1761 and Lilly’s Bar
For anyone who knows Manchester well, they would probably know of a restaurant called Avalanche, this used to be next to Croma just by King street. I went there a few times and it was palatable but unfortunately, it shut down. I eagerly waited to see what would fill the space and what delicacies would be offered. When I discovered that this site had been completely refurbished and become home to the beautiful 1761 and Lilly’s bar, it was safe to say that I was rather pleased. First impressions dictated that this gorgeous, sultry place would be perfect for date night, so when I was invited for a review I decided to put its aesthetics and modern British menu to the test.
There are two main parts to this space, the restaurant (1761) and the underground drinking den that is Lilly’s bar. On the way down to the bar I saw a wonderful quote which I knew I had to take a snap of (see below).
As soon as I walked in, I knew that they had hit the mark on the decor, the dimmed lights, chandelier lined ceiling and classical furniture made for a cosy drinking den or romantic dinner time venue. As real snow graced Manchester for the first time in a while, we were sat in the window, with a beautiful view of the snowflakes falling over the Christmas markets and we were able to watch people passing by. There is something strongly therapeutic about being sat in a cosy, warm room whilst you watch the snowy world pass by. I must admit that this was already sufficiently romantic but the candlelit dinner was about to make it a whole lot more…
Anyway, enough about the aesthetics and on to the important part… the food. I had my eye on the oysters, as I have only tried these once before, this was a few years ago during Christmas dinner in an incredible bistro in Paris. I remember being a bit unsure about the texture, so I thought I should give them another go. Unfortunately, they had none left! So to fit remotely with my dietary restrictions, I went for the Slow Cooked Duck Egg with parma ham, asparagus and Cobnuts (never have I even heard of these before but I rather enjoyed their strong flavour). The plate was topped with a perfectly cooked egg and had a delicious mixture of flavours and textures from the combination of the salty parma ham, crunchy nuts and delicate egg but I must add that this was a rather small portion for the price (£6.50). My date had the mushrooms on toast which he said has a great flavour but was accompanied by very hard bread and was also not necessarily worth the cost for the size (£7.50).
For the mains, I knew straight away that I wanted the dairy-free Mussels, as done right, these are my favourite meal as they take me back to memories of Oslo and Brussels. I must note that they were very helpful in bringing over a dairy free menu to help accommodate me and the service was understanding. Back to the mussels, to say they were dairy free, I loved them! They were quite clearly fresh and for £12 the portion was great. I am already planning my return to try these again! My dinner companion went for the burger without pork and remarked that it was tasty, fresh and juicy, all you could expect from a burger to be honest.
Now onto dessert, the only option that could be made dairy-free was the Mulled Quince, this was disappointing but understandable as this is the case with most places. I found this unusual, misdirected and lack lustre so for me it did not quite hit the mark. However, the sticky toffee pudding was extremely tasty and moist and the Manchester tart offering sounded delicious also.
Throughout the night we experienced great service, the staff were friendly, knowledgeable and attentive to all visitors and the timings of food were spot on. We never felt rushed or forgotten about.
Overall, we had a lovely night, the ambience and service was great and the food was pleasant. In terms of value for money, I would say maybe not the starters but the mains were definitely worth their price tag and £6 for a simple orange juice and lemonade based mocktail was quite steep… However, I would definitely go back for another romantic date night and know now that I will have to return with a group of fizz loving friends to try out the champagne bar downstairs.
Choice- 5.5/10 (limited choice for vegetarian or vegan)
Website – https://1761mcr.co.uk/restaurant/
Location – 2 Booth St, Manchester M2 4AT