Tag Archives: Spinningfields

Randall and Aubin – Manchester

“Another London restaurant gives Manchester a try. This one can stay for me. Probably the best seafood in town?”

Twenty-eight years of marriage, where do you go to celebrate that? Well, I chose ‘Randall and Aubin,’ latest addition to the Spinningfield end of good old Manchester town. I love seafood and I just fancied some. Thankfully The Flame doesn’t mind fish either! We were on. Couple of pre meal cocktails around town before sauntering along Bridge Street to the good old R&A. Looks good from outside. Two ‘Parisienne’ awnings with ornate script set it apart. I fully lit, street facing flash of seafood on a bed of ice, add a decadent touch.


We enter the long narrow room. A seated bar to the left, our coats are wafted behind a screen by front of house to the right. We feel very welcome. We are escorted to table 86. The initial excitement dips. The tiny round table is set hard against the wall. We feel hemmed in. Our next table of two, merely inches away, bask in acres of space. We mention this to Zak, our excellent waiter. Within minutes a nearby table, twice the size, swept down one side with banquette seating is cleaned and prepped. Immediately our enthusiasm is back up to ten and climbing. Bottle of ‘Mad Fish’ Sauvignon Blanc (£35)! Corked (well unscrewed) and cooling. Six plump, french oysters arranged neatly on a wire heightened platter (£15). We slurped our entree while taking in the fine ambience.

IMG_1808The idea, one presumes, is that you imagine you’ve been whisked to an elegant Parisienne Brasserie on the Champs Elysee? It works to an extent, reminded me a bit of the old ‘Cafe Rouges’ though. ‘Moulin Rouge’ mirrors and velvet curtains abound. The exposed ‘air-con’ ironmongery on the ceiling detracts slightly, but I’m quibbling.

Whilst fish and seafood is the main intent, and what we came for, the menu boats a collection of fine rotisserie meats too. The menu is extensive, a quid or two up compared to some others in town, but it is indeed a fine offer. I started up with the New England clam & bacon chowder with fresh corn bread (£5.50). A hearty meal in itself, robust flavours, loads of clams in a creamy broth. Utterly wonderful. The Flame went for the R&A crab cakes with lime mayonnaise, watercress & radish salad (a fairly hefty £9.85). Again rather good. I was allowed half of one!


For mains I went for ‘full faff’ whole, cracked, brown crab mayonnaise with R&A potato salad (£19.85). The ready dressed ‘low faff’ Dorset crab with R&A potato salad is £2 cheaper! Have to say it was sensational. Struggling to recall a better crab, good size too, but the potato salad is worth a mention. Piquant and tasty, perfect accompaniment to the main event. Thankfully, The Flame was perfectly happy catching up on Facebook whilst I cracked and crunched my way through this king of crustaceans!


The Flame had the Grilled line-caught tuna with roasted Mediterranean vegetables, feta cheese & an olive oil oregano tapenade (£19.85). A thick steak of tuna, cooked perfectly pink on a colourful bed of aubergine, peppers and onions.


By now we were stuffed, but couldn’t resist a sweet finish. The desserts, Sticky Date Pudding – with vanilla ice cream & caramel sauce and my Baked Vanilla Cheesecake – with caramel & salted caramel ice cream (both £8 each), both homemade were perfectly decent, but by then we were a bit over faced, especially after our rather splendid anniversary ice cream, presented by young Zak.


The bill romped in at a fairly hefty £135 including a 12.5% discretionary tip. But as we know, seafood in particular exerts a premium. Have to say this though, despite our initial hiccup with the table we thoroughly enjoyed our time here. The service was bright, attentive and knowledgable. TV chef Ed Baines is behind the R&A. The original is in Soho in London. I hope his selection of Bridge Street in Manchester as the next foray works out. We’ll definitely be back. This could well turn out to be one of our favourites places, watch this space……

Randall & Aubin Manchester
64 Bridge Street,
M3 3BN
Tel: +44 (0) 161 7111 007
Email: mcr@randallandaubin.com

Beastro – Spinningfields, Manchester

“Our bangers have been ‘bobbed’, we’ve been ‘well hung’ over and now its time for the Beast!

Great story this. Ive seen James, Heather and young Richard plunder the streets of Manchester and the farmers markets of the North west for several years now. ‘Bobby’s Bangers’ purveyors of fine sausages and latterly ‘Well Hung’ equally fine purveyors of well grilled, non vegetarian foodstuffs have set up shop as ‘Beastro’. By virtue of winning a ‘streetfood comp’ they’ve bagged one half of Spinningfields’s ‘Leftbank’ in the well heeled business district of Manchester.


The trio have grafted for a few months to convert the old three unit space into what is now a rather splendid and hospitable cavity. It’s an ‘L’ of a space, pigmented in a ‘duck eggish’ blue, with smart, light grey ‘countrystyle’ dining implements. If dining alone, it’s perfectly possible to hop on a stool and reside at ‘The Chefs’ table and watch young Rich et al. prepare your nourishment ‘live’ before your eyes.

As we were a gang of four we settled on a four berth bench by one of the large, floor to ceiling windows that light up one side of the space. We were able to choose as we were the only ones in. We surveyed the stark, black on white menus. As it was 3pm we had a choice of finishing off the brunch menu or firing up the evening card. As fine as the brunch menu read it was the serious evening stuff that we had come to trough.


We plundered the ‘pots and plates’ section first while we read the starters, mains, desserts and wines. A Manchester egg (£4), the cheese platter (£8) and some fine bread with bacon butter (£2.50) rocked up first. Richard even threw in a light smoked duck dish with leafy greens and heritage vegetables that he was pondering for a future menu. We lapped it up. The Yorkshire folk were thrilled with the cheese whilst us Lancastrians weighed in with the egg. The bacon butter won many compliments too.

Pots and Plates, cheese, manchester egg, duck, bacon butter

For starters we notched up a smoked mackerel salad with new potatoes and poached egg (£6), and a cod, scallops and curried fondant potato (£7). The salad looked a picture and tasted superb. If I was being picky with my Masterchef hat on, I could say the curried cod was the least refined dish on show, but as ever it was all wonderfully cooked and tasted tremendous.

mackerel salad, scallopp, cod in curry

For mains we tested out the true beast in us. Three steaks (rib eyes at £22.50) and the pork belly with sour apple, celeriac mash and crispy pig (£15.50). Normally a steak out can be a risk, but no worries here. Perfectly cooked, seasoned and delivered with vine tomatoes and beef dripping chips.


As ever I had to let you see what the desserts are like! My lemon meringue (£5) and the girls scone and jam (£4) were as delightful as they looked.


The bill came in at nearly £200 for the four of us, complete with a couple of bots of a rather spectacular red Malbec. Tne bottled beers look good too.

It was 3pm on a Sunday afternoon when we turned up. We were, and remained throughout the two hours, the only people in. Rather a shame really. It is early days and of course the main foot fall will happen through the week as the offices spill out at lunch and home time. Its open at 7am too, hopefully it can prise away some of the lucrative breakfast trade from chainster Greggs.

IMG_0347 2

They have a fine vision. They use local produce, they aim to charge a fair price and attract a loyal following who’ll use them regularly. They are certainly passionate having traded from the streets to this fine eatery. Definitely give them a try night or day. You deserve it…..


Irwell Square,
M33AG ,
0161 327 0265


Tattu – Manchester

“Spectacular setting, spectacular food…..just bring a spectacular credit card!”

The big tree, The glass front, the smart downstairs bar

The Flame set me a task. “Go forth and find me a posh Chinese”. Nancy our studious young granddaughter is about to hit 21, Chinese is her favourite. I set to with vim, vigour and trepidation. However, the memory banks had locked in an impressive image of a ‘big tree’ set in a rather grand dining suite. A lunchtime ‘reccy’ to Tattu confirmed that this indeed is a posh Chinese with a big tree in it. Unlike many of Manchester’s ‘approved’ chinese restaurants it is set in the business district of ‘Spinningfileds’ and not Chinatown.

The branding, funky shots

I will admit to not being a particular connoisseur of Chinese cuisine. Previous experience has me down as a ‘cheapest banquet’ type with the proviso that it includes duck pancakes!

We arrived on the prescribed date at 6.30pm prompt. The rain lashed and the wind blowed. You’d be hard pushed to find the place. It is hidden beneath a gleaming facade of architectural glass. A bizarre, galley wheel door handle guides you in. We were efficiently disrobed of our outerwear and led up a lengthy flight of steps, having left a tasteful bar area downstairs. I had thoughtfully arranged for a booth to seat our party of four. The two youngsters and indeed The Flame were suitably impressed. The Cooktwit’s brownie points were in the ascendancy from the word go.


It is a stunning dining area. Incredibly lit in a deep purple hue. The aforementioned fauna dominates the room. It acts as the focal point whilst several shell like booths radiate from its base. Our booth was to one side giving us a constant view to the centre. The gentle throb of electro dance tunes provided the background canvas.



Our table was served by our own waitress. After water was served we were then led through the highly colourful menu. It’s a surprisingly simple tome. a page of dim sum, small dishes, mains, deserts. sides and a set menu. We decided to have a small selection of dim sum to start, a small plate each, a main and a dessert. It all worked rather well.

Duck and lobster dim sum, small dishes, squid and duck salad

Each course was beautifully presented. First up the lobster and prawn toast and the duck rolls. We all raptured. An array of dips accompanied.

Next our small dishes. Chilli salt baby squid, crispy pork belly, duck and watermelon salad and satay ribs. Our young relatives were already suggesting this was the best place they had ever been. My pork belly was easily as good as any Ive had. I could cut through each glorious tower with a chopstick such was the softness of the flesh. The Flame cooed and marvelled at her salad.

Pork belly, ribs, steamed sides

Mains up next. The Flame had Red roast baby chicken. It came in an earthenware pot with ‘shrooms’ and asparagus, but sadly we considered this the most disappointing dish of the night. The young celebrant had black pepper and honey ribs, she reckoned these were the best ribs ever. They looked the part, decent portion too. Her sis Jess took on the black angus fillet, which also looked nice and pink.

The red roast chicken, skate wing with chilli jam
pepper ribs, angus steak

Though I say so myself I reckon I won with my choice, skate wing with chilli jam. Not too familiar with skate but clearly this chap had built up some strength before succumbing to my plate. I was scraping huge hunks of soft white meat from its bones for hours. Absolutely devine, the jam adding a much needed tang.

Having penned a celebratory paragraph earlier on in the week, a firework amidst a plate of colourful sorbets, heralded the grand reveal of a personalised fortune cookie. Nancy was suitably thrilled. We all agreed a nice touch.

the fortune cookie, the kandy cocktail

We then settled on desserts. These were truly spectacular. The Harvest Moon Festival (a take on toffee pudding with coriander and a whole host of stunning flavours), the Chocolate Satay (the satay in the shape of a pink macaroon) and Buddhas Hand (a stunning take on lemon posset). All wonderfully presented. It wasn’t all form over function though. They tasted incredible.

Stunning desserts, chocolate brownie, lemon posset, toffee pudding

By now the dining room and bar were at full tilt. The beautiful people had arrived in their droves. After a wonderful couple of hours it was time to settle up. £240 for four, with wine, the odd cocktail and a 10% service. A bit weighty, but it was a special occasion after all. To be fair it had met the brief with aplomb. The service was bright, alert, friendly and efficient. In short all you would want it to be. Our young guests had loved it and even now can’t stop talking about it. It must have done something right. The Cooktwit’s brownie points have never moved on so quick. It’s a thumbs up from me….

Tattu Restaurant and Bar
Gartside Street
3 Hardman Square
M3 3EB
Phone: 0161 819 2060
Email: hello@tattu.co.uk
Twitter: @tattumcr
Instagram: @tattumcr

Breakfast in Manchester – A Five Day Tour

“It seems you can get an early breakfast in Manchester, great start to the day”

The Cooktwit only earns his keep in Manchester. It’s an hours jaunt to the ‘metrop’. Breakfast is normally an early morning affair comprising semi skimmed milk and some wheat grains. For variety the grains may be flaked, branned, crusted or boiled.

The Flame took off for a week leaving the hapless cooktwit marooned. However, he doesn’t quake, he dusts himself down, gets out his credit card and hits town. An experiment ensued, what can Manchester offer for a mid-week pre office feed?

First up Pot Kettle Black, bit of a cheat this, I go here quite a bit for a ‘52diet’ porridge. Lovely little independent coffee stop in the Barton Arcade.  I’ve tried a few porridges in town. I reckon at £2.50 its good value for money, so I reckon this is the best. A good portion, still with a bit of bite and comes with a cup of honey and dried fruit. Could do with being hotter but you can break walls down with this. Good start.


Tuesday I nipped down to Wholesome and Raw, one of the six new outlets awarded a stab at setting up full time at The Kitchens in Spinningfields. As the name suggests they specialise in organic, good for you grub. I had what turned out to be a cross between a salad and a toastie. Toasted sourdough bread with super scrambled eggs on one and sliced avocado on the other. Flanked by tomatoes and shrubbery dripped in balsamic and oils. An unusual breakfast but nonetheless another super start. Copped me £6.90 though.


Wednesday over to surprise entry Per Tutti. An Italian restaurant by trade, but here it is offering a super breakfast menu from 8am. I dined alone in smart surroundings with great coffee. I plumbed for a smoked haddock, kedgeree scotch egg. Set on rocket it was a fair size and was very tasty. Came in at £8.50 with the brew. A surprisingly good start.


Thursday its over to Bills. First chain of the week, but one I’ve always thought seems a bit better than many. Been to a few around the country. They all seem well thought out with an eclectic interior and a good menu. I had the eggs benedict. I love eggs benedict. I’ve had better than this to be fair; I prefer a thicker hand cut ham, rather than the thin sliced stuff. But I’m quibbling, there’s quite a few in here, the service is perky and smart and it’s a great view onto John Dalton Street. All in Dearest of the week £9.30.


Final day, it’s a sunlit Carlucci’s in Spinningfields. Another chain, but again another quality one in my opinion. Had a corking fry up in Leeds once as well as several decent pastas around the country. Had a simple muesli and yoghurt which came with a dish of honey and a dish of berries. Good portion, great crunch and taste. Lasted me well into the day. Coffee always decent as well, spent many a time in Piccadilly waiting for train with one. All in £7.35.


Have to say I thoroughly enjoyed my little tour of early doors eating in Manchester. Couldn’t fault any of them. If you’re on a budget probably best to stick to a simple independent. All in all I spent £34.65 but each time I was well set up for the day. Ill certainly be giving this a try again as a little treat.