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New restaurant Vertigo sampled

Jonathan Schofield can't help sneaking along for a pre-review visit

Written by . Published on April 28th 2011.

New restaurant Vertigo sampled

Vertigo is looking good on John Dalton Street despite being open only a matter of days. We’ll do a full review visit in two or three weeks, but a preliminary encounter was impressive.

But, days into the opening, the ambition of Ian Armstrong and his team is very welcome in the city centre. The price points of the dishes are high, but the gamble of paying up to £39.75 for a whole grilled lobster, pays off given the creativity inherent in the food, and the commitment to quality.

The old Ithaca site remains a restaurant with aspiration when it comes to food.  The decor is unchanged, but everything else has, from the management to the menu.Hotdogs 006.JPG

The ambition and scope of the food on offer is enjoyable. Ian Armstrong, the chef, is really pushing the boat out with his Modern British grub.

My starter of ‘rabbit in a English garden’ (£9) was exceptional. This had sweet warm rabbit flesh wrapped in air-dried Cumbrian ham with a pea mousse to add moisture and subtle flavour. Amongst other ingredients the cracking peeled radishes and exquisitely cooked carrots, shone.

There was even 'soil', or rather mulched up and dried veg resembling a plough furrow across the plate. This had a winningly earthy flavour that worked well with the meat.Vertigo 005.JPG

Another starter of ravioli of lobster and salmon with bouillabaisse consommé (£10.50) was also good, not quite so inspired as the rabbit but satisfying and finely crafted.

The duo of Yorkshire Mid White Pork (£18.50) was a complex main with the pork packaged up with black pudding, together with apple foam and quince jus. There was also a flat-pack of truffle candele – in otherwords pasta shaped like candles, in otherwords a species of cannelloni. This was almost a perfect dish, it slipped up a shade with over emphasis on the apple and the quince but was exciting all the same.

Vertigo 021.JPG

There’s a grill section too and the 8oz Cheshire Sirloin came perfectly medium rare as requested and had that softness and depth of flavour of a quality cut. Lovely.

Desserts were exceptional.

The passion fruit and mango pannacotta (£6.50) was happily laden with fruit, a million miles from any notion of typical pannacotta blandness. The banana soufflé (£6.50) was another absolute winner: well-executed enhanced by the banana and the homemade ice cream.

Vertigo 023.JPG

The warm homemade olive bread should also be mentioned in despatches.

Meanwhile a sharp and to the point wine list delivered a beauty of a Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon, an Amancaya Gran Reserva from 2008, extravagant in its generous fruitiness.

Our waiter Anthony was a good lad: helpful but never intrusive. If the other waiters are as competent then service won’t be an issue.

Vertigo is still fresh out of the restaurant blocks and that can be spotted in the occasional awkwardness: some of the dishes need a little tightening, dessert wines need to feature, the mushroom risotto for veggies needs ditching in favour of something that more reflects the innovation elsewhere on the menu.

But, days into the opening, the ambition of Ian Armstrong and his team is very welcome in the city centre. The price points of the dishes are high, but the gamble of paying up to £39.75 for a whole grilled lobster, pays off given the creativity inherent in the food, and the commitment to quality.

We’ll do a scored visit in a couple of weeks as stated above.  It will be interesting to see how Vertigo develops, if it has a head for the heights of its ambition.

By the way there’s a lunch and early evening menu of £12.95 for two courses and £15.95 for three courses. 


More Information

Vertigo Restaurant and Bar

36 John Dalton Street


M2 6LE 0161 839 9907



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

Simon WoodsMay 3rd 2011.

Sounds great. How was the Malbec Sauvignon Blanc - white, pink or red?

Jane BaxterMay 3rd 2011.

A pity they haven't got rid of those awful plastic chandeliers left over from Ithaca! So Tacky.

Jonathan SchofieldMay 3rd 2011.

Simon, typing too quickly thinking too slowly. Thanks for letting us know, now changed.

AnonymousMarch 6th 2012.

Please get rid of the manager

NinanetnMay 17th 2012.

Went to vertigo with my wife for special lunch. We travelled from Preston for this meal and the waiteress, made us feel very uncomfortable. She was busy talking with other dinner about her yoga teacher and had no respect for any other dinners. Vertigo get your staff in order, or you are ON YOUR WAY OUT.

AnonymousMay 31st 2012.

completely agree with annon and ninaetn. poor f.o.h. staff and the manager is stuck right up her own ar*e. went once and will never step foot in again.

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