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Nov 22, 2012 02:47 PM

[Manchester, city centre] 63 Degrees

Proper French restaurants are as rare as the proverbial hens teeth round these parts. So it was with some interest that we spotted this new opening a little while back and added it to our “to try” list. Well, we’ve been and were fed. And we’ve no real need to trouble them again. It’s one of those places where every dish is a notch or two below what you’d hope for and a quid or two more than you’d expect.

As you might expect, there was an amuse bouche. A pleasant enough shot glass containing a cauliflower cream. But, oddly for any restaurant and particularly a French one, there’s no bread offered. Not even as a chargeable menu item.

Scallops were well cooked and came sat on very tender leeks in a cream sauce. This was dotted with a little herring roe which perked up the look of a very pale plate but was in insufficient quantity to offer any contrasting flavour. The few spoonfuls of pumpkin soup were also pleasant and, at £7.50, you can be assured you wouldn’t feel you were getting value for money. Must be a great profit earner.

Beef fillet was a generous portion of good meat and cooked correctly as ordered. It came with an excellent sauce bordelaise. Also on the plate a “vegetable fondant”. No, we didn’t know what to expect either. Turns out it’s a sweetish biscuit or pastry slice topped with caramelised onions. Just a bit of an odd thing to serve with steak. Or anything, really.

For me, the signature dish of stuffed chicken breast cooked at 63 degrees – long and slow as the website puts it. Trouble is that it had been cooked too long and slow and was as dry as anything cooked hard and fast. The stuffing was the best bit and even that didn’t taste of much. But the star of the plate was a tiny potato pie. Think dauphinoise in pastry. Really good – turn it into a main course and I’d happily eat.

And to finish, I was never not going to order tarte au citron. Although the previous courses should have warned me off. Insufficient lemon and a pastry altogether too thick. Nuff said.

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  1. What a shame. You think it might be growing pains?

    2 Replies
    1. re: howler

      They've had long enough to grow now. I would echo Harter's feelings, parts of the food is very nice but there's far too many mistakes, and its pricing structure is way off. Our waiter was completely inept too (his wine recommendation was "red").

      Yet another occasion where you have to take Manchester Confidential's opinion with a large salt lick.

      1. re: johnlevon

        These days, I would not rely on ManCon to tell me the day of the week. That said, they are where I get most news of new openings.

        I rarely mention prices in my write-ups but Mrs H has insisted that I say more on this occasion, as just about every main course needs you to buy an add-on carb or veg as they don't come as complete dishes. As she says, that turns an already expensive £26 fillet steak into a thrty quid plate.

    2. Pity the chicken turned out dry. Isn't sous vide cooking usually done at 53 degrees? Maybe 63 degrees was too high a temperature. Name change in order, too, then.