Saturday 25 January 2014

The Marriott Victoria & Albert Hotel, Manchester

I'm a bad blogger. A very bad blogger. I was invited down to the Marriott V&A back in December to try out their new menu and I'm only just now getting around to actually writing about it. Full disclosure: my friend B is the Food & Beverage Manager at the V&A. However, she knows I'm brutally honest and wouldn't just write a good review for the sake of it. That's not how I roll, baby.

The Marriott is on the banks of the River Irwell and, with the restaurant looking out over the river, there are some lovely views to be had. We settled ourselves into a nice booth by the window and set about choosing enough food to feed approximately four people. I'd tried the duck before and A had eaten the braised shin of beef last time we'd been. Both were great and it was tempting to re-order them this time. However, we remained strong and, in the name of research, went for the lamb rump (with pea puree and a delicious baton of crispy lamb breast) and the ribeye steak, with sides of peas, leeks and smoked bacon, smoked cheddar mash and some fries.

A bowl of marinated olives and a couple of preprandial gin and tonics were gratefully received and disappeared far too quickly for my liking. Gin tends to do that when I'm around. Starters were the crispy squid with wasabi mayonnaise for me and the ham hock fritters with picalilli for A. Both were fantastic; piping hot and just what the doctor ordered on a cold December evening.

Being gluttonous pigs, as is our wont, we went for the full three courses and ordered a white chocolate and amaretti cheesecake and a hot chocolate fondant, with almond brittle and vanilla ice cream. The cheesecake was a rich and glorious beast and I have to confess that I didn't quite manage to finish it. Something that I have bitterly regretted ever since. A fared much better than I and took down the chocolate fondant like an absolute champion, in all it's gooey, chocolatey glory. Excellent desserts. And I'm not even really a dessert person.

There were a couple of small niggles (gin and tonic served with lemon is a crime against gin and my lamb was slightly overdone) but overall it was a lovely meal and we left (very) full and contented. A special mention must go to the smoked cheddar mash, which I daydream about longingly on a regular basis. So good.

The V&A offer two courses for £15 or three courses for £20, with some supplements payable for the more expensive main courses. At those prices, I think it really is worth a visit. We enjoyed our meal so much that we're hoping to head back within the next couple of weeks to try the newly relaunched afternoon tea, as reviewed by the lovely Rachel of DollyBakes here.

I'm allowed to have the Gentleman's afternoon tea, right? Pies > cakes, always and forever.