Wednesday 23 January 2013

Livebait, Manchester

Last Thursday Beth and I ventured out into the snowy night to sample the delights at Livebait. A long time fixture on the Manchester dining scene, Livebait has been on my "to eat" list for ages. I wasn't disappointed. The staff who greeted us were warm and welcoming and the service throughout the meal was absolutely impeccable.

Whilst perusing the menus, we ordered some olives and some bread and dukkah (no, I'd never heard of it either) to nibble on. The dukkah was an absolute revelation and every time I've eaten bread since I've been devastated not to have a delicious little pot of spices to dip it into. The olives were also AMAZING. I am a huge olive fan but these were some of the best I've ever had.

I couldn't resist ordering the whitebait for my starter. It reminds me of childhood holidays to Cornwall and Devon and, conversely, of eating in the pub at the end of my road in Cheshire as a little girl. These were great. Crispy, well seasoned little morsels of fishy joy. They didn't really need the accompanying aioli but I obviously ate it anyway. Turns out I'm a big fan of aioli too. B ordered the squid, which was served with a fiery ginger and chilli dipping sauce. Delicious.

Next up was the main event: lobster. Anything that requires four implements in order to eat it is absolutely fine by me. We ordered one grilled Nova Scotia lobster and one lobster thermidor to share between us. Both were served with a fresh little salad and some fantastic chips. Having never been lucky enough to have a whole lobster before I have little frame of reference BUT this was superb. Both the lobsters were pefectly cooked and very well seasoned. The thermidor just edged it for me. Cheese. Butter. Yes.

Poor fella. Not a very dignified end at my clumsy hands.

You may be wondering how on earth we managed to eat all of the above and still have room for two huge (technically meant to be shared) desserts. Well, my friends, we like food. A lot. I in particular do not know my limits and will eat so quickly in order to finish a fantastic meal that I will be rendered immobile when the food actually hits my stomach some 20 minutes later. Fun times. Greedy times.

The trio of desserts was fabulous. Lemon posset with raspberries, vanilla cheesecake with honeycomb and caramel and a tiny little apple crumble with custard. Just gorgeous. I only had a taste of the cheesecake but can confirm it is well worth a visit to Livebait just for that. The cheeses were also great, with the smoked cheddar and candied almonds being a particular highlight.

I can't comment on the wine (23 days dry, AHEM) but B certainly seemed to enjoy the glasses she had. I drank a litre of sparkling water instead. Rock 'n' roll, baby.

We had a wonderful time at Livebait and really couldn't fault it. It's a lovely space and, when we went, it was far too quiet. It deserves to be busier, even on a snowy, cold January night. They're even doing a 50% off food offer until 7th February so I urge you to go and gorge yourself on deliciousness.

Disclosure: Beth and I were guests of RBG, as organised by Manchester Confidential