Last night I had the very immense pleasure of dining at Guestrant, a semi-regular night at the rather pleasant Electrik bar in Chorlton, Manchester.
The pleasure was even greater because the Guest (the clue’s in the title) chef was Robert Owen Brown, the main man at The Mark Addy, scene of many hungover Sundays years ago when I was a student. Back then it was all about a huge wodge of cheese and at least half a bloomer. Now it’s poshed itself up, in a northern way, with superb local and regional ingredients and some fine northern fare. Including vimto trifle which I haven’t tried yet but need to.
The pleasure was further enhanced by the fact that I’d won two ‘tix’ courtesy of Manchester Confidential, a fine website devoted almost exclusively to making me want to go out for more lovely dinners and cocktails. Thanks ManCon.
My friend asked me for a menu (it’s obligatory when one of us has been out for food), so here goes… a rundown of last night’s dinner. No photos as I was more interested in eating and it was quite dark so i doubt they’d have come out anyway.
Vegetable soup. This does not do it justice!! It was a very thick puree (not spoon-standing-up thick), velvety smooth. Main component was potato, possibly with a soupcon of swede or butternut squash adding a touch of colour. Also some greenery (possibly rocket, too thin for spinach*) throughout. Superb portion size, really lovely soup.
Meat starter: potted rabbit (two thick wodges cut to look like bread triangles, which is what i thought they were, and wood pigeon (both breasts) with some sort of berry jus.
Main / AKA first main - would have been slightly disappointing as a *main* main
Creamed leeks. A bowl of very buttery very creamy leeks with a crunchy topping. Very nice but I felt a bit cheated with that as my main.
Meat main: must have been partridge. I tried all the meat things and preferred this to the pigeon. Accompanied by some herbs in a cartridge and there was then a prize of a day’s shooting with the good chef himself – one cartridge marked on the bottom indicated the winner.
Main main / AKA we thought pudding was coming out but it was in fact the main course and I was already stuffed.
One plate containing some buttered carrots, couple of parsnip sticks and a large fondant potato. At a distance I’d thought it was some kind of pannacotta-esque pud.
Then another plate containing rocket, chopped walnuts and a sizeable warmed goat’s cheese (brie style, with rind, the kind i like thankfully) which had honey on top of it.
Meat main: a fantastic venison stew – big bowl between 4 and they also brought out small bowls of extra stew! Meat eaters also got the same plate of veg.
‘sweet’ (aka pud)
Blackberry cream. This was almost custardy in consistency with crushed blackberries thoroughly mixed in and was presented in a champagne flute. Accompanied by a fair slab of gingerbread, which was very nice and sticky but a tad medicinal in some bites. But clearly homemade, squidgy and bad for you
So, in short – extremely yummy and very much laden with butter and cream. Very generous portions and I will definitely be happy to pay a visit to Mark Addy to eat but would also highly recommend the Guestrant as one to try in the future. There was no menu so it was exciting not knowing what was coming next (for example the two main courses!)
*i’m not the best recogniser of ingredients. soz.