Monday 8 July 2013

Damson Media City, Salford

Damson Media City, Salford
Damson Media City is another restaurant which has been on my 'to do' list for some time. Last weekend, we were catching up with my husband's family, who were looking for a relaxed but special dining experience. Damson seemed the obvious choice. Media City is a bit out of the way, but since they developed their Spinningfields style screen and seating area, it's become much more than the BBC and a few outlets.
Damson Media City, Salford
We arrived in the glorious sunshine, whilst the Wimbledon ladies' final was just finishing. We were offered drinks on the balcony, which overlooks the pop up tennis courts and the big screen. We made our order whilst we were still outside, but were soon welcomed in to warm bread and a delicious goat's cheese amuse bouche.
Damson Media City, Salford
Damson Media City, Salford - Amuse Bouche
Veloute of English asparagus and spinach, slow cooked egg and lemon sabayon: My husband is a big fan of British asparagus, and tends to order it if he sees it on the menu. The season's short so it's worth catching it while you can! He loved this dish.
Damson Media City, Salford - Veloute
Grilled scallops, slow cooked middle white pork belly, Bury black pudding croquette, spiced apple puree and golden raisins: A substantial starter with lots of flavour. Highlights included the crackled pork and the slight crisp on the top of the scallops.
Damson Media City, Salford - Scallops
Quail - roasted breast, club sandwich and fried quail egg, celeriac remoulade and truffle dressing: This was the dish I picked. The flavour combinations in this were absolutely outstanding. I could have eaten a big plateful! Crispy quail with crunchy celeriac and a runny quails egg. I'd go back again just to have this.
Damson Media City, Salford - Quail
Salad of Mr Ashcroft’s mixed beetroots with goats cheese mousse, pickled Thai shallots, candied
walnuts, pickled apples & pain d’epice crumb: I'm not a fan of beetroot myself, as I can't help but feel it tastes like soil. However, this was a very pretty dish and was heartily enjoyed by the recipient!
Damson Media City, Salford - Beetroot
28 day aged fillet steak with dauphinoise potato, roasted onion puree, Portobello mushrooms, spinach and onion rings: a 'posh' version of an absolute classic. It may have been hot outside, but I'm a sucker for dauphinoise - and this one was a belter. When speared with a fork it actually oozed cream. The steak was pretty good too; charred on the outside and rare on the inside with a rich flavour.
Damson Media City, Salford - Fillet Steak
Damson Media City, Salford - Fillet Steak
Slow braised Cheshire beef in red wine, creamed potato, seasonal cabbage, smoked bacon, glazed button mushrooms and onions: A rich dish with intense flavours; the meat fell apart when touched with a fork. Not massively summery, but who cares when it tastes so good?
Damson Media City, Salford - Beef
Slow cooked belly of middle white pork, Bury black pudding and Lancashire cheese hash brown,
honey pickled white cabbage, spiced apple puree and golden raisins: A big boy's version of the scallop starter, this was a much larger piece of pork and came with a wonderful black pudding and cheese hash brown. Clever.
Damson Media City, Salford - Pork Belly
Grilled loin of cod with salt & pepper squid, Asian greens, shitake mushrooms, mussel, lemon grass and coriander broth: I'm not a huge fan of fish, but when this was set down we all did a bit of an 'oooh...' It smelled fantastic and was still bubbling slightly.
Damson Media City, Salford - Cod
The sides which accompanied the meal were equally as good as our mains. The chips were massive! Even four of us didn't manage to polish these off. The mash was smooth and buttery, and probably had enough calories to cause heart failure if eaten more than twice a year. The best sort.
Damson Media City, Salford - Sides
Now then. Before we went to Damson, Manchester Confidential's Gordo and his daughter Georgina had recommended we try the cheese board. We always have good intentions of doing this, only to wimp out when it comes to the crunch. I was determined that we would sample these cheeses, regardless of the cost to our health and sanity.

My husband took one for the team. He picked seven cheeses ranging from a fairly mild hard cheddar to an oozing soft cheese which looked like it was trying to escape the plate - the type that makes your jaw sting. A brilliant, and very generous selection indeed.

We have a love affair with the cheese trolley. Our first real cheese experience was getting a whiff of the  one at L'Enclume about five years ago. Wow wee. That thing was alive! On our return visit we sampled some of the best cheeses I have ever tasted. Likewise, subsequent trips to Martin Wishart and Marcus Wareing have also yielded some fantastic fromages. However, nine times out of ten we chicken out in favour of saving our bellies from certain bulging and our feet from the inability to walk to a cab. Must try harder.
Damson Media City, Salford - Cheese
Catalan tart, cinnamon doughnuts, orange and vanilla sauce: Always drawn in by the word 'cinnamon', this was an obvious choice. Beautiful texture in the tart, with the most exciting little cinnamon doughnuts. I could eat these like popcorn.
Damson Media City, Salford - Catalan Tart
Virgin rum baba, mango carpaccio, blackcurrant and green peppercorn jelly, passion fruit sorbet
and candied coconut: Would it have been bad form to steal this from a fellow diner's plate? It was gone before I had solved this particular moral dilemma. This has the optional extra of an additional shot of rum, which on this occasion was agreed to with gusto. Consensus was that this is a fabulous dessert.
Damson Media City, Salford - Rum Baba
Welcoming staff, plush surroundings and an excellent standard of cooking to boot. I heard good things about Damson; they weren't wrong.

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