Saturday, 6 September 2014

Mr. Cooper's House and Garden - Sunday Lunch in Style, Manchester

I wrote this a year ago when Mr.Coopers first opened, I started a blog ('Healthy Weeks and Weekend Treats') but couldn't find the time to write it with all the uni work and swimming (and so deleted it and restarted with this one). So I'm going to use some of my older material from over a year ago as it is still relevant! But yes, I still agree with all this about Mr.Coopers (hence why I'm posting it) and I have been back many times! Highly recommendable.



Simon Rogan's Mr Cooper's: take a step into a tranquil (indoor) garden-themed haven of sophisticated serenity. And I mean what I say - it was not a dead ambiance, it was busy for sure, but calm nonetheless. It was my father's birthday, accordingly, a celebratory Sunday lunch out was definitely required. Aren't lazy Sunday lunches just the best? Our table was booked for 1, but we didn't leave our little garden patch dining area until about 4. Good work. I have a thing about light, not only do I like the ability to see my food, it just raises the spirits doesn't it. The lighting should be appropriate -  a Sunday lunch in a garden themed pretty-gourmet restaurant should be light. The massive windows and immensely high ceilings did just the job. The d├ęcor of the place had good attention to detail, we felt private at our table yet simultaneously were part of a pleasant atmosphere. 


Enough of that interior crap: the food. Mr. Cooper's now does a fixed Sunday lunch menu, so we were fortunate enough to have the option of a very good value pile of excellent quality comforting nosh. 2 Courses for £15, 3 for £19. Considering the quality and delicate preparations, this was very good value. My mother opted for the a la carte option - the Duck with Sweet Potatoe Casserole, this was perfectly pink, beautiful flavours but a tad on the small size portion-wise. This suited her as she likes to eat lightly, but I wouldn't recommend Mr Coopers for a fat binge (unless you want to spend extraordinary amounts). The Sunday lunch menu is restricted to one option at each course, but this was no bother to me as they were all lovely. (Note, there is a choice of 3 options with the week-day fixed lunch menu). The parsnip soup was delicious with appropriate undertones of coriander and cumin, the mixed foccacia that accompanied it was fantastic. Both the sun-dried tomatoe foccacia and the non-tomato one, which incidentally was fantastically garlicky, were a delicious accompaniment to the soup. 

I opted for a starter from the a la Carte (not part of my set Sunday menu). Pretty crazy, I know. Nick's Meatballs I believe they were called, but any name was irrelevant once these round beauties hit your taste buds. I wanted to sit on a mound of pillows in a silent room, alone, with a massive bowl full of these exquisite taste explosions - just me and them. Unfortunately I received a measly three balls of goodness, but I guess I had to leave room for my roast. Six however, would have been nice! They were awesome, the crunchy stuff on top (don't even remember what it was) was fab and the mousse like light tzatziki, equally great. 

Tasty Meatballs!
Moving on to the hearty roast: it certainly was a hearty affair. I wasn't expecting such a considerable portion, I was pleased as I do have a massive appetite. I like to stock up on plenty of veg and meat and all things tasty on a Sunday - this was a good choice. The beef was nicely pink, the goose fat potatoes were good, although I would like them smaller and crispier (that may be just me on that one). The parsnip puree with parsnip crisp was the best thing, although the cabbage with smoky bacon was a joy. I'm not as in to Yorkshire puddings as most of my peers seem to be, but it was a big bugger so I guess that passed the standard test. The gravy was gorgeous, I always require a lot and invariably ask for more. On this occasion they took a painfully long time to get me my second jug of richness, but obviously the wait was forgotten once my Yorkshire pudding was afloat in the stuff.

THE roast. See what I mean, rather large potatoes.

My dessert was a toffee apple mousse with a ginger Parkin and peanut brittle. I feel too much of it was essentially cream which just tasted of...cream. The peanut brittle was definitely needed texture-wise and most enjoyable. It took way to many mouthfuls for me to actually get any signal that there was apple involved, so I'd say I was slightly disappointed in the pud. Additionally the waitress lacked the ability to describe to me what a Parkin actually is. That's really not on at a place like this, especially when it's a cake associated with Yorkshire! The caramel tart with the mascarpone ice-cream however, was an enjoyable affair. Although, when I hark back to my holiday in America - the desserts are by no means comparable. That chocolate molten cake is yet to be beaten! 


The Caramel Tart (minus cheeky taste, soz)

Summary:
  • The building: set in the sophisticated Midlands Hotel, a peaceful garden-like atmosphere. Top marks.
  • The service: nice staff, but didn't know enough about the menu (she didn't know what a parkin was!) and too slow, I was kept waiting far too long for my extra gravy!
  • Prices: Good value Sunday lunch, A la carte was fairly priced too when the quality is considered, but the portions are small! (often the case with fine dining, but the whole point of this restaurant is that is more informal and appeals to a less select demographic -compared to Simon Rogan's 'The French' - also in the Midlands Hotel).
  • Recommend?? YES. A lovely experience and can be 3 courses under £20 if choosing economically! 
  • I'd liked to add - the drinks menu looked great (I WANT the 'affogato blazer', under the nightcap section) but I stick to tap water when I'm out. Athlete lifestyle innit! Plus limited funds of course.


I advise you to book - this place fills up fast - especially Friday through Sunday (I booked a few weeks in advance!). Plus, once word gets out about how good the gravy is, there will be Mancunians queuing up for the Sunday roast affair. They like their gravy up north. 

Quick Rating:
Ambience: 5
Service: 3
Value for Money: 4
Treat worthy? Its not really unhealthy here, but I'd say I have had better desserts elsewhere. 
GF/DF/Vegan: Not ideal

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