The Easter holidays always coincide with my birthday and provide an excellent opportunity for trying some new restaurants, and this year was no exception. As a birthday treat, Red had arranged for me, her and our two sons, Fidget and Shy, to go on the Coronation Street tour in Manchester. Now at the risk of this turning into a TV review, I must pledge my allegiance in the soap wars to Coronation Street over Eastenders. The former contains an element of humour and warmth that the latter eschews in favour of gritty drama. Now, when it comes to sitting down after a hard day’s work with my brew and cream egg give me Steve McDonald’s buffoonery over Phil Mitchel’s “You slaaaaaag” any day of the week.
After the tour we were looking to stay in Manchester for some lunch and, after a plea to the foodies of twitter, the Cook Twit proffered a visit to Beef and Pudding, Manchester. This is somewhere I have wanted to visit for a while and I also value The Cook Twit’s opinions so the decision was easy and shortly after departing down Rosamund Street, past the Rovers Return we pitched up, an hour ahead of our booking time, at Beef and Pudding. The restaurant is the creation of Paul Newman and Dave Mooney seeking to branch out into the urban Manchester scene with a focus upon good quality food from fresh ingredients in a relaxed and rustic environment. The curious title of the restaurant oroginates from a George Cruikshank caricature depicting the Peterloo Massacre.
The dining room was relatively quiet when we arrived and does indeed have a rustic and almost semi-industrial chic feel to it. We were offered our choice of booth and expertly set up with drinks and menus by our waitress Emma. Red, Fidget and I opted for the ‘Express’ menu (which offers to have you ‘done and dusted’ in under 15 mins) whilst the ever-fussy Shy stuck to the Little People’s menu. Shy selected the garlic bread followed by Real Chicken Nuggets. As I have suggested already he is very fussy but was pleased with his food, in particular the light brioche garlic bread.
As for the adults, Red went for the Beefzilla: roasted brisket with sweet chilli, mayo and salad wrapped in a flatbread. This she thoroughly enjoyed with the quite indulgently dense beef being balanced nicely with the light almost teriyaki-like dressing and leaves. Red’s only criticism would be to have had the beef more evenly spread throughout the flatbread, rather than concentrated in the middle – a small thing but offered as a suggestion. Fidget chose The Beef (he really is his dad’s son!): this was rare roasted beef on a toasted brioche with onion, tomato and lettuce. He said the meat was cooked perfectly ensuring it was both “succulent and tender”. he chose to have his accompanied by shoestring fries which he described as “almost exactly like McDonald’s”, now this may sound like a criticism but is actually as good a compliment as he could give!
Despite the plethora of decent meet dishes on the menu I was drawn, like a moth to the light, like Nigel Farage to a racist gaff, like Raheem Sterling to a shisha pipe, like Tony Stewart to Tracy Barlow (Coro reference), like a chubby person to a broken lenten promise, to the Blackpool Tower: this was beer battered fish and mushy peas in a buttered barm. Except of course it is much more than this, the batter of the fish was excellent ensuring it remained crispy whilst allowing the excellent fish to poach beautifully inside. The brioche bun was toasted and avoided the risk of becoming soggy with the peas and tartar sauce. All in all this was a delightful dish accompanied by a well dressed watercress and rocket salad, slightly tricky to eat because of its size but, for me, the pick of the very good mains.
For dessert we opted to share The Pudding Plank: this is a collection of most of the desserts on the menu and definitely worth the £15-95 price tag. Served on a wooden board we had chocolate brownie which was warm with a chewy centre, so good Shy ordered one for himself (Red’s favourite). The sticky toffee was also very good, moist with a hint of ginger. The cheesecake had a sharp tart topping of berries that worked well with the creamy luxury of the cheesecake and crispy base (Fidget’s favourite). Chocolate mousse was served with a mimosa shot which was very light and delicate with wisps of cocoa throughout. Finally there was a warm bramley apple and sultana pie which was absolutely delicious, a real treat, served with vanilla seed custard. The custard had a sweetness that would have made Greg Wallace smile! The only negative comment would be the practicality of serving custard on a flat wooden board – having said that it didn’t last long enough to drip off the board.
All in all a very enjoyable meal, with good quality food, service and surprisingly, for a good city centre eatery, value for money with the bill coming to just over £60 for the four of us. A big thank you to The Cook Twit for the tip off!
Type: High end restaurant
- Service: 9/10 good, prompt and professional!
- Atmosphere: 8.5/10 quieter of a lunchtime but nice rustic / urban chic.
- Food: 9/10 Highlight were the desserts.
- Value for money: 9/10 bargain lunchtime menu.
- Overall: 9 A very good meal enjoyed by all.
Website: Beef and Pudding