Chef Simon Wood unveils new tasting menu featuring dish celebrating his Oldham heritage


One of Manchester’s most renowned chefs has unleashed a new tasting menu featuring a dish paying specific homage to his Oldham roots.

Chef Simon Wood, of WOOD restaurant on Jack Rosenthal Street in the city centre, has unveiled a new dinner menu featuring the likes of mushroom Koji ‘tea’, Orkney scallops and Cornish lamb.

But, it’s the ‘Some Beef, it’s Bones, and Whey-Soured Onions’ main course that Simon says he’s most proud of – as it celebrates his Oldham heritage and his childhood days of tucking into bread and dripping.

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“I’m so excited to finally get it on a plate and do it the justice it deserves,” he says.

In a detailed explanation of the story behind the dish, Simon describes it as something ‘I’ve been developing in my head for months, if not years now’.

Featuring a ‘rich and unctuous cut of British beef’ from Aubrey Allen Butchers in Coventry, the dish is served in multiple elements.

“This cut offers the perfect balance of marbling, flavor and texture I wanted for the dish,” the former MasterChef winner entails.

Former MasterChef winner Simon Wood has launched a new tasting menu at WOOD

“Cooked sous-vide before being seared in the pan with butter and thyme to the perfect medium rare, it’s a rich and unctuous cut of British beef with a texture like butter.

“Sat atop a white bloomer, fried in, and topped with, bone marrow, cured ox heart and tongue, served in a dish of liquid bone marrow seasoned with rich beef sauce and chive oil.

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“Also in a bone marrow and burnt ends butter, seasoned with potato salt served alongside a miniature malt, Blackstrap molasses and Estrella Inedit loaf.

“The idea behind these elements is simple, it’s bread & dripping, a staple in the north of England for breakfast, dinner and supper, and a dish that will always have a place in my heart.”

The dish is finished with a new take on the traditional ‘rag pudding’ – a popular savory dish usually consisting of minced meat and onions wrapped in a suet pastry.

Some Beef, it’s Bones, and Whey-Soured Onions pays homage to Simon’s Oldham roots

“A classic dish invented in my home town of Oldham and popular across Lancashire,” Simon explains.

“Traditionally a dish of mincemeat and onions, wrapped in suet pastry and cooked in cheesecloth. This is simply my elevated take on those classic flavours.

“I start by braising the beef shin for 24 hours with finely diced white onions, thyme and lamb’s kidneys in ArmAs Karmrahyut Reserve 2014, an Armenian red wine my sommelier team chose to pair with the dish.

“I then wrap it in suet pastry before cooking in the traditional manner. To finish, I glaze it with 20-year-old Mirin and Koji infused Soy, bringing in those Japanese elements that so inspire me, finally topping with fresh nasturtium leaves to give that little kick of pepper spice.

“The concept of this dish is simple, to utilize every element of the animal to show it the utmost respect whilst celebrating my Oldham heritage by plating classic flavor combinations served with playful authenticity through a modern, global interpretation.”

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The Mushroom Koji ‘Tea’ is described as a ‘warming umami bomb infused with aged roasted sesame and aromats’

Other dishes on the tasting menu include Mullet Roe with Charcoal on a Pillow of Eel, Hen’s Egg with Truffled Chips and Ham, Sea Buckthorn and Lavender and the unique-sounding Yorkshire’s Forced Rhubarb, Ewes Milk, and the Tree from Last Christmas.

Speaking of the dinner menu as a whole, Simon said: “I’m very happy with my new menu lots of time and effort has gone into it in order to show my identity and style as a chef

“There’s some new and reimagined dishes, designed to showcase the techniques and flavors we use in the restaurant every day.

“The finest suppliers the country has will provide seasonal, high welfare, foraged exceptional produce. Which will be treated with the utmost respect. Salt, milk, butter, vinegars, wines, oils, herbs and spices must be of the highest quality throughout the restaurant.

“Amazing produces treated correctly, as in the end, any dish is only as good as the products you are using.”

Last year, Simon launched a “UK first” cheese and wine fine dining restaurant within WOOD.

You can book a table at WOOD here.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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