Sunday 27 October 2013

Earle by Simon Rimmer – Hale, Manchester

Despite enjoying previous visits (see here), it’s been a couple of years since I have eaten at Simon Rimmer’s EARLE in Hale - I am pleased to report that since my last meal there, the food has really come on and stepped up a notch.

Helming the kitchen, young head chef Eddie Saunders (an alumni of Northcote Manor) is producing gutsy, uncomplicated food with flavour and produce at the fore.

What I ate:

Ham hock pressing, piccalilli vegetables, crispy quails egg and bread crisp – despite looking the part and ‘working on paper’ this dish did not come together for me. I felt there was far too much harsh mustard mayo; even trying to eat around it, did not do the trick – I’m pleased to say, this was the only disappointment of the day.  

Scorched mackerel fillet marinated in mustard yoghurt, horseradish potato salad – a beautiful looking plate of food with wonderful vibrant colours; I enjoyed the seared mustard yogurt but, nit picking as it may be, I felt the horseradish in the potato salad could have been more prominent.

Slow braised BBQ short rib of beef, Simon’s Boston beans with pancetta and coleslaw – although at first this dish seemed a little out of place on the menu, its bold flavours and sticky sweet goodness more than justified its inclusion. I found a Simon Rimmer recipe for Boston beans online (see here); I’ve not tried it out at home yet but I reckon they will go down a treat at this year’s bonfire night.

Sticky toffee pudding, toffee sauce & mascarpone cream – a classic dessert, done well.

Disclaimer: the good people at Earle were kind enough to sponsor me in my recent weight loss; as such, they knew I was coming (to collect they sponsorship) and kindly provided two complimentary courses.

Halibut with oriental spices – a lovely piece of fish with well balanced spices and use of sesame oil; I particularly enjoyed the crunch of the vegetables.  

Pork fillet with oyster mushrooms & (a delightful) toffee apple – a delicious heartily flavoured autumnal dish, without being too heavy. The toffee apple added just the right amount of sweetness. With the pork cooked beautifully, retaining a little pinkness with flavoursome caramelisation on the outside, this was the “dish of the day” for me.

Verdict (Would I return?): It was over two years since I last returned; based on the quality of the food I ate this time, I’m certain it will not take so long for me to revisit this time. In my opinion, for the first time, EARLE is now a local restaurant truly befitting and worthy of Simon’s high profile, as opposed to one simply relying on it. 

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