Mana ends citys ludicrous exclusion from prestigious guide to eating out
Manchester has been awarded its first Michelin star in 40 years, bringing an end to a situation that has been denounced in recent months as ludicrous and a crime.
The star was earned by the former Noma chef Simon Martin whose Ancoats restaurant, Mana, opened in October last year to great fanfare.
At an awards ceremony on Monday evening, Martin said he had felt the pressure of the expectation that created, as well as of the citys decades-long failure to secure a Michelin star.
Yeah, I mean it was quite a lot of pressure. I think it was something that a lot of people expected from us from the start but it is just amazing to be here among all these people. Its just incredible, he said, when asked if he was ready to be the toast of Manchester.
Martin spoke about the influences on his cooking, which include the celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and the celebrated Copenhagen restaurant Noma, where he started as an intern in 2016.
In a review for the Guardian in August, the critic Grace Dent noted the extent of Nomas influence on the Manchester restaurant, saying Martins tutorship by [Noma chef] Ren Redzepi is clearly present in a million tiny ways.
Dent wrote: The name doesnt exactly throw guests off the scent, either. However, Mana loves Noma like Oasis loved the Beatles. Positively, jubilantly, and creating their own buzz in the process. This, as compared with the way in which Glaswegian cover band No-Way-Sis loved Oasis, by honking their way through Supersonic and hoping people were too pissed to notice.
Martin had an open kitchen installed in the restaurant and referred to it in his remarks on Monday. We wanted a kitchen to be aesthetically pleasing in the dining room, so we made it that and I suppose we changed the way the kitchen works quite a lot but it works very well for us, he said.
The Michelin Guides inspectors said his vision really comes through in his cooking; it is intriguing, it is original and it is very exciting.
The lack of a Michelin star has caused some consternation in Manchester. Simon Shaw, who owns El Gato Negro in the city centre, told the Caterer on Monday: For a city like Manchester that has a strong tourism trade, or for a city looking to build one, a Michelin star definitely has value, it elevates not just the restaurants profile but that of the town or city.
From a chefs perspective its the pinnacle of success. There are certainly restaurants in Manchester deserving of one, its a crime Manchester has missed out in recent years.
Other establishments awarded a star on Monday included three in the Lake District: Cottage in the Woods, Allium at Askham Hall and Old Stamp House. The Lecture Room, at Sketch in London, was the only UK restaurant to be awarded three Michelin stars at the ceremony.