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Thomas Restaurant Review

Lynda Moyo forgoes Northern Quarter quirk for quality but ends up a bit pea’d off

Written by . Published on October 25th 2012.


Thomas Restaurant Review

CHOOSING where to eat in the Northern Quarter is no easy decision these days. From the comfort of the Koffee Pot right through to the sophistication of 63 Degrees, it’s one big box of Quality Street that you want to dip into at every opportunity.

On the opposite side of the table, Thea’s Yorkshire lamb shank (£15.95) seemed to be in contention with my peas for the title of food you could use as a weapon.

Thomas Restaurant has however, always been a bit of a toffee penny for me – a second choice when all my favourites have been devoured. That was until one abysmally wet Tuesday, desperate to get indoors, fellow Confidential writer Thea Euryphaessa and I decided to scrap the search for the ‘purple one’ and rip off the Thomas St wrapper.

As predicted, it was a safe option. Quiet and clean, it’s the type of place you’d take a business client for lunch by day, but if the superior cocktail menu is anything to go by, this is also the place for pre-drinks in the evening.

We went for a Joan Collins and an Amaretto Sour (£7 each) and both made a welcome change from the tiki takeover we're used to in the Northern Quarter, with its syrup slathered menus. Fresh and feisty with a mixture of gin, grapes and sage, Joan Collins was as dramatic as its namesake – the perfect palate cleansing aperitif to the starters.

Artichoke RisottoArtichoke Risotto

The artichoke risotto (£6.50) came with a runny, crumb coated duck egg yolk that soaked into the smooth, buttery artichoke leaves and risotto beneath.  Meanwhile Thea’s choice of potted smoked duck breast (£6.50) jazzed up with a crafty combo of prosciutto and chorizo was equally impressive, piled high on a bed of delightful “farty beans”. That’s Thea’s name for them by the way, not the restaurant’s although she wasn’t the only one with a sense of humour.

Potted Smoked Duck BreastPotted Smoked Duck Breast

From the moment we walked in, the staff waiting on were chipper and chatty but most importantly, aware of our needs. There was no hurry to order, but rather an immediate rapport that allowed us to lead our own lunch. Thomas has got the balance of formal and friendly just right.

Unfortunately the main courses were less good. Fish and chips (£12.95) isn’t exactly the most adventurous of orders, granted, but it’s staples such as this that should be a walk in the park for a restaurant priding itself on serving up ‘everyone’s favourite dishes’.

My favourite dish featured an albeit fluffy, but disappointing batter that let down the tender white fish inside. More annoyingly, was the temperature that was teetering on tepid with chips that longed for another sesh in the fryer and mushy peas so congealed they’d formed cracks.

Fish And ChipsFish And Chips

On the opposite side of the table, Thea’s Yorkshire lamb shank (main picture - £15.95) seemed to be in contention with my peas for the title of food you could use as a weapon.

“It’s dried out within an inch of its crusty life” she said, battling with the rock solid lamb shank and its undercooked sidekick of dauphinoise. Beaten into submission we both downed tools and looked for a sweet saviour.

These came by the way of the cheesecake of the day (£5.75) and the Thomas Tiramisu (£5.75).

Like the starters and contrary to the mains, the desserts had been made with due care and attention. The tiramisu was a huge slab of sweetly soaked sponge with lashings of fresh cream, while the cheesecake, although limited in biscuit base, had an unusually salty yet sweet quality to it in this obviously homemade recipe. The chef clearly loves his puddings.

TiramisuTiramisu

Despite disappointing with the mains on this occasion (we'll be back in the evening to sample some more), Thomas seems to deserve its position in the Northern Quarter.

The straightforward nature of its appearance and menu don’t allow for too many slips and dips. The high quality starters and desserts show the talent's there. As with the toffee penny, Thomas St will always be a welcome find in an eclectically mixed box.

Follow Lynda on Twitter @lyndamoyo

ALL SCORED CONFIDENTIAL REVIEWS ARE IMPARTIAL. 

Thomas St Restaurant & Bar, 49-51 Thomas Street, City, M4 1NA. 

Rating: 13/20

Food: 5/10
Service: 5/5 
Ambience: 3/5

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: we've got carried away.


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

AnonymousOctober 25th 2012.

If you are a Guardian reading beardy this is another fine example of Northern Quarter hype! I'm all for independent restaurants as long as they are of decent quality and notrun on a shoestring or operated by twitterati he'll bent on free advertising for a 3oz burger and a bit of lettuce. Done properly 63degrees style then these places might survive but otherwise they will die . Running a quality placetaes investment in premises and people.

AnonymousOctober 25th 2012.

At those prices you can eat at The Northern Quarter Restaurant which is so much better.

Lynda Moyo shared this on Facebook on October 25th 2012.
Poster BoyOctober 25th 2012.

...anyone else bored with 'pile it high' presentation?

AnonymousOctober 25th 2012.

Everyone at Mancon, you are missing a real gem, go to The Old Bell , on Huddersfield rd in Oldham , I've been banging on about it for a couple of years, it knocks all these Northern Quarter places into a cocked hat ,the food is excellent,the beer good and it's filled with normal people!

Reader XxxOctober 26th 2012.

My gut feeling about this place was right...

Irish MancOctober 29th 2012.

I've eaten here loads of times and always found the food to be superb. I'm vegetarian so can't comment on the meat dishes myself but my friend who's not always found it tasty. I will definitely go back. Amazing staff too. Really friendly (without being too much!)

AnonymousNovember 5th 2012.

you are having a laugh about the old bell - I live in Delph where its located and its average at best - more on the poor side!

M-Dog ManchesterOctober 2nd 2013.

Oh no Thomas! Just a bad day on the mains? I've had plenty of tip top meals there, last years Xmas menu was one of the best I sampled in the city... And such grrrrreat value too! AND... I'm sick of nachos and burgers and pulled pork and all that garbage, like LLLB serves up. BORING! Walked into Walrus, saw new menu, walked right out. NEXT! Oldham?! That's outside the city centre right?! No not going there! Are you freakin' mad?! Grrrrrrr! PS. How do I get my photo on the left?!

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