It's been a long time coming, but a Michelin star has finally landed on Manchester again. Over forty years since The French, Manchester's first Michelin-starred restaurant, lost its garland, the "curse" has been broken, with Mana the hoodoo-breaker.
Chef-owner Simon Martin, formerly of the acclaimed Noma in Copenhagen – once considered the best restaurant in the world – describes Mana as attempting to "rediscover anything that's been forgotten about Britain's indigenous produce and ingredients, and to then move forwards with that knowledge." The £105-a-head tasting menu features the likes of spruce, dehydrated scallops and beeswax.
The restaurant has achieved widespread acclaim for its inventive 16-course menu since opening in 2018, with The Times' Marina O'Loughlin saying: "If Mana doesn't get a star, it'll be pretty much proof of what I've long suspected: the tyre floggers are having a sniggery time trolling the city." In her 9/10 Guardian review, Grace Dent said: "Mana loves Noma like Oasis loved the Beatles. Positively, jubilantly, and creating their own buzz in the process."
Martin, who spent two weeks living on the streets after his unpaid internship at Noma, said "It puts quite a bit of pressure on. It's something quite a lot of people expected from the start but it's incredible." He later tweeted: "Can't describe how I feel right now after being awarded a Michelin Guide UK star for mana."
According to the Michelin inspectors, Martin's "vision really comes through in his cooking; it is intriguing, it is original and it is very exciting."
The Michelin Guide 2020 for Great Britain and Ireland contains a record number of restaurants, cementing the British Isles as an international foodie destination. There are now 186 Michelin-starred restaurants across Britain and Ireland.
The big winner was the Lecture Room & Library at Sketch, in Mayfair, London. The "quirky" French restaurant became just the 10th British restaurant in history to achieve the gilded third star. "This striking restaurant is the ultimate dining experience," said the Michelin Guide UK. "The array of tastes and textures provided by the multi-faceted courses are truly memorable."
It wasn't such good news for another of London's three-star establishments. The Araki, which earned three stars in the 2018 guide, lost them all. According to Eater, this is rumoured to be because the founder and sushi master, Mitsuhiro Araki, returned to Japan earlier this year.
Elsewhere, the guide highlights the continued rise the British small town and countryside in the culinary world. While London still dominates, restaurants in the Yorkshire Dales (The Angel at Hetton), the Herefordshire countryside (Pensons) and a country pub in Warwickshire (The Royal Oak) picked up a star – the Lake District picked up three separate stars.
Two restaurants in the UK picked up a second star, La Dame de Pic in London, a classic French spot, and The Dining Room at Whatley Manor in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, led by Niall Keating, named Michelin's European Young Chef of the Year in 2018.
New entries 2020, the full list:
- The Dining Room at Whatley Manor, Malmesbury, Wiltshire
- La Dame De Pic, London
- Aimsir, Kildare, Ireland
- The Greenhouse, Dublin, Ireland
- Variety Jones, Dublin, Ireland
- Mãos, London
- Alchemilla, Nottingham
- The Muddlers Club, Belfast
- Interlude, Lower Beeding, West Sussex
- The Royal Oak, Whatcote
- The Tudor Room, Egham, Surrey
- Endo at The Rotunda, London
- Bastion, Kinsale, Ireland
- Condita, Edinburgh
- Beach House, Oxwich, Wales
- Pensons, Herefordshire
- The Angel at Hetton, Yorkshire
- Mana, Manchester
- Opheem, Birmingham
- The Oak Room, Adare, Ireland
- Da Terra, London
- Old Stamp House, Lake District
- Allium at Askham Hall, Lake District
- Cottage in the Wood, Lake District
- The Dysart Petersham, London
- Artichoke, Amersham, Buckinghamshire
- Stark, Broadstairs, Kent