It was Kieran’s birthday on the 14th January, so we went to Kaleido on the following Friday night for his birthday meal. Kaleido is a fairly new restaurant, situated at the top of the newly reopened Urbis centre. I’d been to the restaurant before when it was the Modern and always found the food lovely, but slightly disappointing , so was keen to see whether Kaleido had stepped it up a bit. Thankfully, it did and was one of the best meals I’ve had in a Manchester restaurant and will be a new regular haunt for us, especially as it is literally on our way home.
First, let’s get the only con out of the way. We were a bit surprised that we had the entire restaurant to ourselves for the entire meal. It was a 8pm on a Friday evening, after all. However, it was the last Friday in January before payday, so I can’t imagine that any restaurant was full that evening. It was also the night when Manchester was pretty much shut down sue to snowy conditions, which probably didn’t help.
What may have also had an effect is that everyone I’ve subsequently spoken to about Kaleido had never heard of it and had no idea it was there. And that includes my foodie friends. To be fair, the only reason that we know about it, is that we walk past it every day on our way home. They really need to advertise more to get the word out.
Now, the good stuff. The decor in the restaurant is classic, simple and tasteful. Still have no idea why the Urbis has those stripes covering the windows, so only one end of the restaurant can see the view of Manchester city centre, but I doubt that the restaurant can do anything about that. I was just glad that we were seated at a table with a view!
The service, from start to finish was slick, efficient and friendly. Kieran ordered wine by the glass, since I didn’t feel like wine and he found a red that was both reasonably priced and delicious. I settled on drinking my favourite drink – Mojito cocktails – which were lovely.
We were given an appetizer to begin, which was wholegrain mustard ice cream. Though I know that savoury ice cream has been trending in the culinary world for a while now, this was the first time I’d tried it, so was quite excited by this. It was brilliant. The tartness of the mustard flavour was complemented by the sweetness of the beetroot and the coldness and smoothness of the ice cream was really interesting and new. Loved it.
The menu at Kaleido is great and there are a number of dishes that I’ll be coming back for in the future . I decided on the duck liver starter, since there isn’t a liver dish on the planet that I can resist.
There aren’t enough words to describe how much I love this starter. I adore liver anyway, but this duck liver was cooked to pink perfection, served with a sauce full of flavour and I loved the texture that the crunchy pine nuts brought to the dish. The strength of the liver was perfectly offset by the creaminess of the goat’s cheese. I could have eaten three courses just of this.
Kieran went for the pumpkin risotto beignets. He said that the pumpkin flavour was delicious and the beignets were lovely and crispy on the outside, but the dish could have done with more of the chestnuts.
Both starters were a good portion size, too.
For mains, I ordered by saying what I’ve always wanted to say in a restaurant; ‘I’ll have the lobster’.
Kieran and I both ordered the lobster, which was served simply as it should be. Poached and grilled, with thrice cooked chips and béarnaise sauce.
Kieran was a lobster virgin, so he was keen to try something new. As I am lucky enough to have an ex- trawlerman as a father, lobster brings back memories of being a small child, all of us sat as a family armed with teaspoons, furiously digging out lobster flesh from claws and legs. This lobster didn’t disappoint and tasted just as nice as the ones my dad used to bring back off the boat. Kieran loved it and is now a lobster fan, like me.
We decided to go for a cheeseboard instead of a dessert and chose to have 5 cheeses.
The cheeses were lovely, but neither of us liked the walnut and raisin rye bread. Rye bread is not a favourite of ours and we would have preferred crackers. The quince jelly was lovely, but the whole cheese board would have been lifted by something like candied walnuts, or fruit. This cheese board felt like an after thought to the meal rather than a proper course in its own right.
Overall, I would urge everyone to visit. I loved the experience and we’ve already booked again for Valentine’s Day. It saddens me that truly terrible chain restaurants with a celebrity chef name above the door *coughjamie’scough* is full to the rafters, when this place has tables free. Support your local restaurants, especially the ones that deserve it. And Kaleido definitely does.