The restaurant is in one of the now gentrified industrial buildings that line the canal basin in the city’s Castlefield area on the rim of the centre (locals of a “certain age” still know the area better as “Knott Mill”). It was Manchester Restaurant of the Year in 2003 and, last year, took the Taste of Manchester award. And it prides itself on local food sourcing. Nice modern room - bar one side of a wall, restaurant on the other. Comfy seats - not always a given in Manc's "modern" places
Now, let me get this off my chest before I go any further. Don’t you just hate it when you’ve picked the restaurant but your companion makes the far better menu choices? Herself did it again tonight! She decided to order from the “Smart Choice” table d’hote menu – two courses for £12.95; three for £15.95.
She starts with cream of parsnip soup which was the sheer taste of cream and parsnip. Sweet, veggie, creamy – a drizzle of chive oil making the bowl look pretty without distracting from what was in it. She followed with a classic hotpot – well cooked flavoursome lamb topped with crispy potato. She said it just needed some pickled red cabbage which goes to prove that you can take the girl out of Salford…….
So that’s two courses - £12.95. She then went for cheese from the main carte (taking her total to £17.55). Three decent sized slices arrived with biccies and a relish – we identified Kirkhams Lancashire and Blackstick Blue but the mildly smoked one beat us (turned out to be another of Kirkham’s)
Meanwhile, I had drooled over the “a la carte” which was particularly appealing as the restaurant is still having its winter sale. I kid you not – until the end of the month, there’s one third off all carte prices.
My starter was a black pudding fritter and, as it arrived I felt my arteries furring up. Three slices of good pudding, very crispy beer batter, well balanced chutney. Main was rump of Herdwick lamb which came with colcannon and what was described as a smoked garlic jus. Colcannon was fine; jus was OK but didn’t really get any smokiness or garlic; lamb was good but was a tad stringy in the way that it can be when it needs another minute in the pan. The dish would have benefited from some texture contrast – a few crisp green beans or similar. I finished with apple crumble and custard – the texture of the Cox going well with the otherwise overpowering sweetness of the crumble. All in none too bad – but I’d rather have eaten Mrs H’s meal (although I did scoff half her cheese)
Several of the wines were included in the sale and were heavily discounted, so Mrs H got herself a bottle of Chilean Cab Sav for £12. Drinks before, bottle of water with and coffee after brought the total to a very reasonable £60. A 10% discretionary service charge was added – the menu making it very clear that it is all divided amongst the staff with the Company not hanging on to a cut. Good for the company – the staff were well worth it.