Monday, 25 July 2011

Review: The Northern Quarter Restaurant

The Northern Quarter Restaurant, Manchester

If you are going to Manchester, don't forget to pay a visit to the Northern Quarter Restaurant, Do not be fooled by its discreet and inocuous outlook. They focus their effort on good service and excellent food. Their prices are very reasonnable too. It took me a bit of time to get there. Simply because the menu seemed too European. But that was a big mistake. It is one of my very favorites restaurants around here.

The food is simple yet very fine. The flavours, presentation and taste get top mark. The surroundings for that level of cuising are surprisingly unpretentious. The restaurant feels very welcoming, intimate and confortable. The staff is well trained, discreet and knowledgeable (now that has to be praised, not that common in Manchester!).
I only have good things to say about them as you can see...
Here are a few dishes I had there:
Egg benedict
Egg benedict, a good test for a restaurant, this one was perfect, and the crispy bacon on top was a serious plus.
Black pudding and egg benedict
Back pudding: I hesitated to takle that dish, and I never regretted my choice, the blackpudding was light and moist, flavoursome
Steak and Guiness pie with peas and chips
One lunch I had guiness pie, peas and chips: the peas were ultra fresh and light with a hint of mint, The pie was like none I had before, the meat was tender and melting in the mouth, and the Guiness was not overpowering.
I had some fantastic fish and meat dishes cooked to perfection, well balanced and full of flavours, but I did not have my camera then, so you are very much missing out on their sight (hint: go check them out yourself).

The chef manages somehow to make his dishes very light (and the dishes above usually aren't), and one leaves the table feeling really good and satisfied.

The Northern Quarter Restaurant, Manchester

So give it ago -preferably during the week-, and please book or you might be disappointed. The experience is as good lunches and evening. They tend to have great offers mid week, check their website before you go for that: The Northern Quarter Restaurant.

Source: Photography by me.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Supper at the North Star Delicatessen

Last Friday, I attended a supper event in Chorlton, at the North Star Delicatessen.
Normally, reaching Chorlton has always been a bit of a chore, with overcrowded buses that take 25 minutes to get there. BUT, this time around, I have been able to get there in 15 minutes using the brand new Metrolink tram line. And what more, the North Star Deli is right outside the Chorlton stop. So, the evening started well I thought.
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First impressions: the Deli has a refreshing interior, white, clean, crisp and at the same time familiar and welcoming.
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On entering the deli, I met the friendly team, and had a browse to see the products sold there - only the ones shelved as the fresh produces were tidied away: it was after the shop opening hours -.

I was glad to spot a good selection of glass teapots (great to show off one's flower teas) as well as home roasted coffee, and teapig tea (I have a soft spot for their popcorn tea...).
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The shop is rather spacious, and the products well presented. A great incentive to browse. Also a good range of quality products (look, I'm not going to show it all to you, you'll have to come and see for yourself!)

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Anyway, back to the supper, with the menu below:

The meal started with a Mediterranean fish soup, not quite like my mum's, however very fresh with tasty pieces of white fish and a garnish of delicious shellfish. The rouille was not too garlicky - one of the chefs Deanna did warn us it might be quite strong - and I was rather grateful for that. Back home, my dad is the one in charge of the rouille (quite a delicate operation: it is not simply a mayonnaise with rouille spices...) and he overloads it with garlic, like anything he makes with it. Which means that you end up having garlic nightmares the whole night, and waking up realising it was not a nightmare, but a reality that lingers with the breakfast too.

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The dishes were presented and commented on by Deanna, and for the main course, Lee Frost the local butcher who provided the lamb, gave us a few passionnate words about his craft. That was very much apreciated by the foodies in the room.
An the lamb was..... amazing, cooked to perfection and tender o so tender it melted in the mouth. I am definitely set on paying some visits to the butcher now Chorlton is so easy to reach..
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And the dessert was the well chosen Manchester tart, the best one I've ever had, light, fresh, and I am not biased because they added my favorite fruit: raspberries, fresh and flavoursome.

I loved the very northern touch with the Vimto sauce...

Like after any good meal (I usually don't bother after a bad meal: it's a satisfaction thing...), I had a coffee, which happened to come with the wonderful Jenny's Salted Caramel French macaroons (yes Jenny, they are comparable to the french ones, you qualify to be honorary french for producing such goodness).
The meal was light on the stomach, the quantities were perfect, not too muc that woul;d make you regret having eaten too much nor not enough that would make you want to beg for more.
So if you add to the great meal the fab company I had, then it was a great evening all around, and a lot of very empty plates!
My last word will be to thank the chef and Deanna who worked so hard behind the scenes...
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Source: Pictures taken by myself