The Modern, Manchester

Is it possible to feel remote in a city centre?  I think it is.  I am not talking about loneliness, or feeling culturally distant from people stood next to you.  I am talking about sitting in silence whilst the world goes on several floors below.  This is what the atmosphere is like at The Modern in Manchester.

Can you spot the Modern?  I can…for some reason

This place used to be Le Mont, a stuck up French place that was too attentive, too expensive and too anally retentive to succeed.  I sincerely hope that The Modern does better – it deserves to.  But the signs are not great when one arrives.  Entering through a door that looks like the frontage of an airport business class lounge, one immediately feels a sense of despair.  Business travel is not exotic, it is enforced.  Whilst everyone wants to travel on holiday, nobody wants to travel on business.  The magic of travel is the exclusive domain of the personal traveller.

Following a sign to the sixth floor via the elevator and being met at the top by a slightly snooty Maitre d’ was the last bit of bad news.  The evening improved dramatically as soon as we were sat in the 6th floor bar with views across to Manchester Cathedral, the big wheel and the Arndale Shopping Centre.

Modern at Urbis - great building…

Following a quick drink it felt a bit weird to be taken downstairs to the restaurant.  But the Cuan rock oysters were well worth the trip.  Simply superb.  I had learnt from The Wolseley that Picpoul de Pinet goes particularly well with these snot textured molluscs.  This Domaine Felines Jourdan, Coteaux du Languedoc 2006 didn’t disappoint.  Tasting of gooseberry, lemon and pineapple it was a sunny golden yellow colour that bridged the gap between the oysters and the squeezed lemon perfectly.

But we went in the evening…

Roasted Scottish monkfish with braised oxtails, girolles and red wine sauce went surprisingly well with the wine too.

The ambience was slightly cold with concrete, glass and “cool” muzak.  However, a small strip of carpet is warm and welcoming compared to the white tiled floor of Le Mont.

Is this an airline or a resto?

The macchiato was almost Italian and the overall experience was great.  VFM you can judge for yourself but I reckon it is half the price of its predecessor at £85 for two excluding service.

Waiting for a table…with a great view

I hope it succeeds.  I definitely recommend that you try it.  Although a little remote, it’s worth the trip (vertically).

Glass filled interior

The Modern Bar & Restaurant, Urbis, Corporation Street, Manchester, M4 3BG.  T:  0161 605 8282.  E:  W:

3 Responses to “The Modern, Manchester”

  1. malcolmwilliamson Says:

    I’ve had lunch at the Modern twice on day trips to Manchester and would highly recommend the restaurant.
    For me the potentially superb view from the 5th floor is spoilt by the horizontal strips of frosted glass in the windows. Its rather like looking out of the rear window of a car before the screen heater has cleared the frost.

  2. Alastair Bathgate Says:

    I agree. The bar on the 6th floor has a much clearer view, strangely.

  3. gabriel Says:

    We ate at the Modern last week. The food was excellent as was the wine bought by the glass. Considering we were eating mid-week and the place was at most half full the service was abysmally slow like in so many Manchester restaurants in my experience. Luckily we weren’t in a hurry apart from being very hungry at the end of a long day, and our rather half-hearted complaint was rewarded with complimentary glasses of wine, so all in all that worked out well.

    I had the oven-roasted High Peak lamb and my partner had the wild mushroom tart. Both were superb as was the platter of local cheeses. It’s a pity they don’t provide much info on the menu about the sourcing of individual dishes, particularly as they major on their local provenance – Isinglass in Urmston is far better in that respect.

    Recommended, especially if you’re not in a hurry.

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