Wednesday 21 November 2012

The Restaurant Bar & Grill, Manchester

Recently I was invited, in conjunction with Manchester Confidential, to go and sample the delights on offer at The Restaurant Bar & Grill, on John Dalton Street in the city centre. Despite having walked past the building on countless occasions (my hairdressers is just a few doors down) and, despite working about five minutes away, I'd never even considered visiting for a meal. Maybe it was because of the unassuming entrance? Or maybe it was because I thought it was a bit old fashioned? Who knows. Whatever the reason was, consider me proven utterly wrong and actually rather sad that I've been missing out for so long!

We chose to dine on the alfresco Terrace, with its glorious heaters* and the promise of blankets if we got a bit chilly. We ordered a bottle of Moko Black Sauvignon Blanc to begin (I always like to begin, and end, with wine, where possible. And drink it in the middle too) and some delightful little bread rolls with a glorious dipping oil arrived. That stuff was amazing. I kind of wish I'd kept it so I could have dipped ALL my food into it. Not the dessert. Obviously. Anyway, it was lovely. Coriander (which I normally despise), chilli, finely chopped onions and just delicious.

Before I go on, I must comment on the size of the menus. They are HUGE. And clad in leather. The small handed amongst us (me) did struggle slightly with them but, then again, the two sips of wine had gone straight to my head by this point. In my defence, it was 1pm and I was suffering from an extremely debilitating cold. Honest.

The Soldier opted for the Thai spiced fish cakes to start, while I went for the chilli squid. I can never not order squid when it's on the menu. These were a lovely start to the meal. The coconut and lime leaf dipping sauce that came with the fish cakes was addictive and I think The Soldier was more than a little miffed when I tipped half of it onto my plate. Then again, when he starts writing a blog that gets us invited to meals out, then he can complain. Anyway, both dishes were perfectly seasoned and tasted incredibly fresh. Just lovely.

We ummed and ahhed for ages over what main courses to order. I basically wanted to try one of everything (greedy) but eventually we both plumped for the 8oz fillet steak, with Colston Bassett stilton butter and peppercorn sauce. Oh, and sides of onion rings and some seasonal greens in shallot butter. Again, greedy. The in-house butcher at RBG ages all the steaks on offer for a minimum of 28 days (some are aged for 35 days) and I can honestly say that it was the best steak I've EVER had. It had a glorious crust that gave way to a meltingly-soft perfectly cooked medium rare interior. Seriously good steak. The chips were chunky, served in a silver cup on the side, and they too were fabulous. The onion rings were out of this world and The Soldier declared that no other onion rings should be allowed to bear the name, paling in comparison as they do. The sauce and the butter? Amazing. Please excuse me while I drool over the following pictures...

By this stage we were groaningly full but, in the name of reviewing, we bravely soldiered on and the dessert trolley approached. Yes, dessert trolley. Does life get any better than having a selection of delicious cakes wheeled right up to you? No, no it does not.

The Soldier opted for the chocolate mousse cake with griottine cherries and I went for the fig and almond tart. Both came served with homemade Malteser ice cream and both were pretty darn wonderful. My tart was rich and sticky and wholly satisfying. The portion of chocolate mousse cake was so huge that I was forced to share it. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

We ended the meal with a couple of cocktails from RBG's extensive menu. I went for the Bramble and The Soldier went for a Mai Tai. Both were strong (particularly for early afternoon) and very well made. Highly recommended.

The Terrace itself is such a lovely setting for a meal. Comfortable seats, large tables, a canopy that stops the Manchester weather from chilling you to the bone and just very very well done. All the staff that looked after us were perfectly charming and we left very full, but very happy. Huge thanks to RBG for having us and we'll definitely be back.

*A note on the heaters: they are red. Very red. In turn, they turned all the photographs very red. So whilst my very clever boyfriend did what he could with them on Photoshop, they are not perfect.

Disclosure: The Soldier and I were guests of RBG