[Manchester, city centre] Northern Quarter Restaurant

If a visitor to the city centre asked me where they should eat and be certain of having a nice time, then I’d be suggesting the Northern Quarter Restaurant. In fact, I have been asked that question more than once and have given that answer. No, it’s not high end dining. Nor is it one of the excellent ethnic restaurants in the centre. But it is a place where you’ll have good food, attentive service and, even, quite funky background music (not played overly loud so conversation remains enjoyable, rather than a challenge)

There was a cheese and wild garlic soufflé to start. They use Shorrocks Bomb – a Lancashire cheese that really packs a punch. It’s a cheese that always features in our house on Christmas Day. And this was a really good use of it. For the other starter, braised lamb’s tongue, served cold, was the centrepiece of a salad, along with green beans and lambs lettuce. Alongside, warm sweetbreads were as light as anything and, bringing everything together, a really poky salsa verde, incorporating mint which worked so well with the lamb.

For mains, there was perfectly cooked chicken breast, moist and flavoursome. Packing another punch were chicken livers, just cooked through. There’s spring onion hash browns and a truffle foam. It needed some veg, so a side of cauliflower cheese was ordered. Across the table, there’s fillet of cod, unfortunately with flabby skin. It’s topped with sweet brown shrimps and accompanied with shreds of hispi cabbage and carrots. Both of these dishes work but both were underseasoned.

We were too full for dessert but coffee was excellent.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold