Tag Archives: deansgate

Review: 3 Twenty One Manchester

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Last week we were invited to try out Manchester’s latest smokehouse and grill offering, 3 Twenty One. Actually, we were originally invited on the previous Saturday night but couldn’t make it so had to wait an extra five days of seeing juicy steaks and crisp chips on Twitter before eventually getting in on the act.

Anyway, we got there on a rainy Thursday evening and the place wasn’t too busy but it did show the diversity of the venue as whilst couples were enjoying the dining experience a group of ladies were having cocktails made for them at the bar before ordering up a round of burgers. Nice.

We were greeted warmly and promptly by the staff who were fantastic and looked after us all evening – as well as the chefs who are keen to come out from behind their pass and interact with the customers. Some might find this a little odd but it all felt really relaxed and I enjoyed it.

To start with I ordered the prawns and Chris had the Manchester Egg which has been a popular choice and my god I can see why. My prawns with smoked garlic butter were delicious but after I tasted the perfectly runny egg boiled coated in black pudding I was gutted I hadn’t gone for that option! And don’t even get my started on the candied maple bacon – simply delicious; a sweet and salty slice of heaven!

Prawns and a Manchester Egg

Prawns and a Manchester Egg

On to the hard stuff and I opted for the Sirloin Steak with chimichurri sauce, I’ve never had chimichurri sauce with steak before and it was lovely, not too rich like sometimes blue cheese or peppercorn sauce can be but light and zingy with my perfectly cooked steak.

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Chris went for the lamb with garlic butter, he didn’t get asked how he wanted his lamb cooked but I did overhear the chef say “if they don’t state otherwise it gets cooked pink”, which suited us just fine and he wolfed it down, making the bold statement that it was possibly the best lamb he’s ever had. High praise indeed.

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Lamb Chop

One positive thing about the five day Twitter-stalking wait was that we got a steer on what was good, well, the feedback was that pretty much everything was good but we had to narrow down some of the more popular choices, one of which was the onion rings. Similarly with the chips, they were crispy, crunchy, tasty, seasoned perfectly and dusted with smoked paprika. There was salt and pepper on the table but I didn’t touch it.

We were drinking the house wine and the Spanish house red is very drinkable and went really well with the meat and the house white was fresh and light on the palate to begin with. I think the house wines are a good measure of standards and these were pleasant and complimented the big juicy meat on offer really well.

In the interest of balance we managed to put away dessert too, come on, I had to bring you a full report. I had the Oreo Mud Pie with white chocolate ice cream and Chris the apple pie with vanilla sauce. The mud pie was obviously massively rich, indulgent and borderline sickening but I wolfed the lot and bloody well enjoyed it too! Not much of an ice-cream person myself but the white chocolate Cheshire farm ice-cream was seriously to die for and had lovely little morsels of white chocolate through it.

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Oreo Mud Pie with White Choc Ice Cream and Apple Pie with Vanilla Sauce

On the other hand, the apple pie didn’t do it for Chris, he complained that there was too much cinnamon (not possible, I said) and that the pastry was slightly undercooked (I thought it was ok), and it was cold but, he didn’t mind that. My main issue with this dessert is that it had raisins/sultanas in, which is fine, but it didn’t state this on the menu. Now, for someone like me, who HATES dried fruit, this is a sin and I would be disappointed if I’d ordered it.

The service was great all evening and the staff were lovely, attentive and knowledgeable about most of the dishes (I think I threw the front of house though when I asked her exactly what was in the chimichurri sauce!) but the chef was on hand to recall every single ingredient. Being above the Deansgate Pub it’s not the easiest to spot, I’m thinking in terms of visitors coming out of the Hilton and looking for someplace to eat, so word needs to spread. I’ll certainly be heading back soon to try out some more of the menu and I suggest you do too.

http://www.3twentyone.co.uk/

3twentyone, 321 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 4LQ Phone: 0161 839 5215

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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