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Côte Brasserie Reviewed By Gordo

The Big One makes it plain in black and white

Written by . Published on April 15th 2014.

Côte Brasserie Reviewed By Gordo

SO GORDO walks in for his lunch on the first day of Côte opening, a restaurant next to Gaucho on St Mary’s Street, opposite House of Fraser. He has since been a second time for lunch and once for breakfast. 

Côte is tremendous value and is going to crucify Café Rouge around the corner.

The fit-out. It’s better than Soho, all brown leather, soft grays with some great light fittings; a contemporary French brasserie feel, although Schofield is having his usual whinge about a point of architectural detail. Gordo felt at home. The service is immaculate, no nerves here. 

One of the managers, an old friend who had moved north, had joined the team; apparently the group took him down south for six months to train him, it shows. Most of the guys and gals are French with a sense of humour; totally pro. Gordo wasn’t asked once what he thought of his meal whilst his mouth was full, unlike at another recent opening where, at breakfast, he was asked three times in ten minutes what he thought. 

Whilst chewing on his food. 

Which wasn’t very good. The food, or the timing. 

The old Prohibition bar gets a work outThe old Prohibition bar gets a work out

The menu is robust and well written; there is something for every taste and occasion. It works at what it should be; a local restaurant for local people as well as an occasion restaurant for visitors to the city. 

A warm Roquefort salad (£5.25) had as its base a fan of ultra fresh chicory leaves, scattered with crumbled cheese, walnuts and crispy stuff. A little pot of warm Roquefort cheese sauce, nicely runny and not too creamy was left for the diner to pour. This is enjoyable.  

Tricky with chicory


Tricky with chicory

Boudin noir with caramelised apples (£5.95) was crispy. For the boudin noir, that’s good; for the apples, bad. It would have scored an easy 8 otherwise. Patience, chef.

Boudin noir

Boudin noir

Poulet ‘Breton’ (£9.95) was a half a corn fed chicken, grilled to a good crunch on the exterior, ever so slightly over cooked (but probably to everyone else’s taste to be fair); thoroughly enjoyable, with a salad of peppery lambs lettuce and included a side of brilliantly sharp fries, arguably the best in the city. Gordo took the wild mushroom sauce (£2.25) on the side.  

Poulet 'Breton'


Poulet 'Breton'

Naughtiness was an attempt at upselling the fat feller with a salad without reference to the mound of lamb’s lettuce on the plate already, nor thought to the fact that a salad had been ordered as a starter. 

Steak frites (£9.95) ordered across the table were tip top; not exactly Fouquet’s on the Champs-Elysees, but they were a good twenty quid less. 

Duck in a rowDuck in a rowRoast duck breast (£13.95) with a griottine cherry sauce served with gratin dauphinoise scored another hit, with what was starting to be a caveat across a number of main courses and indeed a breakfast; that is the use of dried herbs, which were either a little heavy handed or a bit old and dusty. The main deal, as in the duck itself, was bang-on. The dauphinoise needed to be slightly cheesier. 

The fougasse (£3.95), garlic bread with parsley and sea salt was a waste of table space. 

Dull fougasse


Dull fougasse

From memory in the Soho outlet, you, dear reader, should give the calamari (£5.95) a miss. It’s more chilled van delivery than painful on-site-prep interesting. 

Cheese (£5.95) was truly stonking value, absolutely at the correct temperature and at their best.  Three types, absolute dollies. The bread served was fantastic, by the way.  

Cheese love


Cheese love

Crème brulee (£5.25) another winner, woofed down by a guest before anyone could get near. 

We were given a food discount that applied to everyone in the first week of opening, but check the prices out. Côte  is tremendous value and is going to crucify Café Rouge around the corner. 

Gordo, on the second visit, was introduced to one of the two Managing Directors of the group who was up from London, Alex Scrimgeour. At 42, Alex is a veteran of the business, graduating top of his class at Cordon Bleu in Paris. As did Gordo’s much missed Mother-in-law who taught fatty to cook. 

Alex seemed a good sort who appeared to enjoy the company, albeit with a few sideway glances at Gordo when he was going on with himself a bit. But Gordo forgives that sort of stuff. 

The final point is this; Côte is a good addition to the city. The front of house staff training is bettered only by Tim Bacon at Living Ventures. Alex and his joint director, Harald Samuelsson are at the top of their game with a concept few operators will get right and some locals are getting appallingly wrong. 

This is good food at a great price point without being a YAFI.

And, it’s a Gordo Go. 

You can follow Gordo on Twitter here @gordomanchester


Côte Brasserie, 12 St Mary's St, City Centre, M3 2LB. 0161 834 0945 

Rating: 14/20 (please read the scoring system in the box below, venues are rated against the best examples of their kind) 

Food:  6.5/10 (Fougasse 5/10, Roquefort salad 7/10, boudin noir 6/10, Poulet Breton 6.5/10, steak frites 7/10, duck 6.5/10, cheese 7.5/10, crème brulee  6.5/10)
Service: 3.5/5
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.

Creme brulee flew out

Creme brulee flew out

Simple tablesSimple tables


Cote BrasserieCote Brasserie

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

Rob MarstonApril 15th 2014.

Is it a chain ? Restaurant with the same name in York, and not very good.

AnonymousApril 15th 2014.

yes, it's a chain. Have only visited once, Westbourne Grove in London, and found it to be excellent for what it is (which is a mid-range French-style brasserie, fairly unpretentious where you could take the family for a decent meal without having first to re-mortgage or resort to pizza)

Mike ChannonApril 15th 2014.

Went to Wimbledon Village a couple of weeks back and was really impressed. As has been said good cooking, great staff and excellent value. It's a great addition to Manchester's restaurants www.cote-restaurants.co.uk/index.html…

Sara GaughanApril 15th 2014.

We take the kids every time we go to London. One in Covent Garden and another in Soho. Can't beat the set menu for value and quality. Really glad to have one up here.

David OlliverApril 15th 2014.

Gordo seems to be misunderstanding French.Gratin Dauphinois,no "e" on the word,is made from potatoes and cream only - no cheese: Pommes Dauphine does have cheese in it.

1 Response: Reply To This...
GordoApril 15th 2014.

Thanks for the spelling lesson there David. The BBC and I like to put an e on the end. As to the recipe, there are about 396,000 recipes for the dish in France and dauphinoise sometimes has cheese, sometimes doesn't. My personal favourite is Michel Guerard's take from Cuisine Gourmand which I re-printed in 1980'-ish, which doesn't have cheese, but the recipe doesn't ask for the potatoes to be washed after slicing, the starch has a reaction with the milk and cream, leading to a pleasing background of cheesy-ness without the addition of cheese. The stuff in Cote is a little bland. I also find that seasoning, then mixing the spuds by hand and letting them rot for twenty minutes helps. Finally, use waxy potatoes. Apart from that, I'm just an enthusiastic amateur on the matter. And shit at spelling.

AnonymousApril 15th 2014.

Read the usual DIDBURY & HALE next..What about PRESTWICH? Pizza Express is booming here and popular with the Jewish set....

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousApril 15th 2014.

North Manchester......ha ha! I hear the KFC's do a roaring trade!

MaggieApril 15th 2014.

Anonymous, you are an arse! I'm just watching Great British Menu with Mary Ellen McTeague, the superb chef at Aumbrey in Prestwich. How many South manchester's chef are in that prestigious competition? Oh yea, none

David OlliverApril 15th 2014.

Obviously if one is going to use the French language,you might at least be grammatically correct:the fact that the BBC spells it that way means very little;where ignorance is bliss 'tis folly to be wise.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
GordoApril 15th 2014.

Knock yourself out, David m'lad ;-)

Rebecca ShawJune 13th 2014.

It would be "if one were to use the French language" - it takes the subjunctive darling. And if you're using the impersonal pronoun, 'one', best to stick with it all the way through the sentence then 'you might at least be grammatically correct'. You're welcome. X. Oh, and you dropped this ;

AnonymousApril 15th 2014.

I bet Nick Jaspen knows the difference been Gratin Dauphinois and Pommes Dauphine

1 Response: Reply To This...
MaggieApril 15th 2014.


David OlliverApril 15th 2014.

Gordo, I have the original Cuisine Gourmand,1978,but I also use Elizabeth David as a reference,far better than the modern tablespoon of an assortment of herbs type chefs. Reviews such as yours are interesting,but you ,and other reviewers,must realize that taste of food is very much subjective,and you are trying to be objective.You are doing a good job,because you are making people think about what they are eating.If someone does not agree with you,it does not matter: as Lincoln said,you can please some of the people all of the time,all of the people some of the time,but you cannot please all of the people all of the time.If you want the last word,as most journalists do,you can write it on your tombstone!

3 Responses: Reply To This...
MaggieApril 15th 2014.


GordoApril 16th 2014.

I'm in Basque Country currently David, Mina today, Azurmendi tommorow, so I don't give a fcuk ;-)

AnonymousApril 16th 2014.

Completely schooled by David Oliver there Garner.

EllieApril 16th 2014.

Had dinner there the other evening. Ambiance good, food good, staff good. Duck wonderful. A good addition to the City.

Poster BoyApril 16th 2014.

Fish on one shoulder.

Janet TiceApril 18th 2014.

Hope the steak is better than at Cote in St Albans. It was tender butdry and extremely salty. Would hesitate to go to a chain who have only just decided to grace the north. Makes us look needy.

Emma AthertonJuly 22nd 2014.

We had the 2 course lunch for £9.95 and it was lovely. The staff were great too. I would definitely go back.

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