Restaurant review: Brasserie Blanc

Camille Allcroft was impressed with the latest offering from the Raymond Blanc’s empire, with a menu inspired by his travels around the world

Brasserie Blanc brings Raymond Blanc’s authentic French cuisine to an elegant bistro setting which offers casual dining throughout the day. We went along to sample the summer menu at Brasserie Blanc Hale Barns recently, located in the Manchester Airport Marriott Hotel.

The seasonal menus feature a range of traditional French dishes alongside recipes inspired by global influences – think classic boeuf bourguignon or the more exotic Malabar fish curry. Floral displays and twinkling candlelight created a welcoming backdrop as plump rustica olives and baguette with aubergine and mushroom, spicy citrus and saffron mayo dips got the meal underway. There’s plenty of impressive wines to choose from as well as a cocktail list including both familiar favourites and intriguing choices, such as the rhubarb and honey martini.

Our appetisers paired perfectly with a crisp Château de Beaulieu Provence rosé, which delivered notes of strawberries and wild flowers. Starters including steak tartare ‘maison’ and Mediterranean fish soup sounded appealing, but the BB cheese soufflé proved to be a showstopper – made to Raymond’s family recipe, the airy soufflé was given a rich punch of flavour by warm Ford Farm coastal cheddar sauce.

Vegetable summer rolls with soy dipping sauce made a light starter suited to the late summer evening; the rice paper rolls stuffed with vermicelli noodles, avocado, carrots and cucumber were given a refreshing quality thanks to coriander pesto and a hint of mint.

On to mains and the salmon and crab fishcake had a generous amount of filling with a delicate herby flavour and crab mayonnaise, wilted leeks and poached egg rounded off this satisfying dish.
The steaks at Brasserie Blanc are 30 day dry-aged and sourced from prime grass-fed Cornish cattle. We opted for the 8oz fillet steak and the quality of the tender meat spoke for itself, while fries and creamy béarnaise sauce provided the finishing touches to this classic meal.

Time for dessert and pistachio souffléwith chocolate ice cream delivered pure indulgence without being overly sweet, while a zesty lemon tart with Normandy sour cream was another winner.

The verdict
Raymond Blanc is renowned for being passionate about everything he does and this restaurant does him proud. An ideal all-day dining destination where stylish interior design, varied menus and excellent service make for an enjoyable experience.

Manchester Airport Marriott Hotel, Hale Barns, Manchester WA15 8XW. 01618 702633, brasserieblanc.com

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