Named after the formidable gentleman who once owned a house and garden on the site in 1819, Mr Cooper’s, the well-acclaimed Manchester bar and restaurant takes its inspiration from his passions around cultivating flowers, fruits, vegetables and ornamental plants.
Using only the very best ingredients, seasonal favourites and quality cuts of meat carved by Manchester’s only in-house butcher, Mr Cooper’s believe in ‘good, clean food, cooked with flair and imagination.’
Having been kindly invited to sample the main menu, we headed down one (muggy) Friday afternoon to see how this held up. With a grand and open plan, the ambience felt prestige yet equally welcoming. Masterfully bringing the outside in, Mr Cooper’s occupies an enchanting garden theme – the pinnacle of which takes the form of a tree, where diners can sit cosily beneath the low hung branches.
While some might deem the theme unnecessary, its main intention is to illustrate a sort of raised glass to the man himself. Décor aside, the food is really where this place comes into its own.
Greeted by a friendly and knowledgeable hostess, we were welcomed to our table beneath Mr Cooper’s tree. At 6pm it was still moderately early for a Friday evening, and with only a few tables occupied it felt a slight shame that such a large and gorgeous space wasn’t more full.
First, we ordered drinks and snacks while we browsed the menu. Unfortunately, the South Australian Merlot had ran out due to popularity, so I opted for the Spanish Rioja at £9.50 (or £26.00 for a carafe). My guest opted for a Camden Helles Pilsner, at £5 a pint. Happily, we shared a plate of incredibly moreish Chargrilled Padron peppers, seasoned with rosemary salt (£4.50).
To start, I ordered the pan fried scallops, served with shallot puree and dusted with hazelnut and caper crumb (£11.50). Juicy and perfectly seared, the accompanying ingredients complemented the creaminess of the scallops wonderfully.
My guest, who ordered the slow cooked crispy pork belly, celeriac slaw, black pudding and apple puree, enjoyed great flavour with just the right amount of fat.
On to the mains, I went for the salmon (£14.00) and a side of creamy mashed potato (£4.00). Soft and tender, the salmon fillet was fresh and subtle in flavour. The side of mash was buttery, velvety and moreish – naturally, I loaded it onto the plate.
We also went for the braised beef cheek, served with spring greens and bone marrow crumb (£11.50), also served with mash. After deliberating on Mr Cooper’s options for a while, this dish came with high recommendation from our hostess – and we’re glad we trusted her on this one. Succulent and saturated deep in flavour, the beef was wondrously melt in the mouth.
We couldn’t leave without sampling the dessert menu – especially The Allotment, which included Mr Cooper’s ‘chocolate soil’, chocolate cherry kirsch mousse, marzipan carrots, strawberry sorbet, baby toffee apples and micro basil mint (£7.50). All wonderfully delightful, our favourite piece of this sweet medley had to be the mousse (…followed closely by the strawberry sorbet).
We also tried the chocolate peanut butter cheesecake, with crunchy honeycomb and ice cream (£7.00) – sweet, rich and decadent; this was heaven.
From the quality hospitality to the exquisite food, our visit to Mr Cooper’s was nothing short of charming.
Food – 5/5. Hard to fault – one of the best three courses we’ve had the pleasure of sampling.
Service – 4/5. One mark dropped for my wine of choice being off the menu.
Atmosphere – 4/5. A lovely vibe… just a shame the space wasn’t more lively.
Value – 5/5. Rational prices for such high quality food – portions were also very reasonable.
Read more about Food and Drink in Manchester