Francesca Wilson

Update: We recently had the pleasure of attending a special event at Bistrotheque, featuring Jeremy Lee, the head chef of London’s historic dining room and private members’ club Quo Vadis. It was the inaugural event in the new series, A Book From My Kitchen, and here Jeremy prepared a range of glorious dishes from Elizabeth David’s classic cookbook An Omelette and a Glass of Wine.

The dishes ranged from baked salsify scattered with grated parmesan – a simple but moreish snack, ticking all your cheese-related needs; a smoked eel sandwich that was much more than the sum of its parts, a bitesize portion of subtle smoky flavours; Grillade des Marinieres du Rhone, aka beef stewed in red wine, paired with a comforting parsley and mustard mash, certainly not the most attractive dish you’ll see all year, but probably one of the richest and most intoxicating beef stews to be found in Manchester this winter; and a host of desserts, including a big plate of gloriously decadent walnut meringue and lemon curd.

More than that, it proved to be a wildly fun evening out. A way to catch up with old friends, make new ones, all while enjoying some excellent cooking, equally great paired wines in suitably festive surroundings. Here’s to more of the same in the future.


Bistrotheque is the showcase restaurant at new cultural hub Cultureplex, with seasonal menus by experienced head chef Blaine Duffy.

I don’t know about you, but Thursdays are my new Fridays. I’m more than happy to stagger through Friday, navigating my way through my inbox bleary-eyed if it means I get to taste that delicious bite of weekend even just one day earlier.

Transforming from a railway goods warehouse to what feels like a movie set

Cultureplex on Ducie Street has recently undergone a makeover, quickly transforming from a railway goods warehouse to what feels like a movie set, or at the very least a sneak peek into The Kooples autumn/winter 2020 feature spread. Wander in, and you’ll soon find yourself in the hands of Bistrotheque, who are more than qualified to ensuring your faux Friday is nothing less than fabulous.

We start with bread, smothered in whipped butter and oysters – a “pre-menu-grazing-course” that I intend to carry over to all future dining experiences. The wines are exquisite, and the team are more than happy to give you their recommendations.

The menu itself is a cornucopia of rich, decadent delight. To start, duck rilletes. The sharp flavours are reminiscent of a deconstructed Reuben sandwich (with a twist) and tastes gloriously French.

The leeks vinaigrette were very pleasant, savoury bites of softened leek with a divine crunch of toasted hazelnuts atop – not satisfying enough as a starter, but something I’d love to have on the side of a steak.

The braised pressed pork is not for the fainthearted

Our choice of mains were heavily influenced by the autumn awakening experienced by Manchester this week – no longer can I live in opaque denial as I find myself adding an additional layer every time I leave the house, and still inevitably suffer the damp handprint of a soggy leaf which stows away onto my walk through town.

Tonight, we plumped for an extra layer on our tummies. First, the braised pressed pork – a dish not for the fainthearted (quite literally, this plateful could build up the healthiest of arteries, but in the most delectable way). Topped with crispy shallots and paired with a sensational goop of pickled walnut sauce.

The potato and comté pie was potentially the most satisfying thing I’ve tasted this year

Now, on to the star of the show. The dish every member of the team had to namedrop into every conversation we had, the potato and comté pie. I don’t want to oversell it, but it was potentially the most satisfying thing I’ve tasted this year.

Gently press the knife through the golden, flakey crust coat, to unleash a pleasing ooze of buttery cheese. The potato, almost latke-like (in no way fried, but with the same textural bite of potato), serves as the strong base – the three elements are a force to be reckoned with when combined on a fork and bathed in the accompanying green mustard sauce. It’s a dish I was disappointed to see come to the end – I’d happily eat it forever (and live with the gout).

You’d think by now, we’d have had our fill – but we are nothing, if not keen opportunists with our eyes on the prize, more specifically the pannacotta pud, complete with blackberries and honeycomb. It’s the sweetest way to end our evening, simple but executed perfectly.

I already can’t wait for my next visit to Bistroteque which is sure to thrive in its secondary home, just on the cusp of the Northern Quarter. Weekends welcome brunch-goers while the evenings are exclusive to escapism.

Ground Floor, Warehouse, Ducie St,ManchesterM1 2TP View map
Telephone: 01617133130 Visit Now

Opening Hours

  • Monday5:30pm - 10:30pm
  • Tuesday5:30pm - 10:30pm
  • Wednesday5:30pm - 10:30pm
  • Thursday5:30pm - 10:30pm
  • Friday5:30pm - 10:30pm
  • Saturday11:00am - 11:00pm
  • Sunday11:00am - 11:00pm

Always double check opening hours with the venue before making a special visit.

What's on near Bistrotheque

Sí Manchester Daily Tour

Sí Manchester’s daily tour is a brilliant way to get an overview of the city with tours running in both English and Spanish.

free entry
Killer Comedy Club

Killer Comedy Club showcases “the UK’s best upcoming and coming comedians” for a night of roof-raising laughs, with pop-up nights all across the North West.

from £12
The Warehouse Project
Repercussion at Depot Mayfield

Marking the official start of The Warehouse Project’s 2024 season, Repercussion is back with a huge day-to-night party celebrating dance music in all its forms.

from £54.00
Creatures of the Night Comedy Club

An insanely committed seven-nights-a-week, Creatures of the Night Comedy Club opens its doors (20.30-22.30 typically, though please check) for evening after evening of side-splitting comedy.

from £5.00

Where to go near Bistrotheque

Brownsfield Mill building in Manchester
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Brownsfield Mill

Now a Grade-II listed building, Brownsfield Mill in Manchester was constructed in 1825 as a power mill, and later housed the A.V. Roe and Company aviation factory. The former mill forms part of the Piccadilly Basin and is to undergo refurbishment for potential use as flats or office space.

Chopstix Manchester
Chopstix Manchester

Chopstix is a noodle bar based on the approach to Piccadilly Station, with a great range of quick and easy Chinese dishes.

Event venue

We try out the Sunday roasts at Diecast, Manchester’s new creative neighbourhood, food hub and cultural space.

Idle Hands - Coffee Shops in Manchester - Creative Tourist
Café or Coffee Shop
Idle Hands

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ABode Manchester
ABode Manchester

ABode Manchester is a boutique hotel in Manchester with a range of rooms and suites available. It has its own restaurant and plays host to live events. All conveniently situated just a couple of minutes from Piccadilly Station.

Malmaison Manchester
City Centre
Malmaison Manchester

Malmaison Manchester has stylish rooms and an excellent bar, all situated conveniently on the doorstep of Piccadilly train station. Rooms start from as little as £90, if you’re looking for a boutique experience on a budget, look no further. 

Store Street Exchange

Large open plan restaurant on the ground floor of DoubleTree by Hilton, near Manchester Piccadilly. The food is high quality, with a variety of menus, including a la carte and afternoon tea.

Dakota Bar & Grill Manchester

Great-looking brasserie based in the luxury Dakota Hotel on Manchester’s Ducie Street, now featuring a retractable terrace to handle all types of Manchester weather.

Dakota Manchester

Dakota is a luxury hotel near to Piccadilly Station, featuring the largest suite in Manchester, a Champagne Room and Cigar Garden.

Music venue
Store Street

Considered the spiritual home of The Warehouse Project, Store Street first hosted the Manchester club series back in 2007.

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