Le Petit Blanc
Situated just off King Street, lying on Chapel Walks opposite Grinch Wine Bar, Le Petit Blanc (one of several Le Petit Blanc restaurants owned by Raymond Blanc in the UK) is one of the upmarket eateries in Manchester. Here's a comment from the cosmos, followed by spaceman's recollection from back in 2002 or so.
"A very nice Caesar salad and a delightful Pinot Grigio. Lots of room to park pushchairs too." - Pogle, Romiley
From the outside, it looks very modern and attractively glass-fronted. Spaceman and partner were seated by the window overlooking Chapel Walks, unfortunately facing half a building site and a network of scaffolding. However, it is difficult to avoid building sites in Manchester at the moment.
The service was very friendly, possibly a little over-enthusiastic, asking if we'd had a good day without really giving us much chance to answer. For starter, spaceman plumped for a favourite - Caesar salad, without anchovies. Unfortunately, and spaceman was warned, the dressing had anchovy in (although, in what form, spaceman wasn't sure when told this). Bits of anchovy were clinging to the underside of lettuce leaves, like the survivors of a sinking ship to inflatable life preserve rings. The little buggers. Still, the salad was of large proportions and the chicken and bacon were plentiful, all washed down with pre-poured bottles of chilled Peroni beer, served in large bulbous glasses. Lovely.
Spaceman's partner had wild mushroom risotto, which, it's fair to say, didn't last as long as the salad - but there was less of it. It was disappointingly lacking in wild mushrooms, apart from the few tiny slivers swimming in the cream sauce. For main course, spaceman played it safe and went for steak (gambling on medium) and was offered a butter-based curry-flavoured sauce, which was accepted eagerly. The steak was quite red in the middle, oozing blood into the delicate yellow sauce, and was succulent and tender. Normally, spaceman doesn't like steak too bloody, but this was fine. The sauce was subtle and tasty, and the dish was finished off with a bowl of thin fries, uncomfortably placed in the middle of the plate. The fries tasted a little too fried for spaceman's liking, but spaceman was never going to finish them all anyway (spaceman was stuffed by that point).
On the other side of the table, smoked haddock on a bed of potatoes with a mustard-based sauce was being tucked into with some gusto, although it was felt that the fish was possibly a little underdone and the dish rather overloaded with the potatoes. To finish the meal, a selection of ice-creams was shared (always room for ice-cream) served delicately on sweet biscuit wafer. All but the strawberry were tasty and refreshing. The final bill came to a very reasonable £62 (including an optional 10% tip).
55 King Street