“No puddings were harmed in the making of this blog”.
I had to start with this, ever since the twitteratti declared ‘Beef and Pudding’ as the hot ticket in town images of the now infamous ‘Beef and Barbon Fell venison suet pudding’ have graced the timelines of foodies far and wide. And all for good reason, as many have declared it a splendid thing.
I know as blogs go for Beef and Pudding I’m a bit late really. It has been open for a few weeks now. The reviews have been flowing from the ether ever since. Whilst I work in Manchester, getting the planets to align sufficiently to waft the flame into the metrop and indulge in the latest of the New Moon Company pubs has proved more problematic than first envisaged.
However, before finally sitting to eat, I was able to ghost in one Friday Eve to sample the atmosphere and a corking pint of Cheshire ale. During this stop over I happened upon genial host and joint owner David Mooney (or @Gobbychef as he is known on twitter). Stout of build with a luscious top lip he reminded me of a defrocked version of the fabled, comedic, letch Jimmy Edwards (ooh he won’t like that – Ed). My reward for this chance meet was a small insight into what makes ‘Beef and Pudding’ tick.
First point was that social media had the saved the twosome (he and joint owner Paul Newman) a small fortune in marketing. Basically twitter alone had ensured the venture hit it’s stride from day one and that the budget sheets had been ripped up, as the 150-200 covers a day had smashed predictions and left the two chaps very happy.
To be fair it’s easy to see why. Ever since the menu was released prior to opening my lips have been smacking. It is a cracking menu and unlike any other. There literally is something for everyone. Even Auntie Nell (her with the bad flatulance and distaste of anything green) would have no trouble finding anything on here. Traditional British classics mix with quality local dishes all done with aplomb.
The interior kit out for me is a revelation. As Jimmy errr I mean David pointed out, they take pictures of what they see as a good idea and keep it holed up ready to unleash on the public in their next venture. The large metal lights over the bar being a case in point. Sadly they were beaten to the industrial scaffolding divider by Reds BBQ, which meant a quick redesign, but it was all taken in good heart. The tan coloured booths and the tiled bull motif are a particular triumph. I did ask whether they’d had the post box installed outside, but apparently that was already there. It features on everyone’s outdoor pictures!
But, I’m wittering on a bit here what about the grub I hear you cry. Well it was great, it met all expectations. For starters I had the ‘tempura monkfish cheeks’ (£8.95) which came with a glorious tandoori mayo and a homemade lime pickle. The flame romped in with a seared chicken, smoked bacon and avocado salad (£7.95) It was plentiful, colourful and very tasty. Even I got to try some chicken!
Despite the amazing menu believe it or not we both plundered our mains from the specials iPad! For mains the flame had two wonderful pieces of hake (£16.95) which came aboard green beans, new potatoes and then smothered in local brown shrimp. It was devine, perfectly cooked and hot.
I had a wondrous, trimmed rack of pink local lamb (£16.95). Bathed in a deep jus and nestled on potatoes and green beans. I love lamb and loved this. The meat needed the merest tease to lift it away from its bony frame.
And then there was the pudding! Or ‘The Pudding Plank’ (£14.95) which is what we had. This is basically as it says on the tin. It is a plank with pudding on. In a ‘frenchy’ bistro it might be known as an ‘assiette’, the plank is used to present hefty slivers of most of the standard dessert offerings. We got a cheese glazed Eccles cake, a banoffee cheesecake, a sticky toffee pudding, a chocolate tart, a chocolate brownie and star of the show a cherry bakewell pie. All this shared with a quenelle of cream and a goblet of luscious custard. It was a true sweet treat. We signed off with a decent coffee.
One of the objectives of ‘the beef’ explained by @gobbychef was to launch an outfit on the Manchester scene that served decent ale, decent wine, decent cocktails and great locally produced food. It seems to have carried it off. Im not a great afficianado of the grape but we had a rather agreeable gourmet Shiraz at £16.95 all after a couple of sizzling cocktails. The whole shebang came in at £107 which for an ‘urban pub’ is on the top end. That said we had the dearest items on the menu and wouldn’t normally have the cocktails so I reckon you could knock thirty or forty quid off that if you were concerned.
If we was to quibble we could argue about our table. As the late Michael Winner would say “he books a table not a restaurant” and ours placed by the meet and greet station at the entrance presented for the flame a constant view of the maître d’s and servers typing in the orders which she found a little distracting. Nonetheless we will definitely be back but we will be asking for one of those wonderful booths facing into the eating room where all the action is. This is a great addition to the Manchester restaurant wars. It’s great for a drink and as well as dinner serves food for breakfast, brunch and an express lunch. You can’t say fairer than that.
Beef and Pudding
0161 237 3733
37 Booth Street
off Fountain Street
Manchester City Centre