Monday, 21 April 2014

Beef and Pudding, Manchester

Beef and Pudding, Manchester
I've been a bit absent in the whole 'Manchester dining scene' recently. To be honest, I've been pretty busy with a new job and baking too many cakes! I only found out Beef and Pudding was opening when I got an email from them. We couldn't make the preview nights, but we were in Manchester on the opening weekend for the Cake and Bake Show. It's just round the corner, so it would be rude not to eh?
Beef and Pudding, Manchester
Their corner site is impressive, with a smart exterior and those flashy neons that attract foodies like moths to a glowing lightbulb. Inside is just as grand, with a mixture of high benches, regular tables and leather booths. We could see into the busy kitchen, which appeared to be run like a well regimented battalion, with staff running round left, right and centre.

We were greeted promptly and informed who our server would be for the afternoon. Our chap seemed a little nervous, and in the opening day excitement forgot to tell us about the craft beers on offer. My disappointed husband was served a pint of coke in a Tatton Brewery glass... evidence of treasure lurking behind the bar! This was soon rectified...
Beef and Pudding, Manchester
We were starved, but also fully aware that there was a dessert platter lurking at the end of this menu. No, I wasn't forced into having it by any means, but hell - dessert platter. It's my idea of heaven. In hindsight, starters were probably a tad foolish...

Cracked black pepper potato skins - raw heirloom tomato, basil & red onion ’stew’: Imagine Southern fried chicken... now apply that principle to potato skins. Yes my friend. Yes. Delicious. I was utterly devastated that I had to stop at four for fear of not being able to manage the rest of my meal, but alas, our server wrapped them up for me to take home. Raiding the fridge at 8pm that night - smug.
Beef and Pudding, Manchester - Potato Skins
Nearly a pig's ear - Andy Holt’s black pudding, pig cheek, lentil & Tatton ale gravy, curry spices: Subtly spiced with excellent texture, this was warming and meaty. Happy husband.
Beef and Pudding, Manchester - Nearly a Pig's Ear
The pudding - Beef & Barbon Fell venison suet pudding, horseradish paste, stockpot gravy, mash, black peas: The signature dish. Packed with hearty chunks of meat and oozing with gravy. Strangely, the star of the show for me was that rich yet oddly light suet pastry.
Beef and Pudding, Manchester - The Pudding
Cottage pie - prime British beef, simmered in gravy, seasonal vegetables, mash potato, buttered black peas: As a wee one, my dad called me 'Cottage Pie Burns'. No, he wasn't crackers and Burns is my maiden name. I loved the stuff. I couldn't get enough of it apparently! The inner yearning forced me to opt for it. Hotter than the surface of the sun but utterly delectable! I wasn't thrilled with the black peas, but they weren't a deal breaker.
Beef and Pudding, Manchester - Cottage Pie
The Pudding Plank - Sticky Toffee, Chocolate Tart, Cheese Glazed Eccles Cake, Bakewell Pie, Banoffee Cheesecake, Custard, Whipped Cream, Chocolate Sauce: The mother of all dessert platters. My favourite had to be the Bakewell pie, closely followed by the sticky toffee pudding.
Beef and Pudding, Manchester - Dessert Platter
Beef and Pudding, Manchester - Hot ChocolateThe latest addition to the New Moon family appears to have hit the nail on the head. Manchester has an explosive dining scene at the moment; more bloggers than you can shake a fork at, somewhere new opening every week, a real hunger (sorry) to fill any culinary gaps in the market... a decent gastropub is just so obvious, yet has been strangely absent from the city's dining scene.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of pubs doing decent food, but nothing to rival the likes of those you see in the Ribble Valley. Whilst the country cottage dwellings and rolling moor-sides have their appeal, I don't feel it's essential for the overall experience to work. Here sits a modern gastropub, sans thatched roof, serving up hearty British meals in the middle of the city. Tweed has been replaced with tan leather and fireplaces by bare bulbs hung by rope, yet the punters are pouring in, and Beef and Pudding is the new diners' darling. Plus they serve their hot chocolate in mini tankards... the crazy mothers.

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