Our trip up to Manchester was a chance to get away from all the stresses and pressures of wedding planning and the opportunity just to spend some time together.
We wanted to choose a really fabulous restaurant for a date night on Friday before we met up with our friends for the christening on Saturday.
Mr Silver and I used to know Manchester very well as he went to university there and I have a good friend from just outside the city, but now we haven't been there in years. So I asked my virtual friends on twitter for their recommendations for premiership restaurants up north. Specifically, I asked Mrs Petticoat, who has a fabulous blog commenting on restaurants in Manchester, London and the rest of the world.
Mr Cooper's House and Garden was the resounding answer, and one backed up by other tweeters. So of course, I booked it!
The restaurant derives it's rather odd name from the real Mr Cooper, a popular figure in Manchester. His family were coach-makers who once had a very beautiful garden, on this exact site, famous for it's fruits and flowers.
Hence the restaurant has a beautiful and unique garden theme.
Yes, those really are trees 'growing' in the middle of the restaurant.
And our table reminded me of patio furniture...
But it didn't seem naff or over-thematic. I was a buzzing restaurant full of character and style.
I eagerly perused the menu as I'd given myself the night off from my strict health regime.
The menu was created by chef Simon Rogan, who is one of the UK's most celebrated chefs. He already has a two Michelin star restaurant, L'Enclume, and has achieved great success at his first Manchester-based restaurant, The French. Climbing higher and higher, Simon is soon set to take over the restaurant previously occupied by Gordan Ramsay at Claridges.
The dishes on the menu at Mr Cooper's have an international flavour. After ordering our food, the bread was a welcome sight after weeks of attempting to limit my favourite carb.
Mr Silver suggested a bottle of Veuve, and I'm never one to say no to a sensible suggestion.
I chose a aubergine pancake topped with mozzarella and cherry tomatoes. It was like a mini-pizza but lighter and a great way to take a break from the diet without feeling too guilty.
Mr Silver chose deep fried prawns with mango and chorizo marmalade. On the face of it, a rather odd combination, but the chorizo was beautifully salty and the sweetness of the mango wasn't over powering.
My main course was grilled sole with ginger butternut, shrimps and boy choy. The sole and shrimp were perfectly cooked and the dish was light and delicious. My only complaint was the butternut squash puree was was overly sweet and not so much to my tastes.
On the basis of twitter recommendations, Mr Silver chose the ribeye steak with truffle pudding. As you can see from the photo, the steak was perfectly rare. I'd expected a heavy dish but the portioning was just right so there wasn't too much on the plate. And Mr S had to have chips too, of course!
And no cheat night would be complete without dessert.
Yoghurt cream with warm rice pudding, rhubarb and ginger was the lighter choice. I loved the different mixture of textures and the warm rice against the cool frozen yoghurt.
White chocolate cake with pineapple cardamom was a little stodgy but still totally delicious and the flavour combinations worked very well.
Thank you twitter for a fantastic restaurant recommendation! It was the perfect place for us soon-to-be-weds to enjoy a date night outside of London. I'm very much looking forward to trying Simon Rogan's new restaurant at Claridges, but we'll save that one until after the wedding!
Mr Cooper's House and Garden
The Midland Hotel,
0161 932 4128