Manchester's answer to Nobu
Where? 36 John Dalton Street, Manchester. (0870 740 4000)
Mood? Greece is most definitely not the word at Ithaca. Instead, this four-story pleasure palace is home to a two-floor pan-Asian restaurant, a cocktail bar called Icarus, and Helios, a members’ club. The whole shebang is decorated in sleek shades of black, from the patterned screens dividing the booths to the massive shell-shaped glass bar in the cocktail lounge.
To eat? The white miso-grilled turbot and lime (£22) is Ithaca’s answer to Nobu’s signature dish. Chef Paul Day, in fact, launched Nobu Milan so he knows a thing or two about handling Asian ingredients. Graze on shared dishes such as roast duck, foie gras and eel dumplings (£7) or jasmine tea-smoked trout salad with green mango and star fruit (£11).
To drink? A bottle of Don Pedro de Soutomaior Albarino (£23) is a good all-rounder, or try your food and drink in one go by ordering the bar’s specialty ‘canape cocktail’, the Black Sea Martini (£7.50): vodka and squid ink garnished with grilled baby octopus.
Need to know? Owner Arnie Hira’s last venture was the wag-tastic Odyssey in Altrincham, so expect teams of footballer’s wives partying with the premier league of Manchester’s glitterati.
More cool pan-Asians? Haiku, 15 New Burlington Place, London (020 7494 4777, www.bukhara.com) ‘Asian tapas’ at this new import from South Africa.
Katana Oriental, 62a Union Street, Harrogate (01423 522277, www.katanaoriental.co.uk). Begin in the restaurant’s wine bar then return for after-dinner cocktails.
Okini, 70 East Street, Brighton (01273 779933, www.okini-restaurant.co.uk). Creative cooking and contemporary décor.