“Proper old school, city centre ‘gastropub’ for some proper old school lads!”
The Cooktwit was tasked with scheming a small gathering for some old work chums and “None of that fancy gastro stuff you like” cried Joe, a surprisingly trim sexagenarian (he’ll like that – Ed). So where do I go? It didn’t take long to work out that Sam’s Chophouse would meet the brief. A thoroughly decent British menu, representing its rich history of feeding Mancunians since City last won the league. (What they won the season before last? – yes, you can’t say that now – Ed). Well anyway Sam’s has been around since 1872.
Its set up a ginnel, which itself is shrouded from the world by tram works. It takes some finding at the moment. It’s a grand place. You enter down a small staircase in to an old, wooden bar area. A seated bronze of LS Lowry doffs his hat. A pleasant welcome. A few pints of Bootleg ‘Lawless’ for the non-drivers was eagerly devoured. It was early on a Tuesday night. I had booked but didn’t really need to. The pub had a few in, but the restaurant was empty. The eating area is rather elegant. Mosaic tiles on the floor, with rich stained booths and fittings completing the old world charm. It’s very pleasant, though it was a little chilly at first.
Tom, our young, spectacled waiter soon had us settled and placed the leather-bound offer into our sticky mits. As I said the menu is littered with classic, British fayre. Joe was well impressed.
We ordered up. Kevin and Joe went for the corned beef hash (£7). It came deep fried with a poached egg and brown sauce. What a delight this was. Probably dish of the night. I wish I had ordered it. You can get a mammoth portion as a main for £13. The lads loved it. I managed a fork full of Joes and can confirm the ‘wonderfulness’. Johnny boy went for seared scallops with pulled pork scampi, salsify and apple (£9) for some reason I didn’t get a pic. I think John wolfed it before I got chance! It looked good though.
I had devilled duck hearts in paprika cream on sour dough bread (£6.50). To be fair this was pretty good too. I’ve never had duck hearts but you got plenty and their livery texture worked a treat with the creamy, spicy sauce. A real treat.
For mains, the heartier side of the brigade were swayed by the steak and kidney pudding (£14). A substantial case of suet filled to the brim with braised steak and lumps of kidney. A boat of light brown gravy turned up with an array of well turned out chips and mushy peas Im sad to say that both contenders referred to the offer being a bit on the dry side, despite the lubrication afforderd by the gravy. Kevin, not normally a chap to shirk on these matters, was visibly shaken as he was compelled to leave a good fifteen per cent of the pudding to the dishwasher. So moved was he by the dryness and the quantity. For the record I had a slug of kidney which I found to be perfectly fine.
I myself had the standard, but nonetheless rather creditable, fish (beer battered haddock) and chips (£13). The aforementioned chips were well turned out, but the highlight, easily was the haddock. Wonderfully crisp batter, hot translucent flesh. It came cemented to the plate with the mushy peas along with a ramekin of tartar sauce and a net of lemon. Nice touch. Thoroughly enjoyed. As good a plate of fish and chips as I’ve ever had.
Equally boring (some might say) Joe had the burger off the bar menu. It didn’t have the slurpy spectacular look of the ‘experts’ that litter the town, but it was cooked pink and Joseph himself proclaimed it the best burger he’d ever had. High praise indeed. (I have took him to Solita before now).
Joe and myself then had the Eccles cake (£6.00) and ice cream for afters. It was a bit thicker and smaller in diameter than our preconceived version. But fair play it tasted good. Much ‘mincier’ and ‘spicier’ than I remember them. Good ice cream too. A tinge of regret that I didn’t go for the Black Forest trifle.
For four it came to £134. Sam had already included the 10% service charge in that figure. We were a little surprised at this for a party of four. But happy to go with it. Young Tom had been a fine advocate for old school charm and looked after us well. He’d even laughed at Joes jokes. In summary a fine evening. Elements of superbly cooked food allied to a touch of minor disappointment. I will say this though, I’ll be back for a big portion of corned beef hash and a trifle sometime soon. Watch this space…..
Back Pool Fold off Cross Street
Manchester M2 1HN
0161 834 3210