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Gordo's Restaurant Review: Opus One

Published on October 26th 2004.


Opus One at the Radisson

The battle of the 5 star hotels is now truly under way in Greater Manchester. The River Restaurant at TheLowry has settled in and is cruising well over the River, David Woolf having returned, booted his 'Marco Pierre White' crutches into the River Irwell and is beginning to show his class.


Gordo gets a squeeze from Katie the Manageress
Opus One at The Radisson Edwardian now has to be judged without rosy glasses. The bar, let me tell you, is expensive, sheek, has the most comfortable bar stools in the world and serves pints. It does not have any Manchester beer. (Boo…) It has the ingredients to be world class.
Great martinis. Gordo has spent a lot of his own hard earned on them over the past three months, a compliment in its own right. The lads and lasses serving have the hunger to do the place justice, but need a couple of months more polishing by Manager Stephen Miles to be spot on. I think they will get there. It's a nice place to sit and people watch whilst you read the Opus One menu.

It won't take you long. It's shorter than you may think. Ron Jackson, the Chef is being sensible here. A big surprise is the vegetarian menu. It is probably one of the best in town. Although I have to agree with City Life, Green's in Didsbury is The Daddy. The Opus One menu is well thought out and almost as big as the main menu. Is it good though? Luckily my partner in crime, Coby Langford, is a veggie weirdo, so I rely on her comments for that.

Coby started with asparagus wrapped in a pancake. Comments? Divine. Followed by 'It slipped down my throat….' Hmmm. Lets not go there.

I had the foie gras. It wasn't good to my mind, too much fussing, simple but expensive black dresses need a string of pearls is all, foie gras doesn't need to be wrapped in bacon. Either simply sliced and fried on a crouton with a sharp fruity 'jus' or cold with hot toasted farmers wife bread and a sauterne jelly. It's all about how well the basic ingredient is cooked. The bacon killed it.

Quick note about the Opus One setting. It is immaculate, the tables beautiful, plenty of space to have a business chat or pitch someone to become a wife or mistress. Usually the latter in Gordo's case, and plenty of knock-backs. Big red chandeliers, black lacquer, extraordinary art on the wall. Good as anywhere else in town for this class of restaurant, and wouldn't be out of place in Mayfair. Music a bit strange at times.

The service is spot on, with waiters scanning the room. No wind-milling of hands here to get a glass of wine. Maurilio needs a special mention, true pro.


Manager Stephen Miles shares a joke (we think) with Scott Burnham of Urbis
On to the main courses. The wild mushroom 'casserole' was the best vegetarian main course I have ever seen and tasted. Some dissent from Coby, who said it was a bit bland, until she seasoned it to her liking, then changed her mind somewhat.

Gordo's main was a Rib Eye steak, cooked rare as asked. Good size. Served with a tagliatelle of vegetables, flash fried with spices. They were great, maybe would partner a good firm grilled sea bass slightly better. If the beef wasn't of great quality, there may well have been a mistake. But the beef was from 'Coby' stock. Not our Coby, Coby beef that originates from Japan, where it is a great delicacy. It's not so much the breed but the way they look after the cattle. They feed them on beer. Lots of it. These guys get massages every day. It is outstanding. Marbled with fat and packed full of flavour. It partnered really well with the spices. I think this beef may well come from a farmer down south who is using the Japanese method, and he is doing well. My steak was stunning. Also, palm hearts. I told the vegetarian that she could try these, as they were vegetables. When I told her they cut a whole palm tree down to get them, she was distraught. Actually I had no idea if they cut down trees or not as it was the first time I have tried them. Really, really nice and went well with the beef. It was worth the look on Coby the tree-hugging vegetarian's face though.

Puddings.

Chris Lloyd had joined us by then, we had a hot chocolate and pistachio fondant, praline ice cream. Too little chocolate sauce or ice cream, making for a slightly dry dish. Adding more sauce and ice cream will create a winner. However, Chris ordered a Raspberry Soufflé with Coconut Sorbet. A clear winner. Soufflé spot on, hot raspberry sauce spooned into the hole in the top, not too sweet, not too sharp. The ice cream could have been imported from Milan. The three went together well. A brilliant dish, worthy of a chef who is showing that the kitchen are capable of looking after us Mancunians for a long time.

Wines were Nuits St. George 1er Cru, Chaines Charteaux '98, top of the class. About sixty quid. Leasingham Bin 7 Riesling Clare Valley, Australia, 2003. Great value here, £22.50. Chose it to go with the foie gras, bad choice on my part, having only just started drinking 'German' wines I would look for something a bit less sharp. I don't know them well enough. The Ch. La Gironie, monbazillac I chose for my pudding would have been better, it was lovely. £6 for the glass.

This restaurant is going to do no harm to the Radissons campaign for status. It is worthy of the setting. Sort the Foie Gras out Chef.

It's a Gordo Go. I daren't tell you what the bill was; I was being cheeky having a look really. But I can say I will be going again, and shall be happy to pay the prices.

15/20

Opus One
0161 835 9929
Free Trade Hall,
Peter Street,
Manchester,
M2 5GP

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