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Rogan At The French: MCR Food Ups Its Game

Step change in nosh and a controversial refurbishment

Written by . Published on March 8th 2013.

Rogan At The French: MCR Food Ups Its Game

SO HERE comes a sea change in Manchester food.

Rogan's food is a sweet assault on the senses.

We keep getting better as a city centre when it comes to food and drink. We are probably one of the best cities in Europe for range of food and for mid-range quality.

We have excellent fine dining at 63 Degrees and Michael Caines at Abode - outside the city centre at Aumbry too - but these hotspots are relatively isolated.

Simon Rogan at The French in The Midland Hotel takes this quality on, takes Manchester a foodie lurch forward.

The complexity, sophistication, craft and care shown in the dishes from the two star Michelin chef from Cartmel's L'Enclume is astounding. The pictures here are the evidence.

This is food as the complete culinary experience; taste, presentation but also, massively, aroma.

Ox in charcoal oil, pumpkin seed, kohlrabi and sunflower shootsOx in charcoal oil, pumpkin seed, kohlrabi and sunflower shoots

Rogan's food is a sweet assault on the senses.

But this is not a review of the meal. Confidential can't do that because the meal was hosted by The Midland and unlike others, media and bloggers, we can't score the food unless we pay for it ourselves. That would be cheating. 

But look at the pictures here folks. Wow.

The only note of controversy from an evening of jaw-dropping nosh and excellent service was the huge physical change wrought in The French. Those huge light-fittings are wonderful but the carpet is...er...challenging, fake timber, a fabric lamination. Yer what?

But this isn't a review, as we say, this is a documentary in pictures of the most exciting food opening in Manchester for a long while. 

The French re-opens to the public on Tuesday 12 March. The opening times will be Tuesday–Saturday, with a lunch menu served between noon and 2pm, and dinner sitting starting at 6.30pm and finishing at 9.30pm. Prices: lunch, £29 for three courses, £55 for six courses; dinner, £55 for six courses or £79 for ten courses. 

Confidential broke the news about Rogan in this article - click here.

To book for a meal at The French - click here.

The design of The French definitely has ballsThe design of The French definitely has balls

Hazelnut biscuit, smoked eel, leek, onion ashes - yes onion ashesHazelnut biscuit, smoked eel, leek, onion ashes - yes onion ashes

Butter on a cragButter on a crag

Artichoke broth with truffle dumplings, bacon, radish, hazelnutArtichoke broth with truffle dumplings, bacon, radish, hazelnut

Fresh crab and caramelised cabbage, horseradish, chicken skin with crow garlicFresh crab and caramelised cabbage, horseradish, chicken skin with crow garlic


Wine for the tasting menu - on this occasionWine for the tasting menu - on this occasion

Early spring offerings, vegetables, beetroot, flowers, lovage saltEarly spring offerings, vegetables, beetroot, flowers, lovage salt

Fabric lamination carpet - good idea?Fabric lamination carpet - good idea?

Sole fillet with onions, smoke scallops, parsley, leeksSole fillet with onions, smoke scallops, parsley, leeks

Studded Cumbrian rose veal, blewitt mushrooms, split pea, sorrelStudded Cumbrian rose veal, blewitt mushrooms, split pea, sorrel

Pear, meadowsweet and rye, buttermilk, linseedsPear, meadowsweet and rye, buttermilk, linseeds

Meringue with sarsaparilla - the most difficult word to spell in the worldMeringue with sarsaparilla - the most difficult word to spell in the world

The French paintjobThe French paintjob

The French - as it wasThe French - as it was

The French - let there be lightThe French - let there be light

Razor clam reversalRazor clam reversal

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

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

AnonymousMarch 8th 2013.

This looks the absolute business!!! I cannot wait to try it! So excited!!

David AddisonMarch 8th 2013.

According to my twitter feed 3 of you went from Mancon. When it comes time to review it can you really guarantee that it will be independent and unbiased? It's the same with your continued praise for San Carlo,it's nothing special, I go most weeks once or twice, maybe familiarity breeds contempt and its ok as a venue busy bustling etc .

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 8th 2013.

If san carlo is not so great what on earth are you doing there once or twice a week?

AnonymousMarch 8th 2013.

Oh dear someone's tired

AnonymousMarch 8th 2013.

What an absolute idiot

GordoMarch 11th 2013.

And, as it happens, there were two of us with one tweeting two accounts.

David AddisonMarch 8th 2013.

Another point, on my twitter feed you all very kindly photographed the various dishes, is this the norm now? Do all journalists on freebies sit there iPhone in hand snapping away,just eat the bloody stuff and describe it ,or are you trying to make us all jealous?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldMarch 8th 2013.

I didn't tweet a single image of the food. I just kept my nose in the trough

GordoMarch 11th 2013.

David, I am not a journalist, I am a writer who has been involved in the Food and Booze industry for 35 years. And I don't score 'freebies'.

Jonathan SchofieldMarch 8th 2013.

David, it will be as unbiased as humanly possible. In other words we'll not let them know we're going and then walk in and pay for the meal. Maybe though the allotted critic from the team should wear a disguise. I think Gordo would actually look ok dressed as Napoleon.

ChorltongalMarch 8th 2013.

Food looks amazing but not sure about the decor. I think prefered it before and the new tables and chairs are horrid. The carpets a total minger too. But - the food, oh the food!!!! OH MY!

AnonymousMarch 8th 2013.

I noticed the chairs in Gordo's tweets last night and nearly died, I just assumed the furniture for the restaurant hadn't arrived yet! Awful! Food looks amazing though, booked in for the 30th cant wait!

Hungry HossMarch 8th 2013.

I love the tables as they remind me of L'Enclume's - not so sure about the look of the chairs but they are very comfortable... Kind of important when you're enjoying a two hour plus meal.

AnonymousMarch 8th 2013.

Looks amazing in every way. Can't wait!

Manc GuyMarch 8th 2013.

Like the MIF 2013, are the same menus being offered at £12 to people on low income? Of course, it would be on an 'honesty basis'. ;)

AnonymousMarch 8th 2013.

No tablecloths either!

1 Response: Reply To This...
jarvissaMarch 9th 2013.

Duly noted (and disappointed) here too. I'm surprised at the French giving in to this naff new fine-dining fad. Bring back the crisp whites!

David BishopMarch 8th 2013.

Yeah this looks great... have never eaten at L'enclume but a trip to Rogan & Company was amazing.

How long will Rogan be around for, will he be actively involved or just pop in from time to time? Really hope he is more hands on than a lot of big names (MPW) have been at "name" restaurants in Manchester before.

AnonymousMarch 8th 2013.

A welcome addition to Manchester. Looking forward to 30th when I can sample the delights. And I love the carpet...carpet but flooring!!flooring but carpet!!
Bloody Genius !!!

Yum YumMarch 8th 2013.

I was there yesterday OMG amazing - finally may we achieve a Michellin star in Manchester CC

AnonymousMarch 8th 2013.

rich the mancon praise coming now since they slammed l'enclume a couple of years back ... the worship of a false prophet or something i remember was it?

1 Response: Reply To This...
GordoMarch 11th 2013.

Four years ago methinks. L'Enclume is completely different now; I went to Rogan & Co last year, and praised it to heaven, great food. Interviewing Simon last week, he said "It's all about growing the perfect carrot on our farm, then doing f*** all with it...." When I go in and pay for it, believe me, it will be based on what I got served on the night and I will be honest. I will also have paid for it.

JoanMarch 8th 2013.

I too sometimes find that I have ashes to serve. Never intentionally though, at least so far. Thanks for the tip.

paulMarch 8th 2013.

I would like to go on a Saturday but I don't think I can fit 10 courses in, been slim Jim and all that.Is that not force feeding.Half of Posh n becks wont be able to either !.

Elizabeth StewartMarch 8th 2013.

I have eaten at L'Enclume in Cartmel several times over past 2 years and it is always a delight/taste sensory experience- it will be interesting to see if this can been carried over to the the Midland. After all Simon can't be in two (seperated by some 50 miles or so) places at the same time!
Will be booking at the Midland soon to do a comparison/review

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 11th 2013.

Yes Simon has sucsessfully run a pop up in london alongisde two places in cartmel. Manchester should prove easy.

TimbucMarch 12th 2013.

I agree. I went to the pop-up, Roganic, in London and the quality was excellent. Wasn't quite as good as L'Enclume but foodwise it was a close-run thing, most of the difference was in ambience.

BLR_3March 8th 2013.

Very similar menu to lenclume. Lots of the same processes and ingredients as you'd expect. Michelin star material.

1 Response: Reply To This...
BLR_3March 8th 2013.

Think lenclume would be better value actually!

Terri MorleyMarch 11th 2013.

what have they done to it, it looks so cold now and not at all lavish as it was. The French always stood out from the others with the lovely carpets and table cloths etc. now it looks just like all the others. Very disappointed.

1 Response: Reply To This...
TimbucMarch 12th 2013.

I always hated the decor before and some of the new looks brilliant. I love those crystal Death Stars. However, some of it looks, well, odd.

Chris AMarch 12th 2013.

...the refurb looks like it was done on the cheap by 60 minute makeover...even Nick Knowles would have done a better job

Chris AMarch 12th 2013.

has it been styled as an airport waiting lounge?

AnonymousMarch 13th 2013.

This is a personal only view as a once regular diner in The French so please dont berate me for what I say.

I dined there last week at a pre opening dinner and firstly the coures I had bar 1 ( the soup) were excellent, but I much prefer to choose what I want to eat from an a la carte menu and not what the chef wishes to serve up.

The new decor has a very cold feel to it, and not as before where it gave you a feeling of oppulance from the minute walked in. The tables are small and with the lack of linen have the feel of a garden table and the cutlery is even worse " Stainless Steel " and not the silver as before.

There is nothing French about the restaurant anymore and the name should be changed to reflect that, as French is misleading to what is being served.

I hope I am wrong but once people have had the experience I cannot see anyone bar a few, becoming a regular customer.

To me this is all about the ego of the chef and not what the paying customer wants.

Lets see if the concept lasts more than a year or so

1 Response: Reply To This...
Gordo Knows WhoMarch 13th 2013.

meant to put GKW and not anon

IanMarch 14th 2013.

Just booked to go on a Saturday night in a few weeks. Going to L'Enclume in May so looking forward to both.

Janet BurrowMarch 17th 2013.

Oh I can't wait, L'Enclume is a fabulous tasting experience, let's see if the French is of the same calibre

pollolocoApril 2nd 2013.

Went on saturday night and had the 10 course menu....a 3 hour ordeal!! The food was decent but I have to say it's a bit of a foodie trainspotter place.

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