Tag Archives: hawksmoor

Top Dishes of 2015

I can see a bandwagon coming along. Yep, I’m on it. Welcome to my 2015 food review! It’s now customary to provide a small compendium of what has been quaffed over the last year. I did one for 2014 and that seemed to go down well. I’ve already read a few this year. They’ve generally been a more exotic round up than mine, but nonetheless the grub featured here is top stuff.

Like last year this isn’t all the top grub, but merely the ones that have stood out slightly from the rest. As ever, the joy of a decent feed comes not just from the food itself but from that certain feeling of well being that one feels as the plate, dish, tub, tray, slate (or even flowerpot) is first placed down in front of you and the experience starts.

The meals featured are in no particular order. Just generally great.

Early doors we went to Simon Rogan’s, The French in Manchester. This gives a reason to show some raw beef in coal oil again. I could have shown loads more. Suffice to say The French was very good indeed. But you already knew that.

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I love a decent burger. A newcomer to Manchester this year has been Filthy Cow. Young Jordan has done really well there. The filthy beast is a beaut, and washed down with a Ginger Comfort milkshake you really are on a winner.

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I love a good pud and have had many fine ones. Albina‘s (in Crosby) really hit the spot with their old school jam roly poly and custard.

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We went to Jersey for our hols. Michelin starred Ormer was a highlight. Loved the steak tartare with a horseradish cream. Jersey is a fabulous place to visit and eat. Mark Jordan on the Beach another one to recommend.

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Big treat for me is a Sunday Brunch. We had none better this year than at NewMoon’s spectacular, Scouse opening ‘The Old Blind School‘. Eggs Benedict and French toast, it was boss.

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French toast, haddock omelette, eggs benedict

 

 

Bit of a Spanish explosion in Manchester this year. Had wonderful octopus at Levanter, which is a sensational tapas bar in Ramsbottom (but somehow seems to be considered as near Manchester!). Had a corking paella in Iberica in Spinningfields and wonderous Iberian ribs at the Barton Arcades Lunya. All three will be on the list again for 2016, along with my old faithful El Rincon De Rafa.

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No year would be complete without a good steak. Didn’t have a better one that at Hawksmoor, Manchester. Sensational rib eye with anchovy mayonnaise and thrice cooked chips! Had a wonderfully indulgent lobster in a bun too.

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Had a short break in Barcelona for my birthday. Glorious tuna at the infamous Pinotxo Bar in La Boqueria market. Finished off the break with a suckling pig dish at 4 Gats in the old town.

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I love a Sunday roast, had none better than at Freemasons Wiswell. Simply stunning. Will admit though that The Bay Horse Inn (Lancaster) came up close.

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If pizza is your thing, (and occasionally it is mine!) newcomer to Manchester, Tariff and Dale in the northern quarter do a pretty mean one. Check them out.

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Best scallop and lamb meal was had in one sitting at The Cartford Inn (Little Eccleston) Pretty incredible really, never had lamb like it, totally historic.

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The Flame (the wife!) loves fish pie. Couldn’t get by without mentioning The Bulls Head at Mobberly. She reckoned that’s the best this year. Full of fish, beautiful.

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Love seafood. Who doesn’t? Didn’t have it prepared any better than at The Easy Fish Company in Heaton Moor. What a plaice this is! Well worth a visit. Has a lovely piece of plaice with a slash of Crustacea and shells. Incredible.

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Plaice with all the trimmings

 

Working in Manchester as I do, I couldn’t finish without mentioning The Kitchens. A new, six pop up, street food outlet in Spinningfields. All six are ace, I had them all. Long time favourite Mumma Shnitzel maintained remarkable, consistent quality for their chicken based burgers. Young Richard at Bangers and Bacon (as well as Well Hung) rocked up with superb meat based offerings. Hip Hop Chippy Shop did what it says on the tin with a cracking fish and chip butty. Chaat Cart (Indian Canteen) with the wonderful Aarti at the helm delivered amazing chicken kati rolls. Yakuhama and Wholesome and Raw brought some slightly less carb loaded nutrition to the table.

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Chip butty, bean salad, avocado scrambled egg breakfast, banh mi, kati roll, schnitzel.

All in all a fabulous year for food. I’m sure I’ve missed loads out. I could have added loads more too. Who will forget the Solita Christmas burger? and the lemon posset in a flowerpot at The Royal at Staveley? If you follow on Twitter you would have seen all this anyway. If you read the blog you would have had a bit more detail on these too. Read on if you really haven’t anything better to do!

Anyway that’s it. Happy new year. Let’s look forward to trying more great dishes in 2016!

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Four Day Tea Tour of Manchester

During the traumatic week that The Cooktwit was left marooned and had to fend for himself with a five day breakfast blitz of Manchester (see here) he also had to endure eating out straight after work for his tea as well. These things are sent to try us, but you’ll be pleased to know I gave it a good go. I deliberately chose either quirky, relatively new, or just plain different from my normal fayre.

If you’re canny Monday night in Manchester can yield a few bargains. I figured the 50% off food deal at Tariff and Dale, hip new pizza joint in the Northern Quarter would be a good start. And indeed it was. £9.60 all in for a rather fine Outstanding Brewery IPA, a rather generous plate of hot Njuda sausage and chilli pizza and a rather fine tublet of slaw. The pizza was a belter, typified by the rather fine ‘leoparding’ around the edge, ensuring the excellent dough base had been ‘caught’ at just the right time. I ate downstairs in the ubiquitous, NQ, industrialised decor. A thoroughly pleasant teatime feast.

Pizza and slaw
Pizza and slaw
More pizza with leoparding.
More pizza with leoparding.

Tuesday, it was over to another new, Northern Quarter outfit. This time Yard and Coop. It’s modus operandi is to ply the locals in buttermilk fried chicken. I’ve become fairly addicted to this stuff via streetfood favourites Mumma Schnitzel, so I was quite looking forward to compare. I had two decent chunks of boneless thigh. It comes with a much darker (and hence different tasting) crumb than Mummas, but it was nonetheless rather good. The chicken beautifully succulent. I had a couple of sides, a bean salad with creme fraiche which was rather good and a spicy slaw which was not. There was no mayo in it, so it was curiously dry, livening up only when a kick of spice became apparent. Had a corking vanilla milkshake with it. All in around £14. Loved the place, anywhere with a cartoon fox on the wall and some chicken coops to sit in has to be good right?

Chicken and milkshake
Chicken and milkshake
More yardage and the comedy fox
More yardage and the comedy fox

Sticking to the Northern Quarter I then nipped into El Capo for some Mexican tapas (via a rather splendid Seven Brothers Pale ale and a mojito at Beef and Pudding!). I can’t really tell you much about the decor. It was so dark down there I had to use my iphone torch to see the menu! That said I enjoyed the food. I had three plates, balls, heart and cheesy fritters. All really good actually. The cows heart with chilli was particularly good. Subtle liver taste and texture. The meatballs were massive. I imagined that size they would be too dry, but they weren’t. The cheesy fritters provided a lovely contrast to the other two spicy dishes. All in with a Shipyard IPA £18.

Heart balls and fritters. It's dark so apologies for the crap pics!
Heart balls and fritters. It’s dark so apologies for the crap pics!

A final touch of indulgence. Nipped into Hawksmoor (review here) for a lobster roll and chips. Slushed down with a Buxton IPA it was my biggest expenditure at £27.50, but Ye gods it was good. I recommend all to do this at least once! A lightly toasted brioche elongated roll (hot dog roll?) came stuffed with luscious chunks of sweet, garlic buttered lobster and a dish of buttery béarnaise sauce. I have waxed lyrically at the triple cooked chips before. Given it was sixish I had the exquisite restaurant to myself, I felt like a Lord! Forty five minutes of pure bliss.

Decadence, a lobbie roll
Decadence, a lobbie roll

The Flame came back Friday so it was back to a comforting salad for tea! Only kidding, we actually treated ourselves to a chippy tea. Rather good though I say so myself. Top week had by all. Spent a few bob but it was worth it. The new boys on the Manchester block delivered. Plenty more to come……..

http://www.tariffanddale.com   http://www.elcaponq.co.uk  www.yardandcoop.com   http://www.thehawksmoor.com

Hawksmoor – Manchester

“It would seem all the hype was right, a simple menu done extremely well”

The grand exterior
The grand exterior

It was The Cooktwit birthday, mid-July as always. My aim was to hit two Manchester biggies! An afternoon with the boys yielded a long sought after sortie to Iberica. That was brilliant. For the big day itself though, The Flame treated me to my other ‘on the list’ eatery ‘Hawksmoor’. It was heralded by many as Manchester’s most eagerly awaited restaurant opening. Its original London based versions are still lauded as places to be. Lots have been written about this Manchester version. I doubt I can add too much, but I’ll try!

The pass, the gleeful bar staff
The pass, the gleeful bar staff

It’s a grand space. Housed in an, old, former, Victorian courthouse on Deansgate. The grandeur is replicated within. Mahogany panels and leather seating defines the look. You enter the dining area via the bar and the spectacular pass. The gentlemen’s club persona continues. One could easily imagine Bertie Wooster treating Gus Finknottle to a snifter and a scotch egg whilst Jeeves* waits outside with the umbrella. Our Jeeves operated indoors by the name of Alex. Wearing a spectacular beard he sat down and explained in perfect detail as to how best to negotiate the evening ahead.

The dining room
The dining room

A Buxton IPA was his first recommendation. Needless to say that worked. He then led both The Flame and I through the card before delivering a stunning, three course meal. It’s a fairly simple menu. Meat or fish with all the trimmings. The only complication is working out whether to buy your steak by weight (about 10 pence per gram!) or as an individual cut and which sides to add.

For starts I had the scallops. Four massive roasted scallops, scalded to their shell with a crumb and tarragon, garlic butter. They cost £14 mind but blimey what a start. They were plump and delicious. The flame had the smoked salmon and soda bread (£9). Again, simple quality.

Bream in a bag, scallops, ribeye
Bream in a bag, scallops, ribeye

For mains we went for the royal sea bream with rosemary, garlic and chilli (£18). It came whole ‘en papillote’ with sweet potato side and buttered greens (£3.50 each). Cooked to perfection, the flame stripped it bare in no time. I went for a medium/rare rib eye steak (£26) with triple cooked chips (£4) and an anchovy hollandaise sauce. Hawksmoor is renowned for its steaks. It was easy to understand why. I’m struggling to recall a better steak. I’m not sure I’ve had one, it was off the scale tender. A word about the side. Chips for me nowadays are a rare treat. In the words of Michael Winner these were ‘historic’. A mild crunch outside with a soft centre, pure bliss. It’s worth coming here for these!

As ever desserts were called for. The flame opted for a very neat cheese selection (£10) complete with Apple and walnuts, whilst I went old school with a sticky toffee pudding and ice cream (£7.50). Both great.

The puds
The puds

If you’ve been adding up whilst you read, you may have noticed the cost was racking up! The bill came in at £121. Now that’s quite a lot. If you reckon on £80 for a good ‘gastropub’ equivalent you are looking at a good thirty percent more here. Is it worth it?…..I reckon so. We both thought it was a superb meal. Everything, as you would expect, was presented piping hot, cooked to perfection. Service was impeccable. Atmosphere in the grand room was electric as the punters gradually filtered in. A simple menu, all done remarkably well. If you like good honest grub, it can’t really be beaten. Book in as soon as you can. Don’t wait as long as we did……

HAWKSMOOR MANCHESTER
186 DEANSGATE,
MANCHESTER M3 3WB
0161 836 6980

http://www.thehawksmoor.com

*Anyone under thirty google PG Wodehouse!