The Albert Square Chop House (or 'Al's Chop House' as I now refer to it*) is the latest and swankiest addition to the Victorian Chop House brand that also includes Sam’s and Tom’s.
(*As we arrived Paul Simon’s ‘You can call me Al’ was playing, which seemed fitting. Annoyingly, the soundtrack also featured The Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan and Fleetwood Mac – right up my wife’s street.)
Housed in Manchester’s former Memorial Hall, the impressive historical building predates both the nearby Town Hall and Albert Square itself.
The chophouse team have carried out an impressive renovation sympathetically fusing elements of the buildings history with contemporary features. A real mix of Victorian, industrial and modern that is very… well, Manchester!
The Steak Tartare made from Mill Close Farm fillet steak with hay ash and smoked egg yolk served with toasted bloomer was Bob on - a decent potion and seasoned well with capers and alike.
My Potted Mackerel with both potted and smoked Loch Fyne mackerel with pickled cucumber and wholemeal toast was also very nicely done – lovely simple presentation and well balanced flavours (nice pokey pickle).
One schoolboy error came in the form of ordering the ‘16oz, 28-day aged “Rib” of Beef Chop’ and receiving the ‘8oz, 28-day aged “Rib Eye” Steak’ – maybe I mumble or perhaps the waiter just listens out for key words. At least the steak that arrived was cooked to my wife’s liking and good quality.
With regards to the sides, the Savoy cabbage with bacon went down a treat but the Chop House chips were ridiculously over seasoned.
My Homity Pie made Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire cheese, potato and caramelised onion was a little wet inside for my liking and could’ve done with a little more seasoning (perhaps they had used all the salt up on the chips?)
For dessert, my Warm Treacle Tart was very tasty with crisp, crumbly pastry. I didn’t like the camomile, lemon and vanilla cream which had an unusual consistency.
A meal of mixed successes with some schoolboy errors - one of which was an inordinately long wait for food considering that the place was only a quarter full. That said, we were sat in a booth and quite enjoyed relaxing and reading the paper and there was still a good hubbub and buzz – we’d definitely return.