Vermilion Restaurant and Cinnabar review, Manchester       

September 19, 2019

So in my attempt to eat my way through Manchester (though my pace of restaurant sampling is a bit slower than my time in London), I recently dined at Vermilion Restaurant and Cinnabar.

For those who don’t know, Vermilion restaurant is a fusion Indian/Far Eastern place (yeah I know, another one).

Except Vermilion takes bling to a whole other level. It literally looks like they raided Harrods when kitting the place out. Think marble tables, pillars and wood carvings aplenty.

Red marble decor at Vermilion

It’s not my first visit to Vermilion. I once went years ago to a friend’s party when it was newly opened, and I was suitably underwhelmed.

I paid £26 for a set menu which featured a spoon of boiled jasmine rice, a lemon-y fish shared between three of us, and two other dishes that were far too forgettable to recall.

I thought the place was style over substance, with a focus on the decor and presentation rather than the food itself. Basically, it was an Instagrammers dream, before Instagram was a thing.

After that experience, I hadn’t visited again until now. And there was one thing that reignited my interest – the buffet.

The buffet at Vermillion Restaurant and Cinnabar

Vermilion do a Sunday lunchtime buffet, and I’d heard good things. I figured it would be a change from the usual buffets I’ve frequented in Manchester, such as Sanam, Nawaab and the Red Hot World Buffet.

And I’m pleased to report that the experience of Vermilion Restaurant and Cinnabar was much better second time around.

The buffet is relatively small in comparison to the grand display at Nawaab, but it didn’t lack in quality. They had meat samosas that tasted delicious (to the uninitiated, meat samosas can be hit and miss when it’s from anywhere other than my mum’s kitchen).

The chapli kebab was juicy, well flavoured and melt in the mouth. Thankfully, there wasn’t a dry kebab in sight, these chaplis tasted like they were freshly made to order.

Vermilion had a central island which houses the curries, and true to its promise, there was a good amount of Thai and Chinese dishes.

Food at Vermillion Manchester

This is where Vermilion comes into its own. Whereas other buffets such as Nawaab offer some fusion items, they’re not really fusion, it’s more like an offering of pizza and chips and some noodles. Whereas with Vermilion, care and attention was put into creating authentic Thai curries and beef rendang.

But as my hubby reminds me, it’s not really fair to compare Vermilion with Nawaab, as the latter doesn’t advertise itself as a fusion restaurant, so it’s like pitching apples against pears.

However, as both primarily provide Indian cuisine, have the same price point (more on that later) and are super-decadent, it helps provide a benchmark for you lovely readers.

Anyway, back to Vermilion Restaurant and Cinnabar… 

There was a station where a lady made fresh papaya salad to your taste, right in front of you.  I tried some, mistakenly agreeing for it to be spicy, and she delivered. A bit of a tip: if you can’t handle fire-hot, don’t ask for your papaya salad to be spicy, as she ain’t messing around.

Another nice addition was the sweet potato fries, a healthier alternative to regular chips for Hannah.

The dessert section was so-so. The usual fayre of dinky cakes, ice cream and fruit salad was on hand.

So how much for dining in such surroundings? Well, it’s a princely sum of £17.95. Nearly 18 quid.

Now, in true honesty (you wouldn’t expect any less) it’s a bit pricey for what you get. Given that there aren’t that many dishes, and soft drinks aren’t included, Nearly £20 seems a bit much.

Vermilion is the same price as Nawaab, but Nawaab has a more dishes, a wider selection of salad and dessert.

Also, if I was to compare with JRC Global Buffet in London, both Vermillion Restaurant and Nawaab seem a bit steep. As with JRC, they have an extensive food offering, with a made to order seafood counter (read: expensive), as well as bottomless drinks included for £20 per head.

So would I visit Vermilion Restaurant and Cinnabar again?

Despite what I’ve said about Vermillion being overpriced, I would visit again. Not to do it for the gram, but because part of the reason you’re paying high is because you’re paying for the bling.

The place is freaking unreal.

You’re there for the opulent surroundings as well as the food itself. It’s kind of like the many afternoon tea places I’ve visited in London. I’m not forking out £50 for the scones, the real selling point is that I get to feel like a queen for an afternoon before retiring back to reality.

However, Vermilion isn’t a place I’d frequent regularly, I’d save it for special occasions, like when I want to impress a visiting guest, or I’m feeling fancy.

Oh and a tip for anyone visiting to take great Instagram photos: use a flash on your camera. While it looks fab to the naked eye, Vermilion doesn’t picture well, as I found with the picture below. See, that’s why I’m not an Instagram mega-influencer.

Vermilion Restaurant and Cinnabar in a nutshell…

Price: £17.95 per person for the weekend buffet

Halal: Yes

Great if… you want to do it for the gram, i.e. find a bling-tastic place to take fabulous pictures and sit is opulent surroundings.

Not so great if… You want an extensive buffet selection for a bargain price. Cheap it ain’t.


About the Author


I’m not a makeup artist, chef, lifestyle guru or stylist. I’m just me. And like you, I’m trying to make the best of most things, only I’m sharing my warts-and-all thoughts along the way.

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