The Mezz at AO Arena

Anne-Marie Pattenden, Food & Drink Writer
The Mezz at AO Arena
Ian Jones

The Mezz’ is a brand new VIP member’s club experience offered by AO Arena. With your ticket and VIP pass, the package includes a bar tab and a fine dining experience to enjoy before your gig of choice.

They’ve brought in the big guns to get this in motion – the menu features signature dishes from no less than Simon Rogan, the Michelin-starred chef of L’Enclume, among others, and Simon’s former protégé, Tom Barnes, who’ll be opening Skof in Manchester later this year. The transformation of the space is truly impressive. The lighting is flattering, the décor tasteful, and the chairs plush. Nothing is skimped on, staff are almost comically plentiful, and there’s a feeling of complete and total luxury. 

The Mezz at AO Arena

Alongside a glass of good fizz or other apératif, the menu begins with some wonderfully lemony marinated olives – big fat ones – and some excellent crunchy little Parmesan biscuits. So far, so good. 

The Mezz at AO Arena

Next is the sharing platter of starters. No decisions to make here – you get to try them all: warm sourdough bread (some cheesy) and two house-churned butters – one flavoured with sundried tomatoes. A lovely little scallop each, sitting in their shells on a heritage tomato salsa and mayonnaise made with the scallop coral. Alongside this, carrot top pesto on smooth sunflower seed hummus, plus some dinky little bites of garlicky buttermilk fried chicken, that taste like the best chicken Kyiv you’ve ever had. Delicious. 

The Mezz at AO Arena

A well-seasoned Dukesmoor ribeye steak comes with clove-cooked beef cheek, triple-cooked chips (with beef dripping, marvellously), and an incredibly rich, buttery Béarnaise sauce. Wine? It pairs beautifully with a smoky glass of red.

The Mezz at AO Arena

Then, possibly the menu’s standout dish, and the one designed by Rogan himself: the roast rump of Herdwick lamb. It’s cooked to a perfect rosy blush, served with Roscoff whey onions and well-complemented with side dishes of garlicky spinach and young vegetables. Never tried teeny tiny little baby celeriacs? Here’s your chance. 

The desserts are excellent – the Manchester Bee is a chocolatey ode to the Manchester Worker Bee, showcasing honey from hives kept by none other than Bez himself. Less showy, but hands down the favourite dessert of the evening, is Tom Barnes’s original creation of Lightly Set Jasmine Cream. Delicately flavoured with rose, it’s topped with caramelised white chocolate and a gorgeous pink layer of Yorkshire rhubarb. Perfection. 

The Mezz at AO Arena

Washed down with a glass of Sauternes or a well-thought-out signature cocktail, these sweet treats are topped off with a finale of petit fours, including a Parma violet ice cream stick. 

The Mezz at AO Arena

Why all this? Well, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have heard that competition is coming to town (albeit, a hefty trek out of town over in East Manchester) in the form of Co-op Live. By offering precision-perfect luxury experiences like this, the AO Arena is elevating itself from ‘just a gig venue’ and establishing it as something pretty special. Give it a whirl, you’ll love it.

AO Arena, Victoria Station Approach, Hunts BankManchester M3 1AR View map
Telephone: 01619505229 Visit Now

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