the gallery with its surroundings. Their interpretation of the relationship between inside and outside enviroments helps explain their winning entry in the competition to rebuild the Whitworth.

Green with views

Green with views

As for the new menu, we’re promised for ‘breakfast a perfect boiled egg and soldiers, or Booth’s own granola recipe or sourdough bread. At lunchtime, warm salads such as beetroot to goats curd and with the first asparagus when it arrives in spring. Afternoon tea will feature Booth's own cakes, including organic brownies.

‘At weekends the offer extends to a full brunch menu and Sunday Roast. Everything will be prepared on site and the menu will alter according to the seasons. Booth will include Orchard Garden hot smoked salmon, smoked on-site, and a Whitworth-own sloe gin using the produce from the garden.’

Sounds grand. But there is a caveat.

This time the restaurant will open into the evening with dinners served up to 9.30pm. The challenge for Booth is to make sure his ideas and championing of robust flavours can make the leap into this much larger, smarter and costlier space. Service standards will have to upgrade from counter service too.

Whitworth director Maria Balshaw with artist Raqib Shaw at an event in Manchester Art Gallery

Whitworth Director Maria Balshaw with artist Raqib Shaw at an event in Manchester Art Gallery

Commenting on the collaboration, Dr Maria Balshaw, Director of the Whitworth says: “Peter and The Modern Caterer have a strong connection to both Manchester and the Whitworth. Cooking fantastic, locally sourced food, Peter and his team are the perfect complement for a gallery with an international British art collection strongly rooted in Manchester and the surrounding landscape.”

Peter Booth, Director of The Modern Caterer says: “The new café and restaurant will offer the very best in seasonal organic food and drink that is expertly sourced and creates big, bold flavours in a stunning new environment."

At Confidential we're sure the man will more than live up to this undertaking. We can't wait to tuck in.

Café & Restaurant Opening Hours

Breakfast: Mon - Fri 8am - 11.30am; Sat 9am - 11.30am; Sun 10am all day (weekends at the Whitworth). Lunch: Mon - Sat 11.30am -3.30am; Sun 11.30am - 7pm (traditional roast) (weekends at the Whitworth). Dinner: Mon - Sat 5.30pm -9.30pm; Sun 12pm - 7pm (weekends at the Whitworth)

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter @JonathSchofield or connect via Google+ 

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8 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

GimboidJanuary 15th 2015.

Sounds bloody great, the old cafe was fab and the new venue should be a superb addition to this part of town.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 15th 2015.

Absolutely - Modern Caterer is superb.

AnonymousJanuary 15th 2015.

Sounds great in every way! Cant wait for it to open and spend a Sunday afternoon of culture and food with the family.

AnonymousJanuary 15th 2015.

Missed the Whitworth.This all looks fantastic.

AnonymousJanuary 16th 2015.

An all I want is a soup after the Manchester College of Art's Tuesday Talk. 'The Highlight' should be the Art and the Artist, not the Cafe.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Calum McGJanuary 17th 2015.

Don't stick around then. Places have to make money to survive...

Manci DoodleJanuary 16th 2015.

Great news. Peter Booth has a track record of consistently good food not just in the tiny old Whitworth caf but the much larger Jodrell Bank. In my view he is one of the most important and underrated food people in this region. And all this from a scouser!

Swiss JamesFebruary 9th 2015.

Another fan chiming in- great to see this open again, and bigger than before!

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