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Thomas Restaurant's New Spring Menu Ducks In

Jonathan Schofield samples the lunchtime menu and loves it with beans

Published on March 28th 2012.

Thomas Restaurant's New Spring Menu Ducks In

THOMAS Restaurant And Bar celebrated its second birthday with a spring menu and a new ‘after work’ bar offer.

The winner of City Life’s Best Newcomer Award in 2010, Thomas has a loyal following due to its mixture of crowd-pleasing  yet distinctive dishes.

The kitchen is led by classically trained head chef Midi Harmim who hails from Morocco. With twenty five years’ restaurant experience including the former Gilt House in Altrincham, Lounge 10 and Brasserie St Pierre, Midi combines the influences he has picked up to produce a skilful yet inclusive menu.  

New items on the menu include: Lobster  bisque – a luxurious, smooth soup with lobster, tomatoes, butter and white wine, £6.95; Potted smoked duck breast  -  Gressingham duck breast with prosciutto roulade, borlotti beans and chorizo salsa, £6.50; Lightly devilled chicken livers – pan fried livers with Tabasco and Worcester sauce on thick toast, £5.50; Ham Hock Terrine -  with fresh piccalilli, beetroot salad and melba toast £5.95; Artichoke Risotto – marinated artichoke risotto with crumbed duck egg yolk, £6.50 or £11.95 as a main; Oven roasted  spring chicken – with asparagus, puy lentils and shallots in fresh spring vegetable broth, £14.95; Yorkshire Lamb Shank – with gratin dauphinoise , braised savoy cabbage and roasted chestnuts, crispy pancetta and redcurrant masala jus £15.95; Pan fried fillet of Whitby Plaice – with fondant potato, coriander bisque and navarin of root vegetables, £14.75; Mushroom and cherry tomato masala – wild mushrooms slowly cooked in a rich masala sauce with pilaf rice and a cool cucumber yoghurt, £11.95; Thomas chocolate éclair  - with fresh strawberries and Chantilly cream, £5.95; Tart tatin £5.50.

A special offer has been launched to coincide with the new menu, between noon and 7pm Monday to Saturday choose two courses (most starters, mains and desserts are included) for just £13.95.


The new menu is complemented apparently by a small cocktail menu.

April also sees the launch of ‘Thomas After Work’ – running from 4-7pm Monday to Friday. Cocktails are £5 not £7 and include Amaretto sour, Negroni, Titian Cosmopolitan, Bellini, Espresso Martini. 

    After work bar snacks include chunky hand cut chips with garlic and lemon mayonnaise, £3.50; Boscaiola olives with tapenade and melba toast, £3.50; calamari tempura with garlic and lemon mayonnaise, £5.95; rare beef sandwich with horseradish and rocket on crusty bloomer, £6.25; spicy falafels with minty yoghurt dip, £5.25; a selection of mini pizzas from £4.50. 

    Contact Thomas on 0161 839 7033 at 49-51 Thomas Street, Manchester M4 1NA. Website.

    Confidential recommends

    We scooted along to taste the menu and to give the thumbs up or not. The new dishes were robust and hearty and showed off Chef Harmim's talents very well.

    Two dishes we'll be running back for. 

    The potted smoked duck breast with prosciutto roulade, borlotti beans and chorizo salsa is a steal at £6.50. Intense, sultry and smokey flavours mingle with different textures to produce an immense foodie sense of contentment.

    Meanwhile with the marinated artichoke risotto with crumbed duck egg yolk Harmim has produced one of the most wholesome and generously flavoured vegetarian dishes in the North - this dish is shown on the main picture here. You get powerpunch tastebud tickling from ther artichoke but better again a soft yolk encased in breadcrumbs that breaks like daybreak over the risotto.


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

    Alex ForsythMarch 28th 2012.

    Hope the service was somewhat better than the shocking effort we received last night. They were more intent on chatting to their friends than actually serving, half or dozen menu selections were "off", and they generally just didn't seem to be bothered. We won't be going back.

    1 Response: Reply To This...
    Conan The BarbedAryanMarch 28th 2012.

    Alex it's not an excuse but they'd been closed during the day for a party so maybe they should have closed for the rest of the night as well.

    Alex ForsythMarch 29th 2012.

    Thanks Conan. As you say, it's not an excuse. I paid on Tuesday exactly what I would have paid at any other time and would have expected the same value for money, service etc. Never again!!

    Andrew HanleyMarch 29th 2012.

    Nine pounds for a glass of wine and a pint of Becks!!!

    I nearly fell off my chair!

    quichelorraineMarch 29th 2012.

    Went for the 3rd time on Sunday, and for the 3rd time had bad service. Slow and innatentive. Asked for an ashtray when we sat down and said to my partner, bet they never bring one, despite saying she would bring one right out. Did they bring one? Nope, not throughout the whole meal, despite seeing me smoking. Anyway, tried it 3 times in two years, each time given them a chance. Won't be going back.

    1 Response: Reply To This...
    MartinMarch 29th 2012.

    Have had exactly the same Quiche, great food but woeful in service, in fact the two times ive been ive never paid for the whole meal. however tempting it looks, reading these reviews, nothing has changed

    Alex ForsythMarch 29th 2012.

    I'm pleased that Quichelorraine's experience matches ours. There's a fine line between camp banter and 'tude. Thomas Restaurant also need to learn that they're not on Old Compton Street in London or on Canal Street. Chatting and bitching with their mates instead of serving isn't on. Anymore than serving three dinners out of our four without so much of an apology that the fourth would be on it's way. Sloppy, lazy, and overly-expensive for a distinctly average eatery. We deserve better.

    David NuttallMarch 29th 2012.

    Similar experience.
    Terrible service. I seemed as if I was getting in the way of the Staff's evening.
    It slow and disorganised, took them ages to get me a table - despite it not being busy, made "close to the bone" comments when we were sat at the bar (which I am sure would have easily offended some people) - and to top it all, when the splilled one of our drinks over the table and my bag, they didnt respond with appologies and quick actions, but instead found it hillarious how clumsy they were and had a laugh about it.

    Whole front of house team need a wake up call. Totally unprofessional.

    Harriet CunninghamMarch 29th 2012.

    This is harsh beyond belief. I rarely write on but felt compelled. Thomas is actually pretty good I've been around 12 times now, ok so its pretty "relaxed" on service, but no-where near mentioned above, sure it could be better though.

    I actually think the food is great, especially the 2 course sunday roast deal. And by the way, anything that is done up fresh is going to have limited quanties, if you want unlimited supplies of everything on the menu there are plenty of chain restaurants with portions of food stacked in the freezer.

    1 Response: Reply To This...
    CraigMarch 29th 2012.

    here here

    AnonymousMarch 29th 2012.

    the times we've been, the food has always been great, once it's finally arrived - once or twice we've waited up to an hour BETWEEN courses (we only frequent when we know we've a good amount of time to kill or aren't fussed about a longer wait for service)

    however more often than not, the experience has matched those above: disinterested and disorganised staff and completely inept service.

    my main memory is one time sitting near the owner of the place (a fairly conspicuous man, what with the MASSIVE portrait of himself hanging on the staircase) - he commanded the complete attention of the staff to impress his guests, whilst the rest of us - his customers - suffered even worse service than usual.

    only upside to the staff's ineptitude is we've never been charged the right amount any time we've visited - always to our benefit (we figured the two free bottles of wine we ended up receiving almost compensated for the experience. almost.)

    Jon DootsonMarch 29th 2012.

    Eat In Thomas Majority of the time!
    Must say the food is very good Quality
    The staff are friendly and always go that extra mile!!
    Looking forward to trying the Menu!!

    1 Response: Reply To This...
    AnonymousApril 2nd 2012.

    Jon Dootson from Classic Builders who built Thomas????

    AnonymousMarch 29th 2012.

    The last time i went to Thomas Restaurant was when i took my girlfriend there for our anniversary at the beginning of March and i must say im really shocked at these comments.
    Me and the missus are foodies and so eat out quite regularly and so have comprised a game we play where by we work out the tip depending on the quality of our night starting at 12% and knocking off 1% for everything that goes wrong.
    At the end of the night Thomas restaurant and their bunch of very friendly staff received our full 12%. After the front of house (a very smiley red headed girl) engaged us in conversation and we stated that it was a special occasion we were both given a free glass of champagne. BONUS!
    When we got our starter my first thought was that it was on the small side but after finishing my dessert (a wonderful vanilla cheesecake) i was glad of the fact it was just a few mouthfuls.
    The fact that the staff didn't come over to often apart from when i signalled for their attention is a bonus in my eyes as it was a night that suppose to be about me and are las and all the staff and meal did was complement that fact rather than over bearing it (a rookie mistake that many a restaurant has fallen too)

    I will be going back, if only to see what could possibly have happened in order for it to fall from such heights, i will as always, reserve judgement until my own eyes and belly say otherwise.

    BaggioMarch 29th 2012.

    nah, i've been a few times and never had what i'd call bad service.

    Little PeaMarch 29th 2012.

    Dad and I ate in Thomas on Tuesday evening and it was an absolute pleasure. Service was warm and attentive. Admittedly there were dishes unavailable but the waiter was apologetic, explained the reasons and took time to describe other options. Our choices (plaice and steak) were cooked perfectly. I will return for lunchtime vibes in the sun.

    Food EnvyMarch 29th 2012.

    I've been to Thomas a few times since it opened as I live in the area and I was never disappointed. I like the fact that the staff are not uptight, I like good banter and a bit of conversation.

    I have been there with my wife and kids and I was surprised that they offered us exactly what my daughters wanted in small portions.

    My wife was offered a wheat free meal - very similar to what she ordered and she thought it was delicious.
    We were tended appropriately and the waiter went the extra mile for our bellies. We will keep going there and keep tipping!

    DaveMarch 29th 2012.

    Thomas Bar and Restaurant situated in the highly competitive region of Manchesters northern quarter is at the top of its game.

    During my short business visit to Manchester I was lucky enough to walk past and thought I'd give it a go...

    I opted for the 2 courses for £13.95 which was good value and tasty.

    The Bar tender offered me a glass of the Australian Shiraz which complimented my Pork belly superbly well, recommendations for meal and wine combo's goes a long way, and is practically unheard of in some Restaurants.

    Looking forward to my next visit to Manchester and will drop by again now doubt.

    Alex ForsythMarch 29th 2012.

    Just goes to show how one restaurant can divide opinion. Still. they should surely try to strive for some level of consistency?...

    TaniaMarch 29th 2012.

    I really like the place, particularly the food, and the air of casual intelligence.

    1 Response: Reply To This...
    AnonymousMarch 29th 2012.

    I had a great time there too. Nice relaxed atmosphere, lovely food and great customer service. Would be there again for sure!!

    Jamie EmanuelMarch 29th 2012.

    I don't believe this is harsh at all. I ordered duck spring rolls as a starter - which I can only describe as bite size, and something akin to one of £1.00 party food deals. I ordered a main of sirloin steak - as did the other three people in my party. I requested medium rare - and received a very rare (almost mooing) piece of steak. It took me 5 minutes to get the attention of one of the two serving staff (and the place wasn't even half full). She took my meal away and said it would be back in two minutes. 10 minutes later it returned - and I was left to finish my meal while everybody waited for me as they had already finished. The desert of chocolate parfait tasted good - bood the presentation was disgusting. It looked like something my once alive steak may have dropped in a field. To then have a 10% service charge added to the bill was daylight robbery. I will not be returning again - and to the waiter with the attitude who tends to orbit around one or two punters and flirts with them, please stop asking people to guess your nationality - its boring, irrelevant and highly irritating.

    Lisa DalgarnoMarch 29th 2012.

    Who is Alex Forsyth? A message to him - Is he some imbecilic rival restaurant owner bitterly attempting to have a go at what is, lets face it, a restaurant that has pushed forwards the only independent area left in our city! Give these people a little credit for having a go, taking a massive risk and not being 'Yes Sir!' perfect, if you want chain food junk quick smart, go and eat in the Printworks! I've had a number of great lunches and evenings here and always had great food and service, never felt rushed - which I appreciate. I also find your references to places on Old Compton Street and Canal Street mark you out to be rather homophobic - of what relevance?

    1 Response: Reply To This...
    Jonathan Schofield - editorMarch 30th 2012.

    Steady Lisa, no personal comments

    JoanMarch 29th 2012.

    Thomas is one of three restaurants in Manchester where I have unwittingly found myself eating nuts. I'm not allergic, I just dislike the taste, but I do expect that nuts will be mentioned on the menu when used. Apart from that I quite like the food, and am happy to give it another try. Lisa - we were going to meet up for lunch soon. How about here?

    March 29th 2012.

    Is Thomas perfect? Not exactly. But Thomas is the sort of place most people would like to be able to call their local. The secret of running a good restaurant is to get the basics right. Get someone with good taste who knows how to cook. Find cheery, efficient waiters. Get the latter to bring what the what the former has made to the tables and charge a reasonable sum for it. I have eaten in Thomas regularly since it opened. Not out of convenience but because I choose to. Any little niggles I have had. Have been quickly rectified with good grace. Some of the above comments are more subjective than objective. What happened to constructive criticism? Rather than jibes about one of the owners supposed eccentricity. Shouldn't we be embracing independents with a bit of personality rather than the beige, bland chains that are taking over our city centre?

    Mark CollinsMarch 30th 2012.

    I think it's a shame the comments are getting personal and that shouldn't be allowed... I love Thomas, it's the only more up market place for drinks/snacks or quick dinner in the area. I guess as it hasn't been reviewed since it opened two years ago then the flood gates have opened somewhat, and am only posting this as I think some balance needs to be restored in supporting local businesses that are offering more than the usual chains in the rest of the city.

    Jonathan Schofield - editorMarch 30th 2012.

    You're right. No more personal comments. And for the record I have been to Thomas at lunch about five times and at dinner twice and enjoyed all the occasions. These have never been hosted aside from the tasting session described in the article above, and I've not always been recognised. It's a good restaurant.

    AnonymousMarch 30th 2012.

    Thomas is a welcomed addition to the restaurant and bar circuit in Manchester and some of the "negative rants" above I find bitchy and rather unnecessary - I suggest rather than venting from behind your PC in your enclosed office, contact the restaurant directly. I have eaten in Thomas many times and I have always found the service to be upbeat and pleasant, the food and drinks are always of a high quality and they do change there menu to keep it fresh which is brilliant. I totally agree with Lisa's comments and many others who find the venue refreshing and above all Independent. Keep up the great work, and Im looking forward to visiting again soon when the new menu launches

    quichelorraineMarch 30th 2012.

    Just to defend myself. I've been three times and all three times I've had bad service. When people say my comments are unnecessary I find that quite offensive. This has been my experience of the restaurant so I think I am allowed to give my opinion. And I'm really not some stuck up w****r who expects everything to be perfect and complains at the smallest thing. I'm pretty laid back and having paid my way through Uni waiting on I am usually very sympathetic to waiting on staff, particularly when a restaurant is very busy. As it was, when we ate on Sunday there were maybe 6 or 7 other tables in when we were there so they were hardly overrun.... As well as the ashtray incident, it also took until I was down to the last few mouthfulls of my meal before they brought the sauce I requested......which is a major pet hate of mine!

    Whilst I think it is great that independent restaurants in the NQ are thriving, was there not a whole article here on MC a couple of months ago about the very topic of bad customer service in the area? For me,

    Alex ForsythMarch 30th 2012.

    Homophobic Lisa? I'm a gay man, so that could be a little tricky!!

    And I don't appreciate being called an imbecile for voicing an honest opinion of what had been a very expensive, disappointing meal.

    As for raising my issues with the restaurant directly. They were emailed, but have so far failed to respond.

    I'm equally very keen to support independents (where they are worthy of support) as followers of my comments in other forums will testify.

    1 Response: Reply To This...
    Jamie EmanuelMarch 30th 2012.

    Here here Alex - I find the comments made by Lisa offensive and uneducated. Expressing opinions in this forum should not result in accusations of a personal and distasteful nature.

    I've always found your comments in these forums to be well balanced and open.

    Please carry on!

    Paul AstillMarch 30th 2012.

    As a director of Thomas I would like to point out that Alex clearly hasn't emailed our restaurant and I have personally checked all emails. I find it a little sad that he and his boyfriend Jamie Emanuel choose to make comments on a public forum rather than fill in a comment card or mention their concerns to a member of my management! Whilst I can appreciate we are not perfect and am all for taking on board and listening to intelligent constructive criticism I actually find some of the comments above to be personally insulting, irrelevant and unnecessary.

    Alex ForsythMarch 30th 2012.

    Thanks for the response Paul. I did email but perhaps used an incorrect address. If you could let me have a correct one, I will email you directly to discuss.

    As for comments cards, these were not obvious, or offered to us, and your staff (on the occasion we visited) were not especially approachable and seemed dismissive of our issues when these were raised at the time.

    Paul AstillMarch 30th 2012.

    Alex the restaurant email address is info@thomasrestaurant.co.uk

    Alex ForsythMarch 30th 2012.

    Thanks Paul. I will email over the weekend.

    AnonymousMarch 30th 2012.

    now then ladies thats wasn't difficult was it .............

    1 Response: Reply To This...
    Alex ForsythMarch 31st 2012.

    Certainly harder than posting anonymously, lady....

    Helen HipkissApril 4th 2012.

    I too have been to Thomas restaurant on numerous occassions and have had no reason to fault it, the menu is great the prices competetive. After living in the NQ for many many years when we only had one restaurant to choose from (apart from the curry houses) then they should be applauded for opening a restaurant rather than just another bar.

    As for the service and the staff .... well its the Northern Quarter, the area prides itself on being individual with personality .. and I find the staff sum this up fantastically .. they remember us welcome us back and I would prefer to have a bit of "banter" with the staff ... this is what makes you want to return.

    MeApril 4th 2012.

    Foods hit and miss, service is hit and miss.... I just dont bother anymore, much better, more consistent places in the area!

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