[Salford] River Restaurant

When the Lowry Hotel opened in 2001, on the Salford bank of the Irwell, the River Restaurant was yet another place hailed by some as being the “the place” that would bring a Michelin star to the area. We went a couple of times and thought “only in your dreams, mate” – and never went back. And coming back for Sunday lunch was actually a second choice. Last Christmas, a relative bought us a voucher for an “experience”. It was originally a star-gazing event, but we could never find an available date that suited, so we swapped it to lunch here.

The hotel has recently had a major refurbishment and the restaurant is now an open, pleasant space. More modern restaurant than obvious hotel dining room – comfy seating, lots of space between tables. We had a table overlooking the river, which was nice – as was listening to the guitar player in the adjacent bar. It’s all been well thought out and executed. The lunch menu is short and we both went with the same choices.

Small fillets of mackerel had been lightly cooked (sous vide ?) and came with dabs of carrot puree, cubes of cucumber and a thinnish peanut sauce which worked better than might have been expected.

Roast sirloin was cooked perfectly as requested (one medium, one medium rare). And there’s classic accompaniments – roast spuds, roast carrot and baby parsnip, red cabbage, cauliflower cheese, Yorkshire pudding, gravy. And they brought horseradish sauce without us having to ask for it. All very nice.

We were offered the dessert menu but settled on coffee, which was excellent.

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

― Jonathan Gold