By Laura Turner
With an ever-expanding food scene, you are spoilt for choice these days with Manchester restaurants, but have you ever experienced this great northern city from the sky?
On the top floor of No.1 Spinningfields you’ll find 20 Stories, the highest restaurant in Manchester.
The restaurant is split into three parts – a cocktail bar, glamorous restaurant and rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the city. Whatever you choose, a trip here is more than just a visit, it’s an experience.
We popped in for Saturday brunch and were blown away with how luxurious the venue felt. From the open cocktail bar to the wall-size wine chiller and magnificent views, we were mesmerised.
Although 20 Stories doesn’t open until noon there was a large queue outside at least 30 minutes before that.
Make sure you adhere to the smart casual dress code otherwise you might not get past the doorman. Trainers, sportswear and caps are banned.
We headed into the dark, lantern-lit corridor and pressed the button on the private lift to take us up to the 19th floor. Despite the restaurant name, there isn’t a floor 20. The moniker derives from stories behind local music, culture and history.
Staff were very welcoming and quickly showed us to our table, right next to the glass window.
The views were so spectacular, it wasn’t long before we were reaching for our phones to capture it all.
It’s never too early for champagne, right? So we sipped on some cold Chandon (£11 per glass) whilst pondering what to eat.
We sat inside the restaurant and ordered from the à la carte, but if you fancy a little alfresco dining out on the terrace, which is partially covered and heated, there’s a separate menu. Think tapas-style plates such as Lemon, Basil and Mozzarella Arancini (6.50), Duck Spring Rolls (£9.50) and Truffle & Parmesan fries (£5.50).
20 Stories hosts seasonal pop ups on the terrace, such as the current Manchester Meadow in partnership with Manchester Gin.
A sky high afternoon tea is also available Monday to Thursday from 2pm to 4.30pm and Fridays from 12pm to 3pm.
For starters we ordered the Giant King Prawns (£22) and Seared Scallops (£19.50). This was followed by Roasted Sea Trout (£28.50) and Guinea Fowl (£28.50). All were beautifully presented and perfectly cooked.
Sharing platters of Chateaubriand (£85), West Farm Pork Chop (£48) and Whole Native Lobster (£85) are also available for two if you’re feeling extra hungry.
We were too full to fit in a dessert, but wanted to finish our meal with something sweet so ordered cocktails instead.
There is an extensive cocktail menu at 20 Stories, but we couldn’t resist their signature drink, the Manchester Tart Punch (£14).
Piled high with vanilla foam and bursting with flavours of raspberry and coconut, it’s perfect for those with a sweet tooth. The first thing we wanted to do was mix the foam into our drinks, however the waiter ensured us it should be sipped and not stirred. He was right, the flavours worked perfectly together.
Before you leave 20 Stories, you have to visit the bathrooms. With floor-to-ceiling windows, it’s the perfect spot for that Instagram photo opportunity. Also, where else can you go to the loo and have stories read to you? These short tales are rotated and played in the bathrooms throughout the day.
Best for: Brunch, cocktails with friends, date night
20 Stories, at No 1 Spinningfields, 1 Hardman Square, Manchester, is open daily from 12pm to midnight Sunday to Thursday, and 12pm to 2am Fridays and Saturdays
Prices start at £9.50 for starters and £25 for mains
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