Heyyyy guys… so, since we have claimed to be such foodies, it was only fitting that one of our very first posts would be a restaurant review! Our reviews will focus on some of the aspects we look for in restaurants including the food (obviously), the “Instagram-ability” (i.e. whether there are any good photo spots), the service, the location, the atmosphere and finally, the price range.
The first restaurant to grace the food section of our blog is the infamous Menagerie Restaurant and Bar in Manchester. We went here for a belated birthday meal for Henna.
We started with some drinks – we don’t drink alcohol so we stuck to some mocktails for which they didn’t have a specific menu, but the waitress said that they could rustle us something up based on whatever fruits and flavours we liked. Not as easy as just picking something off a menu, but it meant we got personalised drinks suited to our own tastes which we thought was a great idea. We went for a passionfruit mojito and a classic virgin mojito. The mocktails tasted great, just your typical mocktails really: nothing exclusive or extraordinary.
Since the food is not halal, we mostly stuck to the appetisers and the small plates. We were told we had to order around 3 small plates per person, which meant we got double of most since we had to stick to the vegetarian options. We found that having to order 3 plates each was too much and we had quite a bit leftover as we found each plate quite filling. We got the Spiced Salt Popcorn Tempura – basically the batter of tempura with no filling, tasty but really quite salty; the Caramelized Halloumi – delicious, but you can’t really go wrong with Halloumi! ; the Baked Rosemary and Garlic Camembert – so tasty and perfect; the Mac n Cheese – we were quite excited with the way this was served, the mac n cheese was actually the filling of a breaded ball and was so delicious; and finally the Chilli Bean Mini Tacos – this was the vegetarian option out of the 3 options of fillings and we didn’t actually eat these, not our kinda thing! For sides we ordered a portion of fries and sweet potato fries, both perfect but again, very difficult to get wrong!
For dessert we got the All The Fun Of The Fair – not surprisingly, as it is one of the unique and most photographed (as evident on Instagram) dishes from Menagerie, so of course we had to try it. What makes this unique is the presentation: it is served in a Ferris wheel style “dish”. There was candy floss, popcorn, candy apples and mini donuts; we found the concept super cute. However, taste-wise – not exactly a memorable dessert. Still, we got some pretty cool pictures.
Overall, the food was lovely, albeit limited on the vegetarian options which meant we couldn’t really order any of the main plates. Another thing we noticed, which was quite different, was that the food was brought out randomly plate by plate rather than altogether. We had no problem with this as we were in no rush, but there were times when one of us would be eating whilst the others would just be waiting. However, we would love to go back again perhaps for the brunch menu as that sounds very appealing!
We’re not sure if anyone else ever considers such a thing but we definitely look for the next photo opportunity so we can post on Instagram! This restaurant was literally a dream for us and so if you can relate, this is definitely a place full of photo opportunities. The main attraction for our fellow like-minded people was the large frame with the neon pink sign “Trade Your Broken Wings For Mine”, complete with a bathtub full of plastic balls in front. The number of poses we could think of just looking at this spot was mind-boggling and you best believe we spent most of our time taking as many shots as we could without ‘hogging’ the area too much! There were plenty of other pretty picture spots like the table inside the birdcage and other various neon signs. It was definitely very aesthetically pleasing.
The Location and Atmosphere
Location-wise, it was not difficult to find, since we drove there we just put the address in the Sat-Nav and found it easily. We found there was a decent amount of parking nearby which is always a bonus when you’re wearing heels!! The outside of the restaurant was very deceiving as the surrounding area was not very busy. Contrast this with the moment we stepped inside the restaurant it was very busy and the music was playing: it was a totally different atmosphere, probably because it was a Saturday night. Definitely a good atmosphere, everybody was super friendly and just enjoying themselves.
This may be one of the only areas we could fault Menagerie. Unfortunately, we were seated in the bar area and we were the only ones having a full meal in this area. Although we had specified that it was for a birthday meal, we were still seated in the bar area. This meant we missed out on the live entertainment which we only got to see when we walked across to the restrooms. At this point we did get to see a performance in the aerial hoops which was really impressive so it was a shame we had missed out on all the other performances because of where we had been seated. Our waitress was also not very polite to start with but soon mellowed down a little and became more friendly as the night went on.
The Price Range
We would probably say that Menagerie would fall on the more expensive side but not anymore than we would expect.
All in all, it was a lovely night, beautiful restaurant with good food and a great atmosphere that we really enjoyed.