Monthly Archives: November 2012

Restaurant Review: Restaurant Bar and Grill

Kind enough to invite us along to check out this restaurant just off Albert Square/Deansgate, we were more than happy to sample the goods at, one of the city’s most talked about restaurants (on the Twittersphere), Restaurant Bar and Grill.

It was a bustling Saturday night and the place was packed to the rafters, and it’s seriously big, so I was thinking that I would allow for a bit of a wait for food/drinks etc. I usually give the staff the benefit of the doubt when it comes to an insanely busy service, to a certain extent obviously, but there was no need.

We were greeted promptly at the door and offered a drink at the bar even though we turned up right on time and our table was ready, which we gladly accepted. Some places give you the feeling that they would rather get you in and out as quick as possible but not here. The front of house said he would come and get us in 10-15 minutes and take us to our table. Again, I anticipated being forgot about but, bang on the dot he came over and asked us if we were ready to eat and showed us upstairs to our lovely table by the window looking over John Dalton Street.

The atmosphere downstairs in the bar was, to be honest, not really my sort of scene but it was enjoyable. Loud dance-type music and folks in very fancy outfits made this place feel like a real treat and I was glad I dressed up for it but it’s not the kind of place I’d want to spend every Saturday night.

That aside, the menu is lovely, the kind of stuff you’d expect from a grill menu; fish and meat from the grill as well as salads, pastas and risottos. They also have 35-day dry aged steaks some of which are served on the bone for maximum flavour impact.

I opted for the lobster but sadly they had just sold out so I went for the rack of lamb with chilli, yoghurt and garlic from the tandoor clay oven and my partner had one of those lovely dry-aged steaks which came recommended by our waitress. For starters we had Iberico ham with tomatoes and sourdough and grilled asparagus with hollandaise and a poached egg.

The starters were lovely and actually could have been wonderful together – the lovely saltiness of the ham and the creamy richness of the egg and hollandaise were all delicious separately and together. The sourdough was lightly toasted and the asparagus was still crunchy and seared perfectly.

Poached egg and Hollandaise with asparagus

As we waited for our main course we enjoyed an Argentinean Malbec Don Nicanor 2010 which was recommended by the waitress again and was gorgeously smooth and rich in flavour – a perfect accompaniment to my spiced lamb and his steak with pepper sauce.

The lamb was absolutely delicious, served with rice, a coleslaw-style salad and a sauce, oh my god, the sauce, of lime leaves and coconut, was seriously to die for. I had forgotten all about my lobster. The lamb itself was slightly charred on the outside but on the inside it was lovely and pink. I couldn’t finish it all, we did get a side salad too but in this place the portions are big! Sometimes with places we skip the starters only to find that the main portions are tiny but not here, you get enough bang for your buck and we were delighted with that.

Rubbed rack of lamb with rice, salad and a coconut and lime sauce

My partner’s steak and chips was very nice, maybe not as nice as I’d expected given how much it was talked up beforehand but very nice indeed. The pepper sauce was rich and robust and the chips it came with were chunky and fluffy inside – although being a bloke, he probably would have preferred a bit more chips!

Steak, chips and pepper sauce

At this point, I must say, the staff were attentive but not overly so, they made sure you were happy but didn’t pester you as is sometimes the case when waiting staff mean well. Even when somebody other than our direct waitress brought us over our food they knew exactly who was having what; always the sign of a classy, and well organised, joint.

On to the desserts, well, I had crème brulee, which is my go-to dessert really, I should branch out more often but I just cannot bring myself to do so! My partner went for an apple tart tatin, another good judging cornerstone of a good restaurant. As the tart tatins are cooked to order we were advised that there would be a 20-minute wait, which was fine by us.

I find that sometimes restaurants bring desserts out too quickly so we were chuffed about the wait. During which, we were recommended a dessert wine which, as was assured would work perfectly well with my crème brulee and didn’t it just. It complemented what I can only described as the biggest crème brulee ever, to my delight!

The tart tatin was perfectly cooked and I even checked the underside to make sure the pastry was cooked, I’ve seen them do that on Masterchef, and it was perfect. The apples were soft and sweet but still had a slight bite to them and the whole thing was caramelised and came with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Tart Tatin and a massive Creme Brulee

We followed this with coffees and were offered out onto the fabulous new terrace. It was quite busy, since it was Saturday, so we declined a drink out there but it did look lovely and it was well heated.

The only gripe I have about the place is that it is huge, however that didn’t slow the service down, but there are only two ladies toilet cubicles in the upstairs dining area which meant that I was in for, at least, a 5-10 minute wait for the toilet each time which was slightly annoying.

Overall, I would definitely go back to RBG although it would be for a special occasion or if I had visitors staying who I wanted to impress. Top marks to the staff who gave great recommendations and make us feel very welcome throughout.

Food – 8/10

Service – 10/10

Atmosphere – 7/10

Value for Money – 7/10

We were complemented our meal by the restaurant on behalf of Manchester Confidential but I am under no obligation to say anything nice about the restaurant.

Restaurant Bar and Grill
14 John Dalton Street,
Manchester,
M2 6JR
T: 0161 839 1999

 

A Christmas Miracle hits the Northern Quarter

Winter is coming and what better way than to shake off those seasonal blues by eating and drinking yourself to your ‘happy place’ in a winter wonderland where it’s always Christmas? I fear that this may become an addiction.

Traditional Christmas fair…?

Welcome to Miracle, the Northern Quarter’s seasonal celebration spot with Christmas-themed drinks and traditional Christmas food with an Almost Famous twist. Turkey slathered in butter slammed on a roll and topped with delights! You want it don’t you?

Yes, Miracle is the home of the Miracle burger! Now this is a proper turkey burger, not like those rancid ones you remember from school dinners, oh no, proper shredded turkey, sausage stuffing, potatoes AND brussel sprouts. As well as some extra pigs in blankets for garnish (that’s my kind of garnish!). It’s also worth mentioning that Miracle has really produced a miracle by making brussel sprouts taste really, very good!

Chris Bull, a man who knows his burgers, fries and general junk food, usually flat-out refuses to eat turkey yet, he scoffed away a Miracle burger with pleasure. A true compliment to the chefs!

Along with the mouth-watering burgers we tried the beef in beer, which has as much booze in as the cocktails, and the gobble gobble gravy fries which are topped with shredded buttered turkey, cranberry sauce and gravy! Christmas really has come early this year.

Gobble Gobble Gravy Fries, Beef in Beer and the Miracle turkey sandwich

Lead in through the back of Socio Rehab and up the stairs (my female sense of direction was scrambled by then) we emerged into a wintery wonderland of cocktails and debauchery, as well as fantastical decorations to get you into the festive spirit, including this one by Kat Crass Stitch!

So, I can’t even believe it’s taken me six paragraphs to get on to the drinks… The fantastic Mr Tom Higham was on hand to provide the cocktails, plenty of festive cheer as well as general insults and creative cursing (thanks, Tom!).

But seriously, the cocktails are inspired! I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, especially when it comes to drinks, but these were divine. The Apres Ski works as a delicious post-burger palate cleanser and was accurately described as ‘a melted mint Vienetta in a glass’ by one Sarah Nosh. Yummy!

The Candy Cane Collins, which will probably become my ‘usual’, is a delightfully punchy vanilla vodka cocktail topped up with CREAM SODA! A very welcome blast from the past, seriously, why don’t I drink Cream Soda all the time? I’m questioning my decisions in life as I type.

Candy Cane Collins and Apres Ski

Tom has put so much effort into this cocktail menu and he loves it so dearly that he even differentiates the candy canes for different drinks; a seasoned pro.

As well as cocktails there is the traditional mulled wine, spiced cider and boozy hot chocolate to warm the cockles of an evening as well as some bottled beers, wines and spirits.

Miracle also has more sweet treats in the form of desserts! The ‘Sweet Things’ come as a skewer of delicious pastry/doughy/brownie-type delicacies with like a custard and nutmeg dip. So delicious I completely forgot to take a picture. What was I saying earlier about not having a sweet tooth? I think Miracle has changed me!

Now, if you like the finer things in life then the Xmas in New York is for you; a cocktail made with Woodford Reserve Bourbon topped up with Brooklyn Chocolate Stout and finished with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream. It was as hedonistic and rich as it sounds and, granted I couldn’t drink too many, it truly hits the spot. In fact, it hits about 25 million different spots, it’s so damn good!

A Very Berry (with gin) Christmas and Xmas in New York

Miracle is launching to the masses this Thursday (22nd) at 6pm. The first 50 folk to show up will be treated to free food and the first 100 will each receive a free drink! So, don your Christmas jumper and lift those Christmas spirits into delicious, drunken oblivion…

(We all need more of Kat’s Christmas crafts in our lives, I’m sure you’ll all agree. So fuck your family off this Christmas by taking them some of her lovely work: http://folksy.com/shops/CrassStitchCrafts.)