To the Manor reborn

churchillCrowning a week of openings in Wanstead, Manor House has reopened as a very promising gastropub. The site of the former Allied Irish Bank and Conservative Club has been thoroughly renovated, and was buzzing with customers on Friday night.

Seating at the front of the pub, on the former car park, will become an ideal spot for summer evening drinks. The inside area is big enough to take sizeable crowds, and a restaurant will be opening in the next week. The man behind the venture is former City trader, and Wanstead resident, Mark Foster. The opening comes in a remarkable week for Wanstead, now two restaurants and a fishmonger richer.

Scroll down for Suki Orange’s review.






sukibigSuki Orange, Wansteadium’s food blogger, offers a first impression:

Banks turning into trendy wine bars – that used to be a bad thing, right? Well I think I’ve changed my mind. The natural physical assets of Manor House will be obvious to anyone who cares to look, but after an initial investigation I can’t resist recording something about the food.

Firstly I should say that the full dining experience of Manor House has not actually started yet. That won’t get under way until next week sometime, but as far as this week is concerned there is a selection of what seems to me to be some of the finest food you could hope to order at a bar – you know, next to the beer pumps. 

There will be time for fuller reviews (just as there will be for other restaurants) but let me tell you about three things I ate. One, Scotch eggs. Yes – but nothing like one remembers… warm, runny yoke (perhaps a duck egg?) and with a rich, salty, meaty casing no more than three-eighths of an inch thick in any part. The coating was black pudding: wolfed down by young and old alike, and it’s not often that happens in these parts.

Two, a mozzarella salad with roasted cherry tomatoes, a number of speciality tomatoes (striped, green and purple), basil balsamic, olive oil magically mixed somehow. If you know the strange feeling of eating in Italy, when everything just tastes somehow richer, then this salad has captured that. The availability of vegetarian options has been under discussion on this website this week. All I can say is, friends you’ll be happy here.

Three, burger and chips. The quality and flavour of the burgers in – yes – a brioche bun was outstanding, and though I will rarely admit that chips are my thing, these handmade chips roughly but lightly salted are indeed my thing.

All round the service and prices were surprisingly agreeable, and – hallelujah – families were indeed welcome.

So a word of caution to oneself before declaring that the holy grail has been found. This is just the first weekend, and who knows who the regular customers are going to be, or what sort of atmosphere Manor House will have in the long run. But I do suspect it’s Wanstead customers who will be sustaining it week in week out. And that juggling the different demographics who will be attracted to it will be no mean feat. Having said that, though, this is incredibly encouraging.  I’m a happy Suki.



19 thoughts on “To the Manor reborn”

  1. Just had a lovely coffee and croissant there. Breakfast menu coming soon and lunch is serve from noon. A very welcome venture.

  2. Not been in there yet but will in the next few days – friends who have been in say it’s excellent but extremely pricey..

  3. Very best of luck to this new addition to our High Street. I met Mark at his licensing hearing and he seems a very responsible and community minded guy (hence the chalk board to keep noise down). Look forward to visiting soon!

  4. Yes, we are dog friendly. Like their owners, if they are well behaved they are very welcome. There will be a lot of additions to the menu over the next few weeks. We look forward to seeing you all there!

  5. Went yesterday afternoon with the wife for the 1st time. Great selection of beers on tap and a fantastic atmosphere. We will be back for sure…

  6. Spent most of the weekend in/outside of this place! Thought I’d let it settle before trying the food, and whilst one has to allow for less than slick bar service in these early days, I did NOT take kindly to one of the girls behind the bar who is far too brusque for my liking. After several rounds of Estrella which had too much head on them, I said to her that they were not quite full measures. “Yes they are (pointing at the mark on the side of the glass), – the government has printed the measure for you on the side” she snapped, condescendingly. She is wrong, as that is not the line for the measure – it is merely stating the capacity of the glass. I don’t object to the prices at all, but I do expect a full pint and not 20mm of head.

    We also felt it may become rather Loughton-esque judging by some of the clientele, but so far, so good. If the food really measures up, then it should do well given the standard of what else is on offer on the High St. It’s a heck of a venue to fill, especially on weekdays/nights, but I sincerely hope they pull it off. I admire the commitment, which must have taken real nerve.

    1. Now I admit that I haven’t seen the specific glasses they use there but if there is a line on the glass, the line does actually identify the level of the pint mark as, with those glasses, they are intentionally oversized to allow for a head and the total capacity of the glass exceeds 1 pint.

      Therefore the barmaid may well have been correct in what she said.

      If however there is no line and simply the crown mark, the pint measure is to the top of the glass.

      1. Hi 640trev, Our staff had some fairly intense training ahead of the opening to give them the knowledge required for the roles. There are varied levels of experience in the team so we definitely won’t get it right every time to start with. I’ll take a look at Estrella and make sure they are being served correctly. As for the tone of the response, all of our staff have been hired, in part, because of their friendly disposition and this should be seen by our customers. If that wasn’t the case on this occasion, please accept my apologies and rest assured this will be raised during our next staff meeting. Best regards, Mark

        1. Thanks for the reply. If I am wrong about the glasses, then I apologise, but even if so, the response could have been less curt. I am aware that “oversize” glasses sometimes have a line which shows the level of a pint, but I don’t think that applies to the Estrella, which simply state “1 pint”, with no line. They don’t look like oversize glasses, but that may be an optical illusion! Anyhow, that is a detail – we warmly welcome your new venue and wish you the very best of luck with it. We will be very regular customers – especially if the grub’s good!!

  7. This new pub n nosh establishment shows (n)oodles of potential.
    The staff are friendly and way more efficient than the Cuckfield crew. The food looked good, was well presented and the tomato and eggplant based meals were fresh, tasty and moderately priced. the range of ales and lagers was pretty much as you’d expect but with a few tasty alternatives (Arbor was a tasty, hoppy and nutty bitter). There seemed also to be a fair range of wines available. Being this place has just opened Im sure the proprietors haven’t quite got it completely sorted as yet (some dodgy looking painting around door and window frames). A couple of issues though; the pastries on the bar really should be under cover. As delightful as they looked I couldn’t bring myself to eat one after seeing someone cough and sneeze nearby. And secondly what will they be doing with the big front doors during winter?

    I like this place but it seems to be missing an identity and character and in truth the ambience was a little bland and incongruent. I didnt quite know what kind of establishment I was sitting in.

    But im definitely going back would definitely recommend it and will wait patiently for the uniqueness of the Manor house to assert itself.

  8. TBH I think the opening was a little rushed – the ceiling/lighting/decor looks a little incomplete and there were no signs for loos etc. Not a criticism, I am pleased it has opened asap and is starting to make a little money for the entrepreneurs who are no doubt plowing some serious cash into this venture. I do think the kitchen supplies might have been a little overwhelmed, my wife’s caeser salad was tiny & lacking in lettuce, of all things, but my king prawns with fregola salad was nice, if a little too spicy, certainly for my mother-in-law…

    We went to a party out in Essex Saturday night and drove back into Wanstead about 12.45 am – there were about 5 police cars with blue lights on outside that Manor House and at least one person being led away in cuffs, so am wondering if the rush to open meant a lack of security on the door or that the place was targeted by undesirables…

    Either way, I wish this venture every success and they are a welcome addition to the Wanstead scene.

    1. Hi Peter, You’re right with the incomplete decor. We are still very much a work in progress. The next few weeks will see the paint work, softer furnishings, etc being finished off plus opening the first floor.
      To your point about the police cars, we saw those too. I understand that was stop and search outside the opticians and not related to patrons of The Manor House. We have a couple of very friendly security staff that were there on Saturday too.
      Food-wise, the fregola dish definitely does have a bit of kick. Our small plates on the bar menu are tapas style so that people can get to sample multiple dishes. Our larger plate, a la carte, dishes will be introduced in the next few days. Thanks for the feedback and we hope to see you back very soon. Best regards, Mark

  9. Popped in on the way home today.

    The front yard looked like a pleasant place to sit in the early-evening sun. Inside, I don’t think that they’ve got the furniture layout right yet: they need to experiment. The colour scheme is just bland and it looks bleak in front of the bar. The bar itself is the same colour as the walls. That’s a mistake I think. Looks cheap. They should pop over to the Empress on Lauriston Road to see how to do it properly.

    OK choice of beers. Certainly a better range than the Duke but that’s not saying much. If I were them I’d go for a few more local bottles – that’s something that they could make a feature of.

    But I’d guess that 640trev is right and that it will be a bit Loughton most evenings so that would push you to go a bit LCD on beers. The soundtrack certainly leans that way. That’s probably where the money on alcohol sales will need to come from (I see that BRB across the road only does £330k a year on food and drink from the local intelligentsia).

    B O’N

  10. Can’t wait for this place to running at its full potential, it’s a great venue and everybody should be happy we have such a place in our ever growing list of establishments in Wanstead instead of whining about….the meatballs weren’t round enough….I didn’t like one of the paintings… of the staff was slightly rude after my whingy whine….So good luck to the owners I’m sure you’ll do well.

    1. I hope that it gets up to speed too. I read most of the comments here as being hopeful. Hopeful that we get something different and better than the other venues nearby (a low bar admittedly – no pun intended). My worry is that we finish up with another chavy boozer, especially given how close it is to BRB, The George and The Cuckfield. Fingers crossed. Yes I’m a snob.

      Almost nobody is selling to the Snaresbrook demographic. What’s that? Well according to the ONS data the median age is 38 and 50% of the over 16s have at least a first degree. The only place doing that well is The Larder.

      There’s a gap in the market. Who will fill it?

  11. Can everyone give a new startup establishment a break. Moaning about the colour of the bar! Staggering. Likewise painting around the door/ceiling and lines on pint glasses!! Went in tonight, very nice place and unlike an earlier comment is as well priced as anywhere else. No food on Mondays (understandable)so will be back in later this week for the bar menu and subsequently for the a la carte. A great venue whose owner seems to have exactly the right idea and is clearly keen to make it an eatery first not an out and out boozer. Good to see someone also complain about the Duke’s beer. Anyone ever happy on here? Maybe we should ask for the Duke to return to a dive of a pub and Manor House to a closed bank? Useful.

    1. Oh Lordy.
      All of the comments (yes, all) on here have been positive, including mine. A guaranteed disaster would be an undiscerning bunch of adoring locals who refused to criticise anything. That could be a factor in why most other offerings in Wanstead are mediocre or at best, mercurial. Mr Foster seems to be a very clued up fellow and I am sure he welcomes such comments so that teething troubles can be sorted out. I am a small business owner myself, and if my customers have a problem I want to know about it.
      As regards clientele, we are where we are, sandwiched between the rougher East London hinterlands and the TOWIE “golden triangle”. It’s not Hampstead Garden Suburb. No venue can bar people for being orange and tattooed and wearing ludicrously priced teeshirts. It would be wise, however, if it didn’t allow the inevitable lairiness to intrude on others enjoyment otherwise it will indeed end up “like all the rest”.

      1. @640trev

        My sentiments too. As you say I think everyone has been making constructively critical comments. But I wish that I had used as measured language as you.

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