Two years after opening his first restaurant Wood Manchester, MasterChef champion Simon Wood has launched his most accomplished menu yet.
The chef patron who now boasts three sites in his portfolio has evolved his fine-dining menu over the past two years and taking his unintimidating and playful dining style to the next level.
Speaking about the menu Simon Wood said; “I am really proud of this menu and the work we have done in the kitchen to elevate the dishes to another level. They all feature more interesting ingredients and elements than before and some popular flavours from previous dishes – such as the Bagna Cauda – are back in a more sophisticated guise.
“For me cooking is about surprising diners with something they know and love but giving it a modern or slightly unexpected twist. We have all enjoyed the guilty pleasure of a chicken kiev or a black forest gateaux but I hope that most people haven’t tasted anything like my versions before.”
Simon’s passion is to take classic dishes and flavours and create his own playful twist, a perfect example of this is the veal sweetbread kiev which Simon describes as the ‘next level’ to old favourite, the chicken kiev. It is served with Banga Cauda and seasonal frills.
Another classic with a twist is the reinvention of the 80s dinner party classic dessert the Black Forest Gateaux. It takes those recognisable flavours of chocolate, cherry and kirsch and reimagines them in something quite grown up and luxurious.
As summer comes to an end the hero of the menu is the seasonal red deer, suet haunch, Douglas fir, crapaudine and neeps and tatties. The big flavours have made it an instant win for diners.
Other standout dishes are inspired by Simon’s love of a really great piece of fish. The new halibut starter which is served with tomato, verbena and lobster bisque. The dish uses all of the tomato, Simon’s team use the vines to make an oil which is drizzled over the plate.
Monkfish has been on the menu at Wood for some time and Simon has created two versions of its newest incarnation. An ‘all the meat’ version with with beef – oxtail ragu – and pork – Lardo – and one that pescatarian’s can enjoy with black trumpette ragu and yellow chanterelles.
The theatre menu has enjoyed a refresh too. It remains accessible but has developed to be more in keeping with the a la carte offering.
Simon explains; “What before was about pork chops and mash has been refined to enhance the experience for diners without increasing the price. We have a really good quality free range, corn-fed chicken breast in a delicious sauce with Marmite and cajun gaufrettes.”
The hero dish on Simon’s menu which tells the story of his time on MasterChef right up to the present day is his Citrus Tutti-Frutti. The evolution of this unassuming posset has seen it taken from a simple dish when Simon presented it to the judges in the final of MasterChef back in 2015, through to a lolly pop that packed a citrus punch and now it is a pre-dessert which is inspired by number of dishes from Simon’s cooking past.
It incorporates the pickled fennel which Simon cooked with at Sweden’s Gastrologik and the look and feel of the dish he cooked for the Chef’s Table, which was presided over by Massimo Bottura, the three-Michelin-starred chef at Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy. This dish which has meant so much to Simon also gives back to the profession with a donation to Hospitality Action for each dish sold.
The famous dish has also been immortalised in Simon’s favourite spirit gin in partnership with Didsbury Gin and Aldi.