A Cosy, Tasty Escape from Reality
Wooden booths, excellent service and warming seasonal dishes at Podium Restaurant provide a pleasant way to escape the rain for our reviewer
Review by Catherine Ferguson
When you’re having dinner in Manchester’s tallest building, it might seem a little glum to say that you ate on the ground floor. We were chuffed to discover that on a drab February night, Podium’s wood-panelled booths and hearty seasonal dishes offered a cosy, mouth-watering escape from reality.
Executive chef, Stuart Duff, prides himself on creating his monthly seasonal menu using produce mainly from the North of England, Scotland and the British coastline. My companion and I were dubious about just how ‘seasonal’ the blackberries were, but the coconut panna cotta they were nestled on the edge of was pretty damn good, so I think we can let that slide.
We found ourselves in that lovely position of struggling to choose, because there were so many starters that tickled our fancy. The duck and pear terrine and salmon gravadlax were particularly tempting, with an impressive range of vegetarian options, the Yorkshire fettle and pomegranate salad was of particular note. We decided on the meat sharing platter: bresola, Parma ham, pastrami, salami, olives and piccalilli to die for at £16 for two.
After kicking off with something of a carnivore’s delight, I opted for the £17.50 panko crumbed plaice fillet with mixed bean cassoulet and wilted spinach. There was a delightful, unpredictable juxtaposition between the oriental style fish and the wintery bean cassoulet. The cassoulet and spinach were strikingly smoky, conjuring up images of a stew whipped up by a culinary-adept cowboy over a camp fire.
The dessert menu was a little more pedestrian, but gave a firm nod to its Northern roots, boasting Manchester tart, Cheshire Farm ice creams and a variety of puddings that promised a great big dollop of custard on the side. On top of all that, there’s a delightfully decadent petit fours and fruit platter. Careful though, it’s hard to resist the urge to slip a macaron into your handbag for the journey home.
Above all else at Podium, we were wowed by the level of service. Granted, the restaurant was relatively quiet, but the staff’s genuine desire to engage with their customers was almost palpable. In reality, most of the diners appeared to be seeking out someone to empathise with them about the pouring rain running down the windows, but as I said, Podium is all about a cosy, tasty escape. I’m pleased to say, it provided just that.
Enquiries: Beetham Tower, 303 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4LQ / 0161 870 1600 / www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/united-kingdom/hilton-manchester-deansgate-MANDGHI/dining/podium.html