Spotlight on - 1761 RESTAURANT AND LILY’S BAR
1761 RESTAURANT AND LILY’S BAR, Booth Street, Manchester - Best for a modern take on British classics all served with great cocktails on the side.
As Manchester continues to expand and thrive, Phil Healey and his team at 1761 restaurant are looking forward to the future and paying homage to the city’s past. The restaurant takes its name from the date which saw the opening of the Bridgewater Canal – a masterpiece of ingenuity and endurance – and the food and drinks menus are also inspired by the city’s rich history. But this restaurant is not to be confused with a theme bar. 1761 is an independent restaurant where fresh, seasonal and locally sourced food is served by a dedicated team, as we recently discovered.
1761 restaurant with Lily’s champagne bar located downstairs, occupies a great spot on Booth Street, just off Albert Square, with floor-to-ceiling bay windows making an impressive statement as you approach. We arrived early evening; the after-work crowd were settling in and tables were ready for the evening diners. The restaurant décor gives a nod to the city's industrial past, starting, as you enter, with the custom-designed giant bee metal-work door handle, signifying the Mancunian work ethic that fuelled the Industrial Revolution. The industrial touches are cleverly fused with plush deep red drapes and large chandeliers, giving the place a glamorous feel.
Speaking of glamorous, we began with ocktails and pondered the menu inspired by Manchester’s finest. How about a Hacienda? Or A Proper Brew? Martini Extra Dry infused with Earl Grey Tea is definitely given some strength by the addition of Finlandia Vodka and Peche liqueur and lemon. There’s even a mix for Mrs Pankhurst. But it’s the This Is The Place cocktail, which represents the ethos of 1761. Firstly, it takes its name from the famous poem by Tony Walsh, it’s made with Manchester’s own Three Rivers Gin and finally £5 from every purchase goes to the charity 4ever Manchester. This sums up perfectly the concept of a restaurant that is from Manchester and for Manchester. We can’t resist, and enjoy two glasses which combine the gin with a buzzing mix of apricot liqueur, lemon, orange, honey, thyme and bee pollen.
Cocktails ordered, we move on to the food menu. This offers a good selection of snacks and sharing dishes to start, including pork crackling with an apple and onion puree or mini ‘manc’ balls - small burger bites with cheese and bacon centre. Mains include classics such as Lancashire sourced sausage with creamy mash, or haddock and chips. The fish batter is made using the Three Rivers Gin, resulting in a lovely, light coating. There’s also a great selection on the grill, again locally sourced. Having begun with the very moreish ‘Frickles’ - dill pickles in tempura batter, we opted for the corned beef hash; a great, hearty dish that the team at 1761 has elevated with the addition of a smoky bacon crumb and a perfectly cooked and oozing duck egg on top.
As we dined the restaurant continued to fill up with diners and guests also heading downstairs to Lily’s bar. Keen to join them, we ordered dessert. This choice was easy and two portions of Manchester Tart were delivered and devoured, ending a wonderful meal full of northern charm.