Homage is based on the second floor of WOOD in Manchester
The UK’s first cheese and wine fine dining restaurant has opened its doors in Manchester – and we’ve been given a look around what is set to become a haven for cheese lovers.
Situated on the second floor of WOOD restaurant on Jack Rosenthal Street, Homage is an ‘intimate and opulent’ setting providing just enough space for seven tables.
A selection of some of the boldest and greatest cheeses have been carefully paired with fine wines, liquors and beer and served alongside homemade chutneys, piccalillis, membrillos and crackers.
For chef and former MasterChef winner Simon Wood, who hails from Oldham, Homage is a labour of love that’s been more than two years in the making.
“When we reopened WOOD after lockdown, I decided that I really wanted to push for a star – that’s my ambition,” Simon tells the M.E.N.
“With Homage, we’re pushing ourselves as far as we can.
“Cheese and wine might sound really simple to most people but it took a long time to come up with this.
“Some of the chutneys we use have been prepared for over two years.
“We wanted to create something really quite humble and opulent.
“It’s very different but it’s something that’s interesting – it’s fun and exciting – and I’m really passionate about it.”
The menu features a range of soft, blue and goats milk cheeses, including the ‘pungent buttery-ness’ of Edmund Tue (£8.50), which stems from Blackwoods Dairy in Kent, to the ‘melting core’ of Vacherin Mont D’or (£8) from Jura in France.
Drinks on offer include Rolly Gassman Sylvaner (£8.50), a Gosset NV Brut champagne (£10) and Donkeystone Ferris Muler beer (£6).
There’s also the 1900 Md’Olivereas Moscatel Graudo Madeira (£98) if you feel super indulgent.
Also featured on the food side of things is the Owd Yonner Cheese Pie (£11), which comes with pinto baked beans and features a creamy cheese from Lancashire.
“I’m an Oldham lad,” Simon expresses.
“The guy who makes the cheese is someone who I use for a lot of my produce. His wife is from Oldham and so he named it after yonner, which is a sort of derogatory term in Oldham.
“As soon as I heard that story, I knew I needed to make a cheese and onion pie with it.”
In fact, most of the dishes have a story to them – chosen for that specific reason.
For example, a rainbow-coloured chutney pays homage to Simon’s childhood.
“My grandad and nana used to always make me cheese and beetroot sandwiches,” Simon explains.
“I always remember that I could go to the shop and buy some rainbow sherbet if I ate all my lunch and it would always be a different colour each week.
“The chutney is a play on that – it consists of pickled beetroot, fermented beetroot and a sauerkraut-style beetroot – and everytime someone comes in, it’ll taste and look completely different.
“I always put crisps on my sandwiches too so I thought why not make some crisps that are made from white beetroot and look like leaves.
“Everything here has a story.”
Simon says that Homage has been created to attract anyone with a love for cheese and wine – whether they want something reasonably priced or want to splash out on something a little extra.
“You can have really expensive stuff here or you can go the other way,” he says.
“If you want to come in and have truffle Baron Bigod with champagne and caviar then you can, but it’s going to cost you money.
“But we also have some real down-to-earth cheeses that are perfect for a light lunch on Friday.
“It’s a very casual affair.”
Simon hopes that Homage, with its warm setting and intimate environment, will eventually become a place where people know they can have a chilled and private experience with good food.
“You don’t have to get dressed up – you can just come in, chill out and have some really good cheese and wine,” he says.
“You’re not going to get any of this at home. Everyone can go to Asda and buy an assortment of cheeses and water biscuits – and there’s nothing wrong with that – but this is a really enjoyable yet indulgent experience that I think exceeds that.
“You’re not just buying a piece of cheese – it’s a real labour of love.”
Homage is open Wednesday and Thursday from 5pm until late, and Friday and Saturday from 12pm til late. More information can be found here.
Source: Manchester Evening News: Adam Maidment
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