As hotels go, the Midland is a Manchester institution. Everything from the architectural presence it has held on Peter Street for the last 115 years to the accommodating northern charm which is extended by every member of its team is iconic and a tribute to the city itself. Mr Cooper’s, just one of the restaurants within the hotel offers an idyllic, country garden-inspired hideaway and an impressive menu alongside.
We were shown to our table, drinks ordered, nibbles suggested. My eyes quickly scanned the menu until they landed on the mother loaf (apologies, load). “Freshly baked bread please!” I exclaimed politely. It arrived with grandeur, as all freshly baked bread should. An orb of butter and a mini mountainous pile of rock salt alongside which we used to slather and sprinkle to our desire. The bread, still hot from the oven turning the butter into gloriously rich puddles on its surface; the sharp bites of salt, almost unnecessarily decadent, but why on earth do we choose to dine if not unnecessarily decadently?
You may think it silly to focus so much on a course so minor in comparison to the entirety of the meal – but this is where your wrong; the bread course at Mr Cooper’s sets the precedence of the meal, it’s the warm-up act and, if executed deliciously will position the diner rightly for the plates to follow.
Bites of black pudding and a hazelnut puree add a rich finesse to the mild, cloud-like scallops
Scallops to start; their golden, plump and pillowy presence delivering as much joy to the pallet as their appearance promises. Bites of black pudding and a hazelnut puree adding a rich finesse to the mild, cloud-like bites.
If you’d care to replace 20% of the blood in your veins with something a little more rah; the wild mushrooms on garlic rosemary bread comes dripping in truffle oil and can be smelt from two tables away (a truly positive thing I assure you).
Our server Frankie was as knowledgeable as he was charming; happy and keen to share his recommendations, these were reeled off with expertise and we were more than happy to oblige. His favourite of the mains, the Cumbrian lamb rump found its way to our table; perfectly pink, sumptuous and a superb carrier of the other flavours which adorned the plate, particularly the English minted peas.
The fear I encounter when ordering a pasta dish, is of never receiving enough as what I’d normally allow myself at home (my vessel of choice is normally a large Pyrex bowl – but I’ve also been known to eat Alle Vongalé directly from the pan with no apologies). Mr Cooper’s minted pea risotto, however, does not limit itself to such boundaries as I observed when the trough-sized portion arrived at our table.
The most comforting choice if that’s what you’re in the market for; handsomely flavourful mouthfuls are complemented by chunks of smoked garlic and contrasting bites of the crispy onions which adorn it.
Having spoilt us with his suggestions thus far, Frankie insisted we finish the evening with a sweet something. The peanut butter cheesecake waving at us frantically from the pages of our menu, we were powerless to resist and so requested two spoons and a syringe of insulin to be kept on standby.
Two bites were all I could manage; its richness instantly satisfying the craving my sweet tooth requested.
While the level of service and food are kept to an impeccably high standard, a visit to the Midland should not be exclusive to special occasions. At a price point not too dissimilar to many eateries around Manchester which you could assign yourself to on a causal Wednesday; I would highly recommend a mid-week visit, should you so desire to give yourself a night off from the hardships of mid-week life admin.
Why be cooped up when you could be at Mr Cooper’s?