FOOD REVIEW Podium Restaurant, Hilton, Manchester
Tuesday 12th May 2015 @ 17:24 by Max Wieland
Business

Fine dining can sometimes be a bit tricky to find in Manchester, such is the abundance of comfortable cultured food in the city but dotted around town it can be found.

PODIUM RESTAURANT: Enjoy a casual dining experience at Podium, serving modern international cuisine.

PODIUM RESTAURANT: Enjoy a casual dining experience at Podium, serving modern international cuisine.

Sure, it comes from your usual places, hotels, more hotels, and away from hotels, restaurants that seem like hotels.

And that in itself is the main stumbling block when it comes to the argument of fine dining versus simple but comfortable dining.

Do I want to eat in a hotel?

Well, usually, no I don’t. In fact, I’m probably the biggest casual dining advocate of the lot.

But you can’t impress your other half or even your taste buds with a limitless amount of burgers, ‘dirty’ food and a burgeoning tapas scene.

So onto the Podium Restaurant it was.

It has always been something I have overlooked for its sister bar come snack venue upstairs at Cloud 23, mainly because I thought it was a stopping ground for its hotel guests.

It’s also always seemed a bit too open plan for a restaurant to but once you’re sat inside and your food arrives, you quickly lose sense of your surroundings – as impressive and grand as they are – and quickly become consumed with the food.

Created by Executive Chef Stuart Duff, it was great to learn that the restaurants numerous other chefs also take turns in creating the monthly rotating menus, such as the foods below.

PODIUM RESTAURANT: An array of food choices on the menu left our reporter Max Wieland more than impressed.

PODIUM RESTAURANT: An array of food choices on the menu left our reporter Max Wieland more than impressed.

The Soup of the Day, which was Asparagus soup (£5.50) and Rosemary Bread was light yet moreish and was the perfect option to start the Hilton’s tasting menu option.

The Red Mullet (£17) was firm and flavoursome and had the perfect balance of depth and freshness, which was aided with a good mix of pleasant on the eye vegetables.

And for the first time ever me and my partner tucked into the Duo of Wood Pigeon (£16.50), who knew it was so delicious? It was rich, pink and the texture was right on the money. This perfect pigeon was somehow improved with a good mix of sauces and its side of potatoes were absolutely divine, whilst the presentation was colourful and striking.

Thankfully there was no extra side of bullets with the pigeon, but what did strike me overall was how its taste changed and impressed with every cut and bite.

The trio of asparagus (£13.50) was noteworthy but as a meat lover it’s not something I would tend to choose over the many other offerings on the menu. That said, it is perhaps the pick of the bunch for vegetarians in this carefully crafted menu.

Served by the discreetly polite and welcoming Vicente throughout our near on two-hour stay, we finished with the Lemongrass and Coconut Panacotta with Spice Pineapple Carpaccio (£6.50), which was tidy, artistic and manageable.

At first glance, eating in a hotel might seem like a turn-off to non-residents, but when it comes with a name like the Hilton, you can expect a certain level of service, and thankfully, its staff on each front delivered on every level.

Review by Max Wieland.