Sunday, 7 August 2011

A Culinary Trip To Manchester

The diet had a sabbatical while we went on a trip up to Manchester. The friends that were meeting are big fans of champagne and fine dining. So I knew it was going to be an impossible task to eat Dukan friendly - I supposed I could have but how often do you get a chance to go to famous restaurants, drink endless champagne and enjoy amazing Northern food. So the man had one rule for me – have fun and enjoy lets worry about the diet on Monday. I eagerly agreed.

We were spending two nights at ABode Manchester and lucky enough to be going to Michael Caines Restaurant for lunch. After setting of at about 9am we arrived in Manchester just in time for a glass of champagne before going in for lunch. The restaurant is downstairs in the basement and you can easily forger that it is actually the day and not an evening meal. There was a special lunch menu available but nothing on it seemed to take anyone’s fancy – Sweetcorn Soup or Poached Salmon just seemed to be something I could pick up from Waitrose or M&S instead. The Al La Carte menu had far more appetizing options.

I had the Almond crusted veal sweetbreads poached quail's eggs, gribiche sauce and a green bean salad as a starter £15.50. Basically the veal sweetbreads are like a high quality chicken nuggets and I could not taste any difference from a quails egg to a normal poached egg, that may just be that I have not been refined enough to appreciate the difference. The bean salad was lovely. I am still not sure what exactly a gribiche is nor could I tell you what it tasted like.

For main I enjoyed the slow poached cod scallops, leek fondue, baby leeks, wild mushrooms and chive butter sauce £21.50 – I love leeks sauces and I do like fish - So this I would say was enjoyable. We finished off lunch by sharing a few cheese platters and the wine was flowing over lunch. Lots of bottles of a nice New Zealand white. As I didn’t do the ordering I am not sure what the wine was called but it was lovely.

It was a long leisurely lunch that was fun as we were catching up with friends we really like. The food was nice – but for £100 each I am not sure if the value for money was worth it and I dont think I would rush back - it was good, it was nice, it wasnt memorable. I love catching up with friends and I love food and a good bottle of wine – would we have had any less fun at a more reasonably priced restaurant, probably not. Should we have ordered from the special lunch menu of 3 cources for £18.95 – probably deffinately ! The men went off to the Football and the ladies spent the rest of the evening drinking Champagne. No dinner was had by anybody.

I would recommend staying at the Abode, it is a lovely hotel and the service is excellent – the rooms are large and the beds are comfortable. The rooms are quiet and no traffic noise could be heard. The included breakfast was lovingly prepared with an beautiful spread of continental bakeries (that I did not try) the coffee served piping hot, cold orange juice. I ordered the Eggs Benedict which was really tasty, The ham was what made it, the hollandaise sauce was not as strong as I do prefer, but the muffins were soft and not over cooked and the eggs were perfect. The man had salmon and scrambled eggs – but after having that for lunch for the past two weeks I simply could not stomach the thought of it.

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