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Brasserie Chez Gerard: Full Circle

Café Uno, the non-descript Italian on the corner of Albert Square, has been replaced by a swanky new brasserie; Chez Gerard. Gordo puts it to the test.

Written by . Published on February 19th 2007.


Brasserie Chez Gerard: Full Circle

Café Uno (some wag used to call it café ‘oh no’) has closed. It was hogging possibly the best spot for a restaurant in Manchester, on Albert Square opposite the Town Hall. The group who own it have decided to bring their Chez Gerard brand back and sack off the rather bland brand that is Café Oh No. Whoops, it’s sticking.

Gordo likes the way they have spruced it up. It’s light and airy, with a bar on the left with a couple of big, comfy sofas if you fancy a Bloody Mary (very good as well), and the restaurant on the right with a mixture of tables. The club tables for four at the back are a little tight if you are a fat sod like Gordo, but great for ladies who lunch. In fact Gordo stumbled across the loveable Helen Thomas on his first day there, diving into the steaks. The Rib Eye on the bone (Cote De Boeuf £18.95) that Gordo grappled with was fantastic. The quality of the beef is sky high.

Three visits so far have resulted in a couple of truly fabulous burgers, one straight (£7.95), another actually a lamb burger with roasted peppers and melted goats cheese (£9.95). Buns were excellent (the Grill on the Alley is hard to beat for burgers, particularly the Kobe, but they let themselves down a bit with their buns, dry and crumbly) whilst the fries were as good as Paris.

A French Onion Soup (£4.60) arrived a little cool, but was returned and put in a nuclear reactor. Melted cheese over slices of baguettes. Gordo like the look of the Le Demi Poulet Grille Nature ou Frotte au Sel (£9.95); this is half a boned corn fed chicken. There are too few roasted chickens in town to Gordo’s mind, lets get a few on the menu boys instead of a bit of breast. Leg ‘n thighs - far better! If you have tried Gerard’s roast chicken, let Gordo know by ranting below.

Bouncing around a bit I know, but the rather seventies Petit Camembert Chaud (£7.45) was baked in its box, delivered with wheat crackers and crudités (celery sticks, we could have done with a bit of boat pushing here to include radishes, for example); however, a pleasant enough dish this.

Onglet, (£10.95), a French cut of steak (from what part of the beast Gordo can’t recall) was well received; it’s a tougher cut than our sirloins, rib eyes and fillets but is full of flavour. You get to choose either béarnaise or pepper sauce. The pepper was excellent.

Some good wines on the list, including a Petit Chablis (£17.60), 2005, which you can take by the glass but Gordo’s advice is to buy the bottle, much better value. Take it home with you if you can’t finish it. The Marques de Morano Rioja Reserve 2001 (£25.50) was a good slurp as well.

Puddings, well Gordo had a really well executed Tarte au Citron, nice kick to it and includes crème fraiche and a blackcurrant puree.

Service headed up by an old friend, Mark Stewart, is charming. Small mistakes are made but quickly put right; as always the Polish staff show most of the English how to do it right, they are a credit.

This is an excellent venue for all occasions, is open throughout the day and a welcome addition to Albert Square. People will be fighting for the outside tables in the summer.

13.75/20

Respectable score for a southern chain, a Gordo Go.

Brasserie Chez Gerard
Albert Square
0161 834 7633
www.brasseriechezgerard.co.uk

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AnonymousFebruary 19th 2007.

My husband and I have been to Chez Gerard twice now, and each time the food was great. We used some fantastic Sante discount vouchers (as did the majority of other diners). The spicy lamb burger is excellent - plentiful and with the goats cheese - delish! We'll be going back.On a minus point - the service is a bit slack, even when the restaurant is almost empty. If they were to get this right, I think people may be tempted to return.

MariaFebruary 19th 2007.

Hey, We're still the same restaurant but have had a bit of a facelift and a name change to Brasserie Gerard (minus the Chez) New menu too with some great pastries etc.

ChickFebruary 19th 2007.

Anyone know what's happening at this site? Looks like a total re-furb - new image or new restaurant? just curious

LeeJune 19th 2010.

We went in a few weeks ago and ate the off the speical price lunch menu because we were pushed for time and thoguht it would be quick. WRONG!
We were entertaining a German friend and really impressed him with the culinary delights of Manchester over the previous 3 days.
However, this was his departing lunch and we only chose it because Longe Ten was closed on a bank holiday.
Anyway, the whitebait was coated in a thick crumb that hurt the roof of your mouth to eat. I had to go home afterwards and brush my teeth because the residue of oil left in my mouth was disgusting.
The salad that came with the main was warm and the stff looked like they had all be out on the lash the night before and were completely useless. Not even bothered when we tried to complain about the food being late.
Will never go there again. A real shame as I did eat off the a la carte menu about 6 months ago and the confit duck was very good. My dining partner still didn't like his food though even on the a la carte menu.
Certainly don't bothe with the set price menu. It is horiffic.

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