Something I enjoy about blogging is discovering and sharing “hidden gems”. When I first went to the likes of Yuzu, Siam Smiles and Parkers Arms seemingly very few people had heard of them. There is no doubt posts on blogs such as mine helped to build their local reputations, which in turn has led to national food critics showing an interest and loving them (this also owes a certain amount of thanks to the Oyez, Oyez, Oyezing of Manchester’s premier food and beverage crier Thom Hetherington).
Levanter is one of those small places hidden up a side street that I wish I could lay claim to “discovering’ but uncharacteristically, I am late to this particular “fiesta”. Bacon on the Beech was the first to blog the place (see here) and take his usual excellent pictures but many have been fans of Levanter from their days selling Spanish produce at markets.
Levanter have a no booking policy so I kept my fingers crossed for a table as I drove up from Cheshire… I was lucky enough to find a parking spot outside but the place looked heaving. What quickly became clear is that Levanter do not seem to have much need for bloggers to help spread the word.
Managing to squeeze inside, there were already people waiting in the small bar area for tables to come available. To my delight, as I was alone, I was offered a vacant spot by the window. The atmosphere was great and the locals obviously love Levanter. Throughout the evening there was a constant stream of people arriving… some were prepared to wait; others went off into the night and missed out on the delights.
Pitted & marinated olives - the garlic filled green olives were great but the black olives were disappointingly bland.
Padron Peppers & sea salt
Gambas Pil Pil - king prawns with chilli served with fresh bread to mop up the sizzling hot oil.
Mussels & Serrano in Fino Sherry - good plump mussels in a heady garlic, ham and sherry broth.
Presa Ibérica - tender Ibérica pork steak with a tomato salsa, sliced potatoes and crispy sage.
3 year mature Jamón Ibérico - good quality ham is hard to beat.
Sliced Potatoes & ‘Levante’ salsa
Aubergines in saffron butter - ‘berenjenas con miel’ or aubergines with honey is one of my favourite dishes when visiting my parents in Spain. Seeing this dish on the menu is one of the main reasons I finally made the trip and they did not disappoint. These were fried in a saffron and beer batter with spanish blossom honey. A super dish!