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63 Degrees Reviewed

Jonathan Schofield is as blown away as last time he went

Written by . Published on July 25th 2013.


63 Degrees Reviewed
 

THIS was good.

So very, very good.

If you've not been to 63 Degrees then please hasten there asap. Change your plans. Go.

It was all about the balance of the lemon juice, olive oil, whipped cream and the caviar working together; and the textures, which had delicacy, moistness and crunch.

I liked this place when it first opened in 2011 and after a seven month or so hiatus in visits, I've returned and it's even better. 

First the restaurant itself. It provides a pleasant space; a mix of robust simplicity with cast iron pillars and occasional exposed brick, and prettiness with the table cloths, lampshades and patterned wallpaper.  

Graceful interior

 

Graceful interior

The food is the main feature though.

For instance, the sea bass tartare (£12.80) with Imperial Oscietre caviar was pure food heaven. Crafted exquisitely and a joy to behold, it packed in flavours like people cramming into a Mini to get a Guinness World Record. It was jaw-droppingly good.

I'm giving it a ten because I simply can't fault it right down to the tart micro melons (no, I'd never heard of them before either) that gave definition to the fish. Then it was all about the balance of the lemon juice, olive oil, whipped cream and the caviar working together; and the textures, which had delicacy, moistness and crunch.

Get the fireworks out and celebrate. If you think it's expensive, prepare packed lunches on four days of the week and go and get this on the fifth.

Seabass tartare

 

Seabass tartare

The rabbit terrine with tarragon and spinach shoots was only a smidgin off another perfect score. The key here was the working into the terrine of foie gras, so again, as with the sea bass, there was a partnership of flavours and textures.

Apparently the rabbit is specially imported from France by a man called Warren. Ok the latter's name is not true but as Guillaume, one of the two chefs on the visit along with Sebastien, later told me, "We really want to make sure we have the ingredients we are happy with. These have to be of very good quality." Hence the French rabbits. Our bunnies clearly need to shape up.

All the homemade bread on the occasion was as good as it gets in central Manchester.

Rabbit terrine

 

Rabbit terrine

As for the rest, a small downer was a courgette veloute which was good but not much more than that, however the scallops with a devine mashed potato - fried perfectly so there was a tangy oily crust over the tender flesh beneath - were beauties.

A proper duck fillet was exquisitely prepared with the normally aggressive meat rendered delicate in flavour but still chockful with character. It broke under the knife with explosions of those dusky and distinctive duck tones. It was quackers but worth the bill if you forgive the manifold and childish puns.

This was accompanied by a polenta mattress and a perfectly judged raspberry reduction. 

Duck and polenta

 

Duck and polenta

A trio of desserts finally. Macaroon, raspberry and a magical chocolate fondant that split, opened, said hello and waved a little as it disappeared into the mouth. Again lush, luxurious, skilful.

Recommended wines include for the dessert a Muscat de Beaumes de Venise 37.5cl, 2009 (£28), otherwise good choices are a red for the duck maybe the St Estephe, Château Valrose ‘Cuvée Alienor’ 2005 (£39) and a white for the fish such as Pouilly-Fumé ‘L’Ammonite’, Domaine de Maltaverne, 2011 (£32).

By the way, many of the dishes sampled above were part of the Tuesday night deal, the Tasting Menu with five courses for £25. Bargain.

 Scallop and mash

Scallop and mash

We have some fabulous restaurants in Manchester at present.

Many are big hitters with big backers. Simon Rogan's French at the Midland, Australasia, Cicchetti, Abode, but 63 Degrees is family run by the Moreau famille including Alex the manager and Eric the principal chef. The mum helps out with service too.

Its location is a curious one, on Church Street in the Northern Quarter, just down from the Arndale, and subject to an eclectic cast of characters passing the door. But this somehow fits as well. Indie of spirit, indie in personality you could say. As stated above, if you've not been cancel some plans. Visit the place. 

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

ALL SCORED CONFIDENTIAL REVIEWS ARE IMPARTIAL AND PAID FOR BY THE MAGAZINE.  

63 Degrees, 20 Church Street, City, M41PN, 0161 832 5438

Rating: 16.75/20

Food: 8.75/10 (Tartare 10, terrine 9, courgette soup 7, scallops 8.5, duckling fillet 8.5, dessert platter 7.5)
Service: 4/5
Ambience: 4/5

PLEASE NOTE: 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 get carried away

63 Degrees from Church Street63 Degrees from Church Street

VelouteVeloute

Scallop and mashScallop and mash

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

LottieJuly 25th 2013.

To quote Napoleon Dynamite that bass really does look "beautiful".

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 25th 2013.

Gosh!

Hero
RevaulxJuly 25th 2013.

The usually excellent Jay Rayner really slagged this place off about 12 months ago. I thought the décor wasn't great but the food was lovely, and perfectly reasonable value-wise.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Wall-EJuly 25th 2013.

Thought it was bob granlese.

TimbucJuly 25th 2013.

It was indeed Bob Granleese. Filling in briefly before they got a permanent replacement in the absolutely exquisite Marina O'Loughlin.

Hero
RevaulxJuly 25th 2013.

So it was. Apologies to Mr Rayner

MeJuly 25th 2013.

Ive always really liked 63 degrees, food and service are always excellent. Definitely need another visit soon!

djfrenchukJuly 25th 2013.

Very good indeed. Btw can just point out the right spelling for "Guillaume" which is the French equivalent of William instead of "Guillem". (sorry for being a pain, he's my big brother!) David

1 Response: Reply To This...
EditorialJuly 25th 2013.

Noted and changed. Thanks.

Paul CarterJuly 25th 2013.

If this place is so good why isn't it in the Good Food Guide, or Michelin come to that? Went once, ordered the chicken sous vide, it wasn't sous vide, it was dry, as dry as my snail starter. This is one of the worst dining venues in Manchester and the thing I hate about Man Con constantly reviewing it is I'll now have to go again just on the off chance they have actually upped their game, which I doubt. Curse you Man Con!!!!!

6 Responses: Reply To This...
IanJuly 25th 2013.

so you didn't like it, and you believe it is one of the worst venues in manchester... but you're going to visit again i'm sure it was sous vide and then pan fried since '63 degrees' is the temperature of the water bath

FoodieJuly 25th 2013.

Agree , bread is bought in too , definitely not homemade ( they actually told me when asked)

Paul CarterJuly 26th 2013.

Yes I didn't like it Ian when I visited over a year ago, yes I believed it was one of the worst venues in Manchester, but if you look at what I wrote very closely you'll see that I intend to visit again on the off chance they have upped their game based on the review here (though if the comments posted on here are anything to go by it hasn't upped its game). Also you don't need to explain to me what sous vide is, I know what it is, I've had food cooked sous vide in various restaurants throughout the world. I can assure you my chicken wasn't cooked sous vide because I know what chicken cooked this way is supposed to taste like.

IanJuly 26th 2013.

where did I explain what sous vide is? I only questioned why they would cook their signature dish a different way. Perhaps the machine was broken. And there is no definitive taste for chicken cooked sous vide.

AnonymousOctober 21st 2013.

"This is one of the worst dining venues in Manchester" - what utter bollocks. Had two fab meals here. It's fantastic and the service charming.

ThebartenderDecember 10th 2014.

you are right it isn't "sous vide". It is cooked at 100 degrees until the center (of the chicken) reaches 70 degrees. you will have it in front of you at 63-65 degrees.

AnonymousJuly 25th 2013.

Looks decent here.

JimJuly 25th 2013.

I thought it was very very good. Better than "the French". I really enjoyed both the snails and 63 degree chicken!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Paul CarterJuly 26th 2013.

The French is now Simon Rogan at the Midland and it certainly ISN'T better than that.

JimJuly 27th 2013.

Yes I know it's Simon rogan. I thought 63 degrees was better.

AnonymousJuly 25th 2013.

I went here last Tuesday for the £25 tasting menu, and am sorry to say I was distinctly underwhelmed. Our menu was the same as the reviewer's, except for the starter, and although the food was pleasant enough, I certainly wasn't blown away. The restaurant was busy, so there were often long gaps between finishing one course and starting the next, and our waiter forgot to tell us they had run out of scallops, so we were presented with a mystery slither of fish instead, which turned out to be seabream upon further enquiry (and an apology for the waiter's oversight). The food, like I said, was nice enough but I certainly wouldn't launch into superlatives to describe it. Our experience did however prompt us to make another booking for the Tuesday Tasting Menu at Aumbry, which for the same money gave us not 5 courses (as advertised) but 9 plates of heaven in total, with all the little amuse bouche and tidbits last time we went, and the flavours, service and ambience were probably the best I have ever experienced. The company is certainly a little more refined and respectful of fellow diners too - the couple sat next to us at 63 degrees consisted of a bad-mannered pregnant lady who spent the majority of her dinner loudly taking work phone calls, whilst her seemingly long suffering husband was at a loose end. At 63 Degree's a la carte prices, that sort of behaviour should be discreetly discouraged so one can savour the food, atmosphere and company of dining companions.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Paul CarterJuly 26th 2013.

Totally agree with everything you say here. The Tuesday night tasting menu at Aumbry is sensational - I cannot believe this place hasn't got a Michelin star

GeorgeJuly 25th 2013.

My only visit to 63 Degrees, with two friends and good spend on beverage and three Tuesday's menus, which were very very poorly explained, resulted in very long argument with the Lady hostes about the bill, put us completely off this place. The Lady hostes in question was most abrupt, unsympathetic, rude, unfriendly, totally unapproachable, would not accept and listen to constructive comments and rather than just simply taking back the bill from us, she SNACHED it, with an utmost force, from my friend's hand. Friendly service??? in quality restaurant??? No, no, no!!! Parisian attitude so obvious that despite rather good/interesting food one does NOT want to return there. These two commodities, food and drink, are now almost everywhere very expansive and NEED to be well served, presented, give quality and value for money and most importantly need to be served with a friendly attitude and professional manner.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Stig OlsenDecember 9th 2013.

I really wouldn't let it spoil my meal. She probably had a hard day and didn't want to pretend to like people. If you like the food -go there - if you want a smile - go to McDonalds. That said, I found the service there very attentive and if anything a little obsequious

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