Sunday, 12 January 2014

"The Lost Posts of 2013"

January 2014 is well underway and I still have a huge backlog of meals that I didn’t get around to writing about last year. So, for those that are interested, and to appease my bloggers conscience (as if we have them) about not bothering before, here are a few lines about some of them. This post is not going to be full of detail but I’m hoping something is better than nothing.

Please note that these are ‘snapshots’ of my eating experiences; many of which date from a few months ago and the restaurants may have since addressed any negatives.


Yang Sing – the long established Yang Sing needs no introduction to Manchester diners but the quality of food on offer over the years has varied. Some say it is finding form again; my tip here is to avoid the gloopy dishes that often appear on the main menu and select from the dim sum. Some of my faves from a couple of more recent visits:

Sticky Rice with Chinese chorizo, wine dried meat & baby shrimp  / 
Steamed potted mooli cake with Chinese chorizo & dried shrimp / 
Squid tentacles in a lightly curried batter

Chicken feet in spicy black bean sauce / Steamed rice roll with braised belly pork & preserved cabbage / Pan fried tofu wrap with prawns & Chinese chives.

Double cooked tofu stuffed with minced hake & dried pork / Steamed rice with shredded duck, pork & shiitake mushrooms, wrapped in fragrant lotus leaf / Steamed Tianjin pork buns with wood fungus & Chinese celery

Coffee FixCoffee Fix is a family run independent café in Gatley; serving what could well be the best coffee in Greater Manchester. Their Full English ain’t half bad neither:

Coffee Fix Breakfast – Cumberland sausage, crispy bacon, slow roasted tomatoes, home made baked beans and toast.

BaekduBaekdu serve home style Korean food in café style surroundings. Don’t go expecting silver service or any atmosphere; go for the Bibimbab, spicy cucumber and grilled mackerel.

Saengseon-Gui (Grilled Mackerel) / Nokdu-Bindaeddock (Mung beans, pork and kimchi pancake) / Yuk-hoe (thin sliced seasoned fresh beef)

Dolsot-Bibimbab (Beef & mixed vegetables with egg on rice in an earthen bowl / Oi-Muchim (Spicy seasoned cucumber salad) / Yechan Salad (Iceberg, carrot, pepper, salmon, flying fish roe with home made dressing)

Rosylee Tearooms – I have been meaning to return to the Rosylee Tearooms; I went for breakfast shortly after it opened and was impressed by the setting but not so much by the food.

The Full English and Salmon Beigel weren’t too bad… but the Three Mushroom Muffin lacked seasoning and I felt £3.25 for two dried up Crumpets with a thin veneer of butter was a bit of a liberty.

Wasabi – Before Yuzu opened, Wasabi was my favourite place for ‘Japanese food’ in Manchester (the other options being extremely limited). I went back for old time’s sake… it “filled a hole” and served to remind me just how lucky we are to have Yuzu.

Sushi: Ama-ebi Nigiri, Eel Nigiri, Mackerel Nigiri

Soft Shell Crab Tempura / Roast Pork Ramen / Agadashi Tofu

47 King Street West – I’ve often heard good things about 47 King Street West but on the two occasions I have visited I’ve been seriously underwhelmed.

Oriental Duck Salad with Plum Sauce – straight form packet to plate with a squeeze of overly sweet sauce?

Home Beer Battered Fish & Chips with Golden Battered ‘Catch of the Day’, Thick Cut Chips & Mushy Peas – quite a description for a limp piece of fish barely longer or thicker than a chip. The chips were very good.

North West

Parkers Arms & Chateau Musar – The Parkers Arms (near Clitheroe) has gone from strength to strength in 2013. As well as building up a loyal local following, Chef Stosie Madi and her small team have started getting the wider critical acclaim they deserve.

Do try to get along to Parkers Arms, especially for one of their themed events. This one was a Wine Tasting & Food Paring Evening with Ralph Hochar from Château Musar - for which Chef Stosie created a special menu to showcase Lebanese cuisine that does not typically appear on the Parkers Arms menus. (For a more detail write up of the evening visit the A. Stevenson blog - here).

Canapés / Falafels / Makanek

Fatayer  / Khobez & Za’atar

Chorba Mloukhiyeh

Kibbey Nayeh / Siyadiyeh

Lahem Meshwi

Gibneh Beida / Qahwa & Halwa, Makroum bil Loz & Namoura

The Wizard – Sadly the Parkers Arms is a fair old trek from where I live in Cheshire but fortunately I do have The Wizard close by. I blogged it back in 2011 and have not always had my camera on return visits; here are some pics from a meal I had at the end of August.

Fish Platter with prawn cocktail, peppered mackerel, smoked salmon, crab mayo, fish fingers, beetroot relish, horseradish cream and multi seeded bread / Cumberland & Black Pudding Chipolatas with mustard mayo / Bread Platter with British rapeseed oil, balsamic tomatoes and houmous

Roast Topside of Organic Redpoll Beef with homemade horseradish cream, Yorkshire pud, roast potatoes and cauliflower cheese / Posh Chips

Peacock Room at The Crimble – the Peacock Room is certainly one of the most memorable dining rooms I have eaten in… imagine a cross between one of the more glitzy caravans on Big Fat Gypsy’s Wedding and Peter Stringfellow’s downstairs toilet. Thankfully, the food is much better than the gaudy décor. 

Grilled Black Pudding with puy lentils and a poached hen’s egg / Terrine of Ham Hock and foie gras with poached apples and pain d'epices

Slow Cooked Loin of Venison with Haunch Pie, butternut squash, kale and redcurrants / Roast Leg of Lamb with a tomato and rosemary jus

Raspberry Crème Brulee with shortbread biscuit / Kaffir Lime Parfait with blueberry sorbet

Istanbul Grill – there are a few Istanbul Grills around and I had been meaning to visit one for quite some time. When one opened near to me in Cheadle I finally got around to it… I have no plans to return.

The big puffy Lavas bread was impressive and the Falafel were fine but, for me, the other dishes were not quite up to scratch.

There was nothing majorly wrong with the food but I found the quality of ingredients in general and depth of flavour just not quite up to my high standards. We also ate: a fridge cold Iman Bayildi and lazily prepared Halloumi Cheese.

The Ali Nazik suffered from poor quality overcooked lamb and the Vegetable Iskender was lacklustre at best and made worse by a weird assemblage of frozen veg, mushrooms and sprouts.


Sketch ‘The Parlour’ – on this trip to London I couldn’t get a table to return to the two Michelin started Lecture Room & Library at Sketch but I love the place so we managed to squeeze in some Pu’erh Tea, a Lemon Love cake (lemon curd, lemon coulis and lemon meringue) and some Macarons at ‘The Parlour’.

Ladurée at Harrods – I love a macarons and the fact that my post about ‘the Best Macarons in Paris’ is one of my most viewed tells me that I am not in the minority. A Ladurée macaron is always a special thing… a Ladurée macaron in Harrods doubly so! Granted, it’s a bit very touristy but the coffee and macarons are good.

Macarons: Salted Caramel, Pure Origin Chocolate from Santo Domingo, Lemon, Raspberry and Blackcurrant Violet


Jesmond Dene House – back in August I was in the North East to visit the Chef’s Pod at Vallum Farm (see here). I stayed over at Jesmond Dene House. The hotel and it’s setting was wonderful but I found the Sunday roast was a mixed bag. (Sundays are often not the best way to judge a restaurant’s food offering, so despite not being overly impressed, I would still like to return for their Tasting Menu.)

Latimer’s Oak Smoked Haddock, Spelt Risotto & Poached Egg – very good.

Carron Craighead’s of Ponteland Roast Leg of Lamb – the lamb was fabulous quality and the rest of the trimmings were generally good although the potatoes were undercooked.

Steamed Lemon Sponge with Lemon Curd Ice Cream & Custard – this was not served with the lemon curd ice cream (the reason for ordering) and as a result lacked the citrus kick I expected. When I mentioned this to the server the answer came back from the kitchen that they had “Forgotten to put it on”.

Rocambolesc Gelateria (Girona) – Rocambolesc Gelateria is the ice cream shop of the famed 3 Michelin starred Roca brothers. If you ever find yourself in Girona with a couple of hours to spare, as we did, I highly recommend it.

Marmalade (Barcelona) – when in Barcelona, I usually take my breakfast at ‘La Boqueria’ (see here) but the nearby Marmalade is a great place for a more relaxed brekkie sat in the sunshine with a glass of cava and a coffee.

Monte Cristo – a croquet madam sandwich with melted cheese & ham, 
served with blueberry jam.

Morning Glory – French toasts topped with forest fruit compote and Greek yoghurt.

Eggs Benedict – poached eggs on toast with smoked Danish bacon 
& hollandaise sauce.

Acme Bar & Coffee (KL) KLites aka Kuala Lumpurians are lucky folk. Whilst I found the ‘fine dining’ in KL lacking, the casual dining scene is really strong - Acme Bar & Coffee would be at home in London or New York.

Creamy Cheese Brandade – salt fish brandade layeres with potato and cheese bake

Anchovies & Artichokes – fried whitebait and artichokes with garlic, chilli and lime

Root Vegetable Truffled Fries – mix of sweet potato, lotus root and yam fried and wedges, lightly drizzled with truffle oil. Drinks: Freshly Pressed Ice Lemon Tea and DeGayo Coffee (here).

Marini’s on 57 (KL) is “Malaysia’s highest rooftop bar and restaurant”. Located on the 57th floor of ‘Tower 3’, the cocktails and food may not be all that special but it’s worth checking out for the views overlooking the Petronas Twin Towers.

French Fries with Truffle Mayonnaise / Calamari Fritti / 
Giusta Pizza with tomato, garlic, fresh chilli, anchovies & capers.

Grilled Sliced Beef Tenderloin with Rucola Leaves / 
Soft Shell Crab with Avocado Mayonnaise

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