I'm visiting some old friends in Manchester in February and we are looking to go out for a nice meal - mid-level pricing (maybe upto £40 or so a head). Open about cuisine too. I used to live in the city but have only been back 1-2 times a year for the past few years, and am quite out of touch with the food scene now. I generally only go to Red Chilli when I'm up there now, but don't want to foist my desires for super numbing Sichuan heat and offal on my slightly more squeamish friends! There is also scope to travel outside of the city itself and into surrounding areas if needs be (though my friend lives in South Manchester so anything North of the city is probably not going to happen).
I've heard Stock is good, The Modern was bad at first but might have improved (is this true?). People have recommended Grill on the Alley but I have to admit I don't think it looks up to much. Any other recommendations would be gratefully received!