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“Worldly Tapas”

The Refuge by Volta
Ranked #287 of 2,482 Restaurants in Manchester
Price range: US$32 - US$51
Description: A major success story on the Manchester food and drink scene with Electrik and Volta, Justin Crawford and Luke Cowdrey, aka The Unabombers, have joined forces with The Palace Hotel to curate the Refuge Dining Room & Public Bar. Head Chef Alex Worrall has created a menu inspired by The Unabombers global DJing trips with a range of small and large plates perfect for sharing.
Restaurant details
Description: A major success story on the Manchester food and drink scene with Electrik and Volta, Justin Crawford and Luke Cowdrey, aka The Unabombers, have joined forces with The Palace Hotel to curate the Refuge Dining Room & Public Bar. Head Chef Alex Worrall has created a menu inspired by The Unabombers global DJing trips with a range of small and large plates perfect for sharing.
Reviewed 23 August 2017

Situated in a beautiful Manchester-gothic building with an ornately tiled interior that somehow reminds you of both an art nouveau Gaudi masterpiece and a Victorian public WC a the some time, Refuge is a dramatic place to eat in Manchester city centre.

On arrival we indulged in a cocktail or two and I was pleased to see that the bartender not only made everything to perfection but also sampled each one once shaken to ensure that the perfect flavour was achieved - either that or he was a raging alchoholic!

The menu is essentially posh tapas. We attended as a party of six and therefore got to taste a good few dishes, all of which were surprisingly excellent. In particular the Tuna Tartare (or Sashimi as it is known in the rest of the world) was superb, but generally speaking I don't think that you can go to wrong.

Do prepare the somewhat ad-hoc delivery of the order though. Apparently this is all part of the character of the place as the food comes as and when it's cooked rather than when you want it. Although being minorly annoying and a generally poor excuse for a lack of planning on behalf of the kitchen, it does drag the meal out so you somehow feel like you're getting better value for money.

In all honesty though, the only reason for four stars instead of five is the price. Eleven bucks for three impossibly small slices of admittedly very nice cheese does take the proverbial urine and possibly a lot more.

So if your feeling flush and don't mind the funding the greedy owners luxury lifestyle then give it a go. You'll have an enjoyable night and at the end of it all you'll sleep well in the knowledge that yet another supercar won't go un-vinyl-wrapped. Enjoy!

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Chris W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 22 August 2017 via mobile

After a lot of deliberation of what to do on a dull grey Sunday in Manchester, we settled on Sunday lunch at the Refuge. Being from West Didsbury, we love the original Volta but weren't sure how it would work on a large scale. Well the answer is, yes! The atmosphere was great, the place was constantly buzzing, people coming and going all afternoon (we stayed quite a while).
The Sunday sharing platters are superb, I was kind of tempted to have one for myself but I resisted and did the polite thing and shared, the meat was cooked to perfection, particularly the pork which just melted in the mouth, the veg was crispy and the delicious Leek hidden in the cabbage was a nice surprise (my nan always did that when I was a kid!). The huge Yorkshire Pudding was also pretty close to my dear old nan's perfect puddings!
For desert I had the Lemon tart which was so refreshing, the rest of our table wanted to try but, like Joey Tribbiani, I don't share food!
The service was superb to match the quality of the food, and our waiter James must have the patience of a saint the amount of times we changed minds or asked for longer to decide! He and the rest of the staff didn't stop the whole time we were there but we didn't have to wait long for anything. All in all, it was a great afternoon and next time it rains or is dull on a Sunday afternoon in Manchester, which lets face it is most Sunday's. The Refuge is the place to go!

1  Thank An0y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 August 2017

Having enjoyed a meal at Volta in West Didsbury and heard good feedback about the restaurant from friends I thought this would be a good choice for a birthday meal. The food was OK though not reaching the level of excellence I was expecting. It is a beautiful location but lacks atmosphere - maybe because it was a quiet evening. As others have said the service is poor so much so it became amusing at how laid back and slow our waiter was. I would not return - there is so much choice in the city centre and places that are reliably excellent e.g. Mr Coopers

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank SAK2012_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 August 2017 via mobile

Visited twice while staying at the Principal hotel. Excellent bartenders and attentive waiting staff. Sunday Roast sharing plate had a generous portion. Live singer & guitarist perfect for a relaxing Sunday lunch time in a beautiful building.

Thank 5-Starred
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 August 2017 via mobile

As we stayed in the attached hotel, The Principle, we visited twice. The first time was just for drinks. The cocktails were very good however the table service was very slow.
The second visit was a reservation for dinner and we were very pleased. The food and cocktails were very good and during the evening there is a very lively bustling atmosphere with a DJ playing in the main bar - perfect for a friends night out, although probably not ideal if a romantic dinner for 2 is on your agenda. Our waiter, Ash, was attentive and good fun and made every effort to make our visit enjoyable.

Overall we enjoyed ourselves and would come back again although would suggest they need to work on the daytime drinks service.

1  Thank Topcat1980
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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