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Gary Usher, top restaurants


Words: Jean Hill

In conversation, there is a stillness and quiet assurance about Gary Usher. This could be deceptive, because he is capable of moving at break-neck speed. Blink and you could miss him opening another new bistro. We met up at Wreckfish, his beautiful flagship restaurant in Liverpool. In seven years: he has opened nearly as many eating places. They are located in the Wirral, Liverpool, Manchester, Didsbury and soon to be opened Prescot.

He readily admits that he had never heard of Prescot before he inspected a former Betfred shop, that somehow worked on his imagination. The plan is to conjure up a rustic bistro, on a high street that has hitherto been deserted after 5.30pm. The intention is to tempt people out to eat his signature French cuisine. There is enough local interest to suggest it will be successful.

Gary Usher has a great team, and entrusts most of the cooking to others, whilst he plans his next venture. He has his sights set on opening a boutique hotel in central Manchester. The focal point and meeting place would be, naturally, the restaurant. Gary believes that new projects create an air of excitement, that keeps it all interesting. A crowd-funding target can be reached within the hour. That’s the belief and enthusiasm that he and his team generate.

The menu may vary seasonally, but it does not deviate from classic, predominantly French cuisine. Choices of cuts of meat include silver-blade and skirt of beef, that benefit from loving care and unhurried cooking. Gary favours fish and cooks it beautifully. I always check the menu to make sure that my favourite dessert, crème brûlée is on there. It almost always is. There might be a smidge of star anise, or a subtle concoction of herbs in the main course dish. Whatever, the end result is always awesome.

Wreckfish, Liverpool: 0151 7071960

Burnt Truffle, Heswall: 0151 3421111

Hispi, Didsbury: 0161 4453996

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