I tried the £49.50 steak and chips at Tom Kerridge’s Manchester restaurant – and I’ve never seen chips like it


“I ate £49.50 steak and chips” screams the headline. “What kind of price is that?” you might be inclined to scream back.

But hang on, these are no ordinary steak and chips, these are celebrity chef Tom Kerridge steak and chips. The genial TV chef and holder of three Michelin stars at his Marlow gastropubs, Tom also presides over Manchester’s rather plush Bull & Bear restaurant.

Where, yes, steak and chips for £49.50 are on the new menu. And, yes, they’ve grabbed my attention.

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Tom this week proclaimed that “the reality is cheap food does not exist.” He, like many in the hospitality industry, warns of big price rises ahead in the restaurant world, a knock on of price rises in the farming world, wholesale world, the whole world in general really.



Tom Kerridge at his Bull & Bear restaurant

Restaurateurs, just like the rest of us, are having to work out how the heck to cope with spiraling rises in prices across the board – from gas and electric to the cost of quality foodstuffs. And for the beleaguered hospitality industry, the return of VAT to 20 per cent adding to woes.

Tom says it’s inevitable that in the restaurant world those escalating costs will mean the prices people pay at the table rising too. I mention all this, as I sit, staring at my near-£50 steak and chips from the newly-launched Spring menu at Tom’s Bull & Bear pondering where prices will head to next.

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The restaurant is to be found inside Manchester’s supremely plush Stock Exchange Hotel, the venue created by former Manchester United star Gary Neville and his GG Hospitality firm.

If you’re thinking restaurants like this are all about tiny tasting menus with incey-wincey portions and flavorless foam, then think again. For chef Tom has won all his Michelin stars for his “refined British comfort food” at his Marlow gastropubs.

And that’s the style you get here at Bull & Bear too, with the recent appointment of head chef Connor Black (formerly of Marlow’s Hand and Flowers) to steer the kitchen in Manchester. And he certainly doesn’t scrimp on portion size.

I mean, just look at the size of the chips. They’re massive. Like potato boats. Spuds on steroids. Tater trowels.



Massive chips – and a steak hiding underneath the onion rings

I don’t think I’ve ever seen chips this size before – or an actual potato big enough to birth such wedges. It’s hard for me to describe just how large these chips are, as I’m aware the photos here don’t quite do it justice.

The best way is to say if you look at the fattest finger on your hand, then imagine it three times the width and that’s about how big a single chip is. They’re huge. Unfathomably huge. Unnecessarily huge, as it turned out.

They were triple cooked, which seemed to make some of them a little too hard and crunchy on the outside, yet a bit dry and floury on the inside. It must be a difficult balancing act when frying something so gargantuan.

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Trying to show the size of the chips

There was just so many of them, I just can’t imagine anyone finishing a portion this size, or why you would want to either – I mean it must have been the equivalent of two jacket potatoes served up to eat.

But I tried not to let them distract from the main event, as the steak itself was immaculate – an exceptionally good, rich marbled 28-day-aged Hereford beef oozing with tender goodness. While it might look a bit small in the photos (thanks massive perspective-robbing chips) it was a large fillet, once disentangled from two massive onion rings on top.

Ginormo-chips aside, was it worth £50? Here’s the thing with dining at a plush place like this, you’re paying for more than just the food. It’s for the whole experience, and it’s for the skill and dedication of the chef and their team.



“One of Manchester’s finest dining rooms”

Tom’s Bull & Bear has all that in abundance thanks to a front of house team who make you feel immediately at home, friendly waiting staff and the restaurant’s seriously stunning setting inside the converted Stock Exchange building on Norfolk Street. Diners as old as I am may well remember dining at Stock Italian restaurant here back in the day, and marveling at the gorgeous domed roof and stained glass windows.

It’s one of Manchester’s finest dining rooms, and as a “special occasion” restaurant it’s got exactly the sort of wow factor you’d want. Not to mention the “Tom Kerridge factor” tends to be a bit of a draw.

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If I had my time all over again, would I choose the steak and chips again? Probably not. But hey, would the rest of my menu choices have grabbed your attention quite so much?



“utterly incredible” cheese scones with marmite butter

Would it have been suffice for me to ramble on about how utterly incredible the cheese scones with marmite butter were (priced at an indecently bargainous £7), eaten as my greedy precursor to an extraordinary salt cod scotch egg starter with pickled mango for £14.50 ?



Eccles cake served with Lancashire cheese at the Bull & Bear

Or maybe you’d have liked to read about how I finished the meal with a warm baked Eccles Cake, served in proper old school style with Lancashire Black Bomb cheese alongside it, a most memorable version of the regional cake for £11.50. Indeed one of the best Eccles cakes I’ve ever eaten.

Or perhaps you’d just want to hear about the headline-grabbing steak and chips. Perhaps that’s why it’s on the menu in the first place – to grab your attention too.

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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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