[Manchester, city centre] Kaleido
Kaleido is the third restaurant to occupy the fifth floor of what was the Urbis Building and is now the National Football Museum. First, there was Le Mont – a restaurant that gave the impression that it would be difficult for it to get even further up its own arse. We never went and never regretted it. Then there was the Modern. Modern in its name and modern in its food. Good, well priced food, firmly set in the region and the wider grip of British cuisine. It closed when Urbis closed and was briefly mourned. And now there’s Kaleido. A restaurant owned and operated by the Kudos group which, Google tells me, is a contract catering firm offering services to “venues” such as conference centres. Yep, we could expect soulless food in a soulless restaurant and that’s exactly what we got.
Not a trick is missed. As we sat down, we’re asked if we’d like drinks. And bread and olives. Now, when that question is posed to you in that way, you know there’s going to be a charge for the bread and olives. But you havnt opened the menu yet, so you don't know the price. And a total of eight quid is just taking the piss. Particularly when it’s a dozen olives and a few slices of very indifferent bread.
On to the starters. Jugged rabbit was pleasant enough. Some long cooked bunny; another slice of indifferent bread (this time sourdough apparently) and some rather nice thinly sliced and carefully spiced red cabbage. The other starter was advertised as a roast pumpkin risotto beignet but was nothing of the sort. It was arancini - again pleasant enough with a nice crisp coating enclosing an underflavoured rice/pumpkin mix. The accompanying candied chestnut just about got the right side of the Trade Descriptions Act. Yes, there was a solitary tiny chestnut that was sliced so thinly that credit must be given to the knife skills of the kitchen.
Sea bass was fine, although it beats me why places serve fillets with the skin on if they can’t be bothered to crisp it. Accompaniments were, perhaps, better than the central ingredient. Crisp chorizo provided just the right amount of chilli kick; salsify added some textural crunch, and mussels added that “certain something” that mussels always seem to add to a dish.
Pork belly was excellent but was a masterclass in what might politely be described as restrained portion control. Three small cubes of pig – meltingly soft meat and fat and good crackling. They each sat on a teaspoonful of celeriac puree which added almost nothing. There was a nice little dice of apple and another of a tangy goats cheese.
We both took a side order of chips. And bloody good they were too. Perhaps the best thing I ate. Crispy outside; fluffy inside – and, wonder of wonders, proper chip sized chips. Not fries. Not “fat chips”. Just chips.
We didn’t bother with dessert but did have very decent coffee.
So, in summary, we’re glad we went to check the place out. We’ve no need to go again. And neither have you. The city centre can easily feed us all much better than this.