Published on April 30th, 2014 | by Rahul Titus
Mr Cooper’s House & Garden
Summary: Affordable fine dining in a grand relaxed space with informal service. Definitely worth a visit.
It’s been a good year for the Midland Hotel. This iconic hotel in the heart of the Manchester city centre is now the city’s most decorated dining destination with Simon Rogan’s Mr Cooper’s House and Garden, the sister restaurant to the flagship The French recently being awarded two AA Rosettes. Add to this the three AA Rosettes the French (read my review here) already holds, and you have a food lovers paradise. Simon Rogan has definitely delivered on what he was brought into do – to turn The Midland Hotel into a Manchester landmark.
Mr Cooper’s House and Garden is one of my favourite restaurants in the city and I have being frequenting it since it opened last year. This 150-seat restaurant, with 50-cover destination bar, has a more informal feel than The French, and it marked an entirely new avenue for Rogan with the introduction of more varied, international style and menus.
And guess what, this restaurant has a good back story too – you know how much I love a good back story. So Mr. Cooper’s House and Garden is named after, you guessed it – Mr Thomas Cooper, whose house and famous gardens sat on the site back in 1819. This restaurant is a tribute to his families garden which was famous for its strawberries gooseberries, apples and flowers. Simon Rogan’s garden inspired cooking fits in conveniently here.
You can see the garden theme throughout the restaurant starting at the entrance. It’s grand (it is in the Midland after all) but it’s also green. The large planters outside the entrance give you a subtle hint of the this but it’s the interiors that really showcase the garden inspired theme – it even has a tree right in the centre of the restaurant.
The high ceilings, beautiful chandeliers, large windows and the leather seating giving this space a very relaxing old world charm. And I really like the well separated spaces that offers a multitude of different dining settings under one roof. Each corner of this massive space feels different and the bar really is something else.
Some of my friends were up from London and we decided to try Mr Cooper’s House and Garden for Sunday lunch. We were quite tired after getting back home only at 4am the night before, so we definitely needed some good food to wake us up. Emma was so tired, she had to be carried to the Midland hotel!
The extremely friendly staff greeted us when we arrived and sat us down immediately and handed us our menus. You have the option to order from the brilliant À la carte menu but I would highly recommend the lunch menu. They do a special Sunday roast lunch menu where you get two courses for £15 and three courses for £19. Fine dining doesn’t get cheaper than that!
We ordered our drinks as we chatted away and tried to pick a dish from this extensive menu.The previous night has definitely put us off the wine menu and I really didn’t want to see any form of alcohol for a few days at least. I ordered the Rose lemonade which was lovely – exactly what I needed. Emma ordered the Dandelion and Burdock lemonade which was brilliant – highly recommended if you don’t fancy alcohol.
I decided to go for the À la carte as I didn’t fancy a roast and I was not disappointed. I ordered the Fried Brioche, Black Pudding served with Apple and Bacon Jam for my starter. It was spot on – the fried brioche was delicate and light and the black pudding complimented the apple and bacon jam wonderfully. Definitely something I would happily order again.
Franky ordered the Parmesan Patties, Mushroom Ketchup and Baby Leaves which was a work of art – I could happily look at them all day. The sliders were definitely different with mushroom ketchup – we weren’t sure about the flavours initially but it works really well together. Well done Rogan and Co. (again).
The others (Seb, Emma, Jake and Matt) went for the two course Sunday roast menu which came with a starter of Mushroom Soup with Truffle Croutons and Coal Oil. Again absolutely spot on. Jake said and I quote “If soup tasted this good all the time, I wouldn’t eat anything else”. Enough said.
Those delicious starters were exactly what we needed to bring us back to life. But then the main’s arrived and it only got better. I ordered the Malabar Pilaff, Lamb Rumps, Garlic, Lemon and Chilli. Wow! Where do I even being with this beauty – it’s probably in my top 10 dishes I have ever tried! This Indian inspired dish is a work of art – it’s got some intense flavours and the lamp was absolutely spot on. I personally think, that this dish alone is worth a trip to Mr Cooper’s.
Franky ordered the Pork Chop and Sage Crust in Creamy Tofu which was pretty good. Again I love the combination of these unique flavours and they work really well together.
Being sunday, the main of the hour was the Roast Rib of Cumbrian Beef, Dripping Potatoes, Parsnip, Savoy Cabbage, Honey Roasted Carrots, Sprouting Broccoli, Yorkshire Pudding and Roast Gravy. I really like the way the chefs here use seasonal produce in the food. Being spring, the Sunday roast came with some beautiful purple sprouting broccoli. This is one of the best Sunday roasts in Manchester and makes any Sunday special.
We also ordered a few sides to compliment our mains which were perfectly done. I definitely recommend the Creamed Kale Spinach and Bacon – it’s creamy light and just divine! We emptied our plates pretty quickly as we chatted away, making the most of our Sunday. Gareth Jones, the head chef at this Simon Rogan restaurant knows fine dining well and the quality of the food served here is a testament to his skills in the kitchen.
Service is exceptional here too – expect the same attentive service you would expect from any Simon Rogan restaurant but in a more relaxed informal setting. As I was leaving, the waitress who usually serves me came up to me for a quick chat and checked in on the food and the service. Now that really is exceptional service! And the damage for all the food and good service – less than £25 per head. Fine dining doesn’t get cheaper than that! If you haven’t tried Mr Cooper’s House and Garden yet, I highly recommend you do, its definitely worth a visit.
Have you been to Mr Cooper’s House and Garden. Leave a comment and let me know what you think.