The Manhattan Club Bar and Restaurant, Fortitude Valley

Do you remember the Sex and the City episode* where Carrie and the gals were invited to the opening of a new night club called 'Bed'? It was dimly lit, with plenty of soft furnishings and red, lots of red...

Well I'll start by saying there are definitely no beds at The Manhattan Club (and given it's Wickham Street address that's probably a good thing) but channelling my inner New Yorker, this is seems like a fair take on what to expect when you are in the big apple.

The Manhattan Club opened quietly a couple of weeks ago after owners David and Glenda Jardine did some extensive research into New York bars.  Sounds like a even tougher gig than I have. :)

Positioned at the top end of busy Wickham Street, the two level club has been designed to evoke 'lower east side' with a long bar, great cocktails, a small menu with good food and live acts.

Although tonight there's no music, generally it flows from Tuesday to Saturday, with everything from a simple duo to jazz and even country on the play list.

Downstairs there's a bar menu with options including house marinated olives, sweet potato fries with ranch sauce, buffalo wings with blue cheese and a Manhattan Club burger with fries. Prices range from $6.50 to $18.  Yes, you can see the American influence in the menu.

Upstairs the food is more complicated with entrees (around $14), mains (around $28) and desserts ($12).
You'll find dishes include Baked beetroot, smoked bone marrow, feet and honey viniagrette; Risotto of exotic mushrooms; Red wine braised pork, potato puree, pea sprouts and XO mayonnaise and Roasted beef, cauliflower, blue cheese and chared leeks.

Front of house James McDermott says the Tuesday Tasting Menu, of which I am partaking, has been designed to let Head Chef Josh Lawson strut his French stuff. Josh was described as the sort of chef who watches Man v. Food and then tries to replicate what he has seen.  He also subscribes to Barbecue Pork Monthly, according to James.

His Tuesday Tasting menu, priced at $35 for six courses has to be some of the best value around town. The plates are small,  but the heightened flavours satisfying.  This is not a meal for a hungry man who likes a good bit of MEAT on his plate, but rather for someone who enjoys the dance of flavour and variety offered by a succession of finely tuned small tastes.

 So here's what we ate -

Goats Cheese and candied onion on an onion wafer

Cured kingfish with avocado puree, fennel and jalapeno eschabeche

Braised beef agnolotti, tomato and red pepper sauce with dried cherry tomatoes and parmesan
Miso glazed port belly, grilled scallop, mushroom XO and aioli
Grilled duck breast, celeriac puree, gruyere, celeriac fritter and rhubarb compote
Vanilla cheesecake cream, salted caramel, strawberries, pop rocks
Bottom line: Great addition to the Valley food and bar scene.
Best tip: Check the website for the entertainment calendar.

*This may or may not have been the Sex and the City episode where Carrie was busted for smoking illegal substances on the footpath after Burger broke up with her using a post it note.  Clarifications in the comments section appreciated. :)

Disclaimer:  E,d+bK paid for this meal.

The Manhattan Club,
178 Wickham St, Fortitude Valley.

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