Last night my husband went to a beer festival, so I was home alone with the cat. After four back to back episodes of Modern Family, I was well and truly bored. I found myself planning today's little trip to Manchester, but fancied somewhere new for lunch. The Manchester dining scene is exploding at the moment, so there are always new places to try and updated menus to sample. Then I stumbled upon Kitchenette.
Kitchenette has spawned from the Mud Crab chain responsible for Mud Crab at the Grinch over the other side of town, and the Felicini's chain. Owners Neil Lawrence and Ged Lynch have kicked Manchester Felicini's to the kerb, and opened the slinky new Kitchenette in its place. The food is a wonderful hybrid of American-Asian delights, specialising in steamed hirata buns. It sits about a minute's walk from Oxford Road train station, so is really easy to get to as well.
Then follows a more intimate dining space with brown leather booths and soft lighting. Beyond that is the main dining room, which is a mish-mash of table sizes, all with a decent view over the Bridgewater Canal. Right at the end of the restaurant is a glasshouse style construction. Apparently the walls can open up in the summer for a more al fresco feel.
My poor husband was horrifically hung over, so I wasn't sure he would be up to the challenge of sampling the menu, but a shot of espresso later and he was on his way to feeling human again. He looked a little green whilst I sipped on ginger beer... I had originally ordered a strawberry milkshake, but I was a little disappointed with it. It was like flavoured milk rather than the thick, ice cream based shakes I'm used to.Fried Chicken - hot cajun spices and house BBQ sauce: These tasted sensational! The milkshake misdemeanour was forgiven in seconds. They were spicy with a decent crunch, without a hint of dryness.
Breakfast in a bun - sausage, bacon, fried egg and cheddar cheese: Apparently a miraculous cure for hangovers! Paddy went from creature to fighting fit in about three mouthfuls. We both agreed that this tastes like a decent version of a Sausage and Egg McMuffin. Odd. Well they do claim to be high class junk food...
Beef brisket chilli with cornbread, grilled cheese crust, sour cream and tomato salsa: There is enough chilli here to feed at least two people. It's all meat! I would have preferred the cornbread to be of the fluffy cake-like variety, but only because the main itself is very filling. Thank heavens for the refreshing tomato salsa! I was furious with myself for leaving any of this because it was absolutely delirious.
Mac n cheese: The quintessential side dish. I find this is a good barometer so order it pretty much anywhere that has it on the menu. Nothing to do with me being a proper porker. This had quite a mild cheesy taste, but a good breadcrumbed crust.
Today's fresh doughnuts with cinnamon and melted chocolate dip: I was sold on cinnamon really. I'm sure they were cooked fresh that day, however they had been kept in a fridge, so were very cold. These type of doughnuts need to be warm... think Pleasure Beach...
Lemon and Yuzu Meringue Pie with toasted rosewater marshmallows and pistachio crumbs: These rose flavoured homemade marshmallows were to die for, as was the thick lemon and yuzu curd beneath them. I felt like pig of the week after eating this. The only weird thing about it was a lack of meringue...?
This place will gather mass appeal if they make a few tweeks. I can see it being as popular with the pre-theatre diners as it is with the 'down with the kids' students. No-one else in the city is successfully providing the same fusion of styles, which will make it popular with friends who have different culinary tastes too. We'll be back for that fried chicken...
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