Tag Archives: the old blind school

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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The Old Blind School – Liverpool

“It’s was only A bit of brunch but it was still a good feed”

It’s 9.30am Sunday morning, the flame and I have awoken from a slumber caused by a Saturday night Kylie Minogue gig! What to do for breakfast? I rather hopefully suggested a date at ‘The Old Blind School’ in Liverpool. Surprisingly, the flame considered this a good idea despite Liverpool being a forty minute train journey! We were on! Just after eleven we sauntered in to the latest and grandest addition to the NewMoon Company portfolio. We are big fans of Manchester’s ‘Beef and Pudding’ and so ever since the Twitter hype started ‘TOBS’ has been high on the list.

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It cuts a fine dash on Hardman Street; it’s a hop, skip and a jump from The Philharmonic. It’s a fine old grade two listed building. It’s actually difficult to believe that this is a restaurant. It is huge. Once in, we settled stage right on the ground floor. We were a little surprised at the lack of eating height tables, but we had little to fear. Dave Mooney (one of the owners) was on hand to supply a quick tour of the place, proudly revealing a further couple of floors. Upwards, via a magnificent staircase a further three rooms provide a veritable platoon of quality settings.

Some fittings
Some fittings

The walls are scattered with artworks reflecting the ‘Scouse’ heritage. ‘Lennon’ prints and nods to the original blind school usage make it more like an art gallery than a high end ‘gastro pub’. Not that that’s a bad thing. Greys, blues and yellows combine with wood, leather and daring chandeliers. It makes for a truly sumptuous experience.

More fittings
More fittings

As it was Sunday morning it was a heavily truncated menu. Its weekend brunch time. One of my favourite meals. It’s a cracking little booklet. Some slight variations to the normal suspects as well.

The brunch menu
The brunch menu

The Flame went for the 3 egg omelette or ‘Arnold Bennet’ as its called. It comes filled with naturally smoked haddock, cheddar cheese and double cream (£7.50). It was a fair old plate full, piping hot and chock full of flavour. The Flame really enjoyed it, but felt it needed a bit of something else, maybe some tomatoes for a change of texture and taste, but we are splitting hairs here. I went for the eggs benedict (£5.95) which were terrific; the ham was off the bone stuff, no pressed, boiled ham here. The hollandaise adding a luscious edge to the perfectly poached eggs. I washed this down with some French toast, served with strawberries and raspberries (£5.95) and lashings of hot coffee. The toast, super sticky and sweet. Good stuff.

French toast, haddock omelette, eggs benedict
French toast, haddock omelette, eggs benedict

It was only a quick impromptu visit and the ‘TOBS’ team were psyching themselves up for the father’s Day onslaught (the place was booked up twice over before five!). We’ll definitely be back for a stab at the super looking main menu which as with all the NewMoonCo outfits use quality raw materials.

The main menu
The main menu

And judging by this little visit, it would seem there’s someone who knows how to cook behind that newly transformed galley? A well marshalled fleet of smiling service staff, (Emily and Beefy’s Ashley were on hand this time) should ensure continued progress and success. Liverpool seems to be following hard on the heels of Manchester’s foodie explosion. TOBS is here ready and waiting! Bring it on!

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The Old Blind School
24 Hardman Street
Liverpool
L1 9AX
0151 709 8002

http://www.oldblindschool.co.uk