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Brasserie Gerard review

Jonathan Schofield pops in for a steak and novelty ‘chip pasta’

Written by . Published on September 23rd 2010.

Brasserie Gerard review

Brasserie Gerard is a peripheral vision sort of place, you know it’s there but you can’t really be bothered focussing in on it. It’s also housed in one of the worst buildings in Manchester with one of the best views.

If you’re a family dining at Brasserie Gerard having Manchester’s main civic space set close by as a playground isn’t bad – not that crossing a small road first may be to everybody’s taste. Still my boys are city kids.

The view out across Albert Square to the Town Hall Square is lovely. The view from the Square to the Commercial Union Building which hosts Brasserie Gerard is dull. The Commercial Union Building was designed by Kingham Knight Associates in 1983, architects who I’ve never heard of and never want to hear of again. Name and shame I say.

Much of the menu looks like a throwback to the eighties too. Not so long ago I had a so-called tagine there that was like a school dinner stew with added spices – and not one of those Jamie Oliver school dinners that dinner ladies don’t want to cook either. It was a waste of £14.95. On previous business visits (not through choice) I’ve had a bourguignon and a salmon grill. Poor as well.

But passing on a Friday evening with the youngest son on the way to the taxi rank and both of us hungry, I saw a punter steaking it and the flesh looked good so we went in.

After enjoying a handsome 8oz sirloin (£16.95) with fries, tomato and a sharply done peppercorn sauce (a rip off £1.95) I’m feeling happy about the decision.

Explosion of Chocolate Waffle

This was a fine steak cooked precisely medium rare that was juicy, gentle and melted away in the mouth as though someone had invented a meat ice-lolly. Actually that’s wrong (and sounds very wrong too) because the texture of the meat and the way it had been timed in cooking was part of the attraction of the dish. It proved, you should only ever, ever, ever, ever, eat the steaks off the mains menu at Brasserie Gerard, the rest is blandness by numbers.

Penne Pasta for kids and some leaves believed to be food

Juicy Steak

Ralph, the nine-year-old wasn’t doing as well as his dad. The kids deal was main, dessert, hot and cold drink for £5.95. The boy chose unwisely, he chose penne pasta with a lacklustre sauce when he should have gone for the burger or the fish.

“Boring this,” he said, “can I steal one of your chips?” “Go ahead, my son,” I said. He took a chip and inserted it into the penne pasta. “That’s much better,” he said munching away, “a pasta chip.” “Ingenious,” I said, and he got half way through his meal that way, at which point he said. “While you finish, can I go and play in the square?” “Be careful on the road,” I said.

The Penne Pasta and Chip Experiment

I finished the steak, sipped a good house Merlot available by the carafe (£12.95) and watched him make an assault course of Albert Square. If you’re a family and dining at Brasserie Gerard having Manchester’s main civic space set close by as a playground isn’t bad – not that letting your child cross a small road first may be to everybody’s taste. Still my boys are city kids.

When Ralph came back we shared his chocolate waffle. It was surprisingly good, the chocolate appearing in a warm flood like a volcano in a Willy Wonka factory. We also had a laugh with the waitress who was a natural when it came to good service: young lady, efficient, smiling, Brasserie Gerard should promote her.

After leaving a hefty tip we sailed out to our taxis full and happy. I confess I had a go with the boy scaling the Albert Memorial as well.

To sum up, Brasserie Gerard is largely dull, but with great steaks, a good children’s menu (as long as you get chips with the penne pasta) and a great view. Definitely very good steaks, try one if passing.

Rating: 13/20
Breakdown: 7/10 food
4/5 service
2/5 ambience
Address: Brasserie Gerard
Commercial Union HouseAlbert SquareManchester

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: Gordo gets carried away

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

NortherngeezerJuly 20th 2010.

FFS Ed - Am i to reserve comment yet again about what that chocolate waffle looks like!!!!

Jonathan Schofield - editorJuly 20th 2010.

Northerngeezer, look up the word scatological. Fella, you're obsessed.

AdamJuly 21st 2010.

I've had the steak here and thought it one of the best I've ever had.

NortherngeezerJuly 21st 2010.

ED - MY ARSE!!!!..............i think i need to see a doctor tho.

SalfordSalJuly 22nd 2010.

That chocolate waffle looks like a gigantic spider with 8 legs - yuk

JamesJuly 22nd 2010.

I had my worst ever meal in Manchester at Brasserie Gerard. We ate on the set lunch menu and everything was deep fried and you could taste the oil strongly. The salad was warm and over-dressed. i was actually embarassed as my German friend from Hamburg was visiting and this was supposed to be his parting meal in Manchester. What a shame as we had eaten at some very fine placesand he was very impressed with the food in Manchester, until Brasserie Gerard. Any so called french restaurant that put's chips on the menu should not be trusted to give you a meal of quality. And son't even get me started on the hungover staff who left our food waiting on the pass for 5 minutes and could not care less when we complained. I won't be going back and am more than surprised at this review. 7/10 for food just doesn't make sense.

AgricolaJuly 22nd 2010.

I suppose Mancon can only rate the food they eat and the steak does look good.

jayceeJuly 22nd 2010.

Its a French brasserie, and french brasseries everywhere serve chips with everything! And the steaks are very good. Once had a chateaubriand there, cooked very rare(bleu), or should I say, shown the grill. It was absolutely divine.

AnonymousJuly 22nd 2010.

Have eaten here loads of times and always been really good - only ever had steaks - not sure why you would choose anything else - your reviewer should have a word with himself about previous dubious choices and get involved with the chateaubriand or the onglet if he's a tightwad - both amazing

AnonymousJuly 23rd 2010.

My top rated steaks are the M&S sirloin I grill for myself served with a well dressed salad and soda bread rather than chips. (more taste less calories) But CG steaks are a good alterative better than the ones I have had in the Allee and at the cowboy place. CG is a sibling of Livebait

Noodles DavidJuly 23rd 2010.

What kids at Chez Gerard when they can have a kids portion of Pad Thai round the square!!

ClarckSeptember 28th 2011.

hey this place is closed one year ago ,Who update this site???you need go out often to see how many place are closed

IzzySeptember 28th 2011.

Hey, Tony the Italian, look at the date of the review. Mama Mia Bambini!!

AnonymousDecember 6th 2011.

Super location across from the Town Hall and now empty?! I am with Tony. Someone seriously needs to oversee these reviews. Risk looking totally out of the loop? Let's hope such a great location does bring a new name into town?

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