Our last couple of visits have been less than stellar and we reckoned that, if there was another disappointing experience, we’d have to cull Jem & I from our list of local places worth a visit. However, dinner was much better than those visits and we’re both pleased that it’s staying on the list. Certainly the cooking is plainer than some years back, when the restaurant held a Michelin Bib Gourmand, but tonight’s experience shows that good “Modern Brit” food still ticks the boxes.
Well, when I say Modern Brit, I mean Modern Brit-ish. The starters owed more to the Mediterranean than Manchester. Home made houmous was good, as were the flatbreads that came with it. The other plate featured a few quickly fried squid rings. They sat on some well dressed salad leaves, scattered with chickpeas and chunks of chistorra – the spicy Spanish chorizo-like sausage. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
As you might expect from a neighbourhood bistro, steak features prominently on the menu and the ribeye was excellent. A generous portion of well flavoured meat which was nothing like as scaggy as some ribeyes you come across. There were roasted tomatoes to accompany – slow roasted, mind, not the quick flash under the salamander you get in most places. And there was a decent potato dauphinoise.
I try hard not to order pork belly whenever I see it on the menu and occasionally succeed. This wasn’t one of those occasions, I’m pleased to say. This was a good offering – meltingly soft fatty meat and really crisp crackling. It came with mashed spuds and cabbage. The sauce was a powerful well made affair, sweetened with prunes. Really good.
We were too full for desserts. Maybe next time.