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The Restaurant Bar And Grill Reviewed

Jonathan Schofield is soleful as he admires the new Terrace

Published on September 21st 2012.

The Restaurant Bar And Grill Reviewed

THERE was a techie with spare cash I knew who loved the Restaurant Bar and Grill (RBG) in the late nineties.

He was particularly partial to cute cocktails with little umbrellas he would grip tightly between fat fingers. But he was there for more than the drinks. "I love the people-watching here - you know checking out all the chicks with tight skirts from the offices," he'd say with a wink.

What is clear is that RBG is back as a force to be reckoned with in Manchester's very competitive mid-range grill market. 

RBG was the original slick mid range dining spot for Manchester professionals and would-be professionals. You couldn't move in the place without tripping over property developers and lawyers and their buckets of champagne. Nothing wrong with that of course and lots of money for RBG too.

It stood out from the opposition with its 'City' atmosphere and its service which has always been excellent. It found itself a niche in Manchester (and then Liverpool and Leeds) and worked the arse off it. 

The decor was part of this, deliberately sharkish. It was like a view inside the imagination of a nineties investment banker, uncluttered, colourless, efficient, two-tone black and white. A 'love' of art was shown by big prints of the bratpack, Sophia Loren and Audrey Hepburn.

The food was quick to the table, with good ingredients and handsome to look at. It probably introduced the notion of a Thai fish cake to the North.

The name summed up the whole place. No nonsense. To the point.




No nonsense. Restaurant. Bar. Grill.No nonsense. Restaurant. Bar. Grill.

By 2009 the magic was long gone. 

RBG looked like a faded car showroom completely overtaken by newer, cleverer competitors. The Grill on the Alley nearby pitched itself straight at the 'grill' market of RBG and ran off with it. 

In the last few years the RBG's food has reflected this. I think I've been three times in as many years which says something, and on every occasion the food has been unbalanced and overpriced. 

But now it's 2012.

RBG took an age to react but at last the fightback has begun and it's remarkably effective.

This comes from the creation of a terrace on the first floor complete with comfy (if very low for a six footer) seats and loungers and a view of a gorgeous London plane tree (I think). 

The terrace from the treeThe terrace from the tree

There are heaters and awnings and a peculiar magic that come rain or shine, warmth or chill, is proving attractive. The renewed popularity is deserved.

It's delightful to sit on that terrace - called in the usual no-nonsense way The Terrace - without coat or jacket eating or drinking and watching the world go by. You could lose an afternoon or evening there easily.

The TerraceThe Terrace

The food has massively improved as well. In fact the whole mood of the place has. It feels motivated again. 

The new chef, Kevin Wigglesworth, has brought a delicacy and finesse to the cooking which RBG has been lacking for a while. The sauces, in particular, are brilliantly delivered.

The dill and white wine sauce with the whole lemon sole (see main picture above) and chips (£24.95) is a joy, a strong, skilful, yet nuanced addition to a perfectly timed sole that was all forgiving and yielding white flesh. The chips were chunky, and again timed well.

Beautifully put together fishcakeBeautifully put together fishcake

Prior to this, the mix within the Thai fishcake starter (£8) was an essay in balance between the casing, the halibut, the coconut, and the lime leaf sauce, with the element that unlocked the whole, the lime, allowed a real presence. A less clever chef might have been too afraid to release the lime to that extent. 

A frangipan pudding (£6.50) off a handsome dessert trolley was solid and sweet, filling and full-on, again with a good mix and helped by a softening and delicious cream.


The only downside to the food is the price. I would have preferred the sole £3 cheaper at least. Two large glasses of a character-filled Soave Classic set Confidential back £7.95 each, the cheapest large glass of white was a Chenin Blanc at £5.95.

There are deals to be had. A lunchtime menu for two courses is £15 and for three courses, £19. The menu has some 'grill' surprises too, mainly provided from an in-house 'tandoor clay oven'.

What is clear is that RBG is back as a force to be reckoned with in Manchester's very competitive mid-range grill market.

This strong return will be reinforced when up on the roof of the building an ambitious dining and drinking area will open early next year. Yep, on the roof and in the open with judicious use of canopies and awnings once more. 

In fact given the re-invention of the place the only problem might be the utility bills to provide all those external heaters.

There are a couple of bum design notes that surely will be sorted out soon. In the bar downstairs there are still those ludicrous black and white prints of the bratpack and Sophia Loren. 

Yawn - the de rigeur interior design of the provincial restaurantYawn - the de rigeur interior design of the provincial restaurant

Just get rid would you RBG. 

Perhaps you got these as a job lot from a discount warehouse for all the RBGs but they need to go. Check out the Lowry Hotel instead where Comme Ca Art arrange for a delightful, changing, selection of work from Manchester's very good artscene. 

Original Manchester art at The Lowry Hotel, this from David GledhillOriginal Manchester art at The Lowry Hotel, this from David Gledhill

Maybe go down to Thom Hetherington's Buy Art Fair and Manchester Contemporary in Spinningfields next week and pick up something distinctive - something as interesting as the wonderful Terrace you've created upstairs. 

Anyway enough of my personal bees in bonnets, to change the subject, the service is an unchanged constant. It's still excellent, friendly when required, but always efficient, led by Laura Mills, the general manager.

Laura Mills and the dessert trolleyLaura Mills prepares my frangipan and cream from the dessert trolley

The techie I knew ten years ago would approve as well - but fortunately he's moved away. He'd have liked the waitresses who seem to be wearing some type of nightdress. Very foxy, if a little excessive at lunchtiime.

I hope these poor young ladies get changed in RBG, it'd be a bit odd to be dressed like that at 9am in the morning on the bus to work. 

Still after all said and done, it's good to have RBG back as a city food and drink destination.

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter here @JonathSchofield


The Restaurant Bar and Grill is at 14 John Dalton Street, Manchester M2 6JR. 0161 839 1999. Website.      

Rating: 15.5/20 

Food: 7.5/10
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.

Specials menuSpecials menu

The TerraceThe Terrace

Soave and suaveSoave and suave

Those fishcakesThose fishcakes

The treeThe tree

The handbags and the empty top right box - any suggestions for what might go in there?The handbags and the empty top right box - any suggestions for what might go in there?

Restaurant Bar And Grill 029Restaurant Bar And Grill: The Terrace

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

WilsonlySeptember 20th 2012.

I have always liked RBG. Food is always consistently good and i have never been let down by the service. I don't go to restaurants for their decor i go for the food & service so the decor in RBG has never put me off.

BabyJSeptember 20th 2012.

I went in for the launch night and again on the weekend, the cocktails are lovely (try the pear martini - ummm) and everyone is always really friendly. Well, maybe the girls on reception could smile a bit more, otherwise , had a great meal and thought it was totally improved.

ramboSeptember 20th 2012.

Absolutely love the terrace. Been a fair few times already. The finest outdoor eating space in the city and gives that alfresco holiday feel, wind rain or shine. And it's spitting distance from work/home so winner all round. I love the tandoor food they do there too.

IanSeptember 20th 2012.

Looking forward to trying this in a couple weeks

14 Responses: Reply To This...
James SmithSeptember 20th 2012.

I bet you don't really go Ian, you just wanted to post on here. Just like I do quite often

IanSeptember 20th 2012.

Chester Confidential for you now James.

IanSeptember 20th 2012.

Chester Confidential for you now James.

IanSeptember 20th 2012.

Chester Confidential for you now James

IanSeptember 20th 2012.

FFS, stop deleting my posts! It's not even a real website, just a joke because my mate is moving to Chester!!

IanSeptember 20th 2012.

Chester Confidential for you now James

IanSeptember 20th 2012.

Chester Confidential for you now James

IanSeptember 20th 2012.

Chester Confidential for you now James

IanSeptember 20th 2012.

Chester Confidential for you now James

IanSeptember 20th 2012.

Chester Confidential for you now James

IanSeptember 20th 2012.

Chester Confidential for you now James

Jonathan SchofieldSeptember 20th 2012.

Not sure why he keeps repeating himself James but Ian reckons its Chester Confidential for you now.

Polly MillerSeptember 20th 2012.

I reckon it's Chester Confidential for you now James

Poster BoySeptember 24th 2012.


Edward CrossSeptember 20th 2012.

Had a lovely late lunch on the Terrace last Saturday. Service is excellent - Just the right balance of friendliness & professionalism.
To stay within budget we just ordered mains - a delicious Chicken Avo salad & Rissotto & a glass of Prosecco each.
Really is a perfect spot for lunch

Jo NightingaleSeptember 20th 2012.

How southern European tourists must chortle when they see the England's NW take on an outdoor terrace. Bless us.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Isabella JacksonSeptember 20th 2012.

How they must Jo. But hey, it's 15 degrees in Manchester and 40 degrees in Barcelona - what do they know? Good on RBG for doing this - never had a bad meal there when I lived and worked in Manchester - may give the new makeover a try.

Lorraine ByrneSeptember 20th 2012.

Went to the lanch night last week. First time the RBG has been back on my radar for a very very long time. Loved it. Thought the canapes were delicious so really looking forward to going back for a meal there.

JaySeptember 20th 2012.

Used to love going back to RGB because at the time it was one of the only places in town that would regularly change it's menu along with Albert's Shed. Then after going a couple of times and getting bored of the same old menu I've never been back (same with Alberts). May give it a go this weekend.

AnonymousSeptember 20th 2012.

What's with the focus on the young girls dresses? Thought you were a food critic (debatable) you dirty old pervert!! And who says foxy?!?!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldSeptember 20th 2012.

Good grief anonymous - 'old'?

GordoSeptember 25th 2012.

he is a perv...

R. DahlSeptember 20th 2012.

The Fantastic Mr Fox says the word 'foxy' all the time.

Karl MaineSeptember 20th 2012.

I like the Terrace and think it's made RBG a real option again, a break from the Grills and so on

1 Response: Reply To This...
LizzieSeptember 20th 2012.

Aren't you missing something Karl - it's restaurant bar and.... GRILL! Doh.

AnonymousSeptember 20th 2012.

Love Bar & Grill, go alot with my wife, your food rating is a bit low i think!!!!!

pollolocoSeptember 21st 2012.

They need to do something similar with Alderley B&G as well....same tired old menu, decor etc.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Poster BoySeptember 24th 2012.

They would be better investing in a new concept in Alderley. It's too small, and surrounded by Living Ventures copy all ad nauseum...

Kris CullineySeptember 21st 2012.

Look like bought in desserts to me! Lazy Cheffing!

food for thoughtSeptember 21st 2012.

Kris it's definitely home made cakes so stick to your boring job mate

1 Response: Reply To This...
Kris CullineySeptember 23rd 2012.

Well if they're not classic catering I'll eat my hat. Why the personal insult....no need.

food for thoughtSeptember 24th 2012.

Because you obviously don't know what you are saying so don't it next time

Kris CullineySeptember 24th 2012.

Why ?this is a vehicle to express my opinion. I said they look bought in from the photo. If they're not I stand corrected. Just seems funny thats all that classic used to do those type of desserts.they look very similar.

food for thoughtSeptember 25th 2012.


AnonymousJanuary 25th 2014.

I like to go and eat at places, tasting a new work done by the chefs. Article is good and informative. Great work . best bar to watch sports www.boulevard.com.sg/…

AnonymousFebruary 26th 2014.

Very useful review about the restaurant. All the details have been efficiently covered. Great work! restaurant sg www.blvd.sg/our-venues…

AnonymousMarch 6th 2014.

The RBG is awesome, I went there last night. AMAZING. Cantonese restaurant Singapore kezhan.com.sg/…

Edwards CollinsMarch 29th 2014.

Wow! This is a wonderful and complete review of the restaurant and bar. It made me feel as if I were there. Cozy dining place in Singapore www.restaurantparrilla.com/…

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