Restaurant Review: 20 Stories, Spinningfields in Manchester
Towering over Manchester city centre sits 20 Stories, a swish cocktail bar and restaurant which opened earlier this year. Unlike the name suggests, 20 Stories is in fact on the 19th floor of 1, Spinningfields, but I don’t suppose ’19 Stories’ has the same ring. Still, it’s Manchester’s highest restaurant and, at 100 metres up, you can’t knock the stunning view.
The rooftop restaurant and separate garden terrace area are modern and bright, courtesy of the full-length window walls. Its interior is contemporary and stylish and wouldn’t look out of place in any of the world’s trendiest cities. I was there in late September to try out the Sunday Lunch menu with my roast potato and Yorkshire pudding-loving friend Charlye. There was an interesting mix of clientele from loved-up millennial couples to families and wannabe WAGS who snapchatted their way through the cocktail menu. Odd mix aside, it was busy and felt like the place to be.
Speaking of the menu, it offers a lot. On Sundays, diners can choose between a brunch and roast dinner section. This is probably a way of getting more people through the door but, post 12pm, I think it’s firmly roast dinner territory. A small part of me equates a large menu to poorly cooked food; quality not quantity, you know the saying! But in the case of 20 Stories however, my theory wasn’t true and we enjoyed some really good food.
The kitchen is headed up by Aiden Byrne – formerly of Manchester House – he’s worked at several Michelin-starred establishments and, judging by the food we were served, he’s aiming to do the same with 20 Stories.
For starters, Charlye and I both went for the curried cauliflower soup with poached egg and naan bread. The creamy, turmeric-infused soup had golden sultanas sprinkled throughout which added texture. The poached egg was a welcome edition and the naan soaked up the runny yolk rather nicely.
The restaurant offers wine pairing, but we opted to share a bottle of ‘The Last Stand’ Chardonnay; a stylish Australian wine with tropical, fruity notes. It was easy to drink and worked well with every course.
A few glasses later, it was time for main. As a roast dinner enthusiast, Charlye went for the lamb and I ordered the grilled cod. The serving of lamb was on the smaller side, but thankfully the trimmings made up for it. The crispy-skinned, yet fluffy roast potatoes were delicious, as was the glossy gravy, which made for a very photogenic plate. Top tip: order a side of the mint sauce-it won’t disappoint.
The cod fillet was a little underdone for my liking, but I can’t fault anything else. The boulangere potato, which accompanied the fish, was indulgent and the braised shallots in cepe puree were rich and warming.
We decided we were too full to even contemplate dessert, so we finished off with cocktails. I went for the MCR champagne cocktail, a sweet mix of champagne, Manchester-distilled gin and black cherry puree – what’s not too love? Charlye ordered 20 Stories take on the Espresso Martini: the foamy drink was smoky, perhaps too much so, and earthy – the liquid equivalent of a cigar!
At £29.30 for three courses, Sunday Lunch at 20 Stories is an absolute must. Often, food served sky high has sky high prices, but this restaurant is very reasonable.
Considering the roast dinner menu was only launched this autumn and the restaurant only opened its doors in March, the results are extremely promising, and I can’t wait for my second mint sauce-coated round of Yorkshire puds!
Address: No 1 Spinningfields, 1 Hardman Square, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3EB
Phone: 0161 204 3333
Image credit – JP Photography