There's a brand new menu to go alongside the brand new look and I can't decide which one is better.
In case you’ve missed it The Lowry Hotel’s River Restaurant & Bar recently had a £5m makeover and honestly it looks incredible. The oranges throughout are effortlessly relaxing and as soon as you step inside you can leave your worries at the door as the tranquil air washes over you.
Beyond that, sitting inside such a beautiful setting looking out through the large windows to see the gloom of a wintery day gives it that extra sprinkling of cosiness.
For those people who know me, know I’m just about obsessed with the added extras you find in a restaurant, like the hot towels you get after your meal in an Indian Restaurant. Such things are easily forgotten but are quite honestly the best bit and I find it to be what makes a restaurant stand out from a crowd that’s only getting busier.
The River Restaurant and Bar is an exceptional example of how to do this right.
Not only is the new design done to perfection, with truly incredibly comfy cushions to recline back into as you slurp on your wine and chairs you can actually fit in, there’s also some seriously impressive steak knives and wine glasses that are have a perfect stem to bowl ratio.
But what really emerges as a truly exceptional ‘little thing’ is the effort from Head Chef Dave Ashton and his kitchen team in creating what might just be the most impressive bread and butter snack known to man.
The Artisan Bread Selection (£5.50), I’m sure by now you’ve heard we are massive fans of and if not, I’m here to reiterate. It truly is a spectacular treat for the taste buds that has been not only well thought-out but well executed.
The sun-dried tomato butter is served in the shape of tomatoes with a sheen of red and real stems on the top. Once you snap through the outer layer you’re greeted with a delicious tomato butter that puts any other spread to shame.
I speak for us all when I say we wish the bread selection didn’t have to end but our starters quickly arrived and you can’t complain about that can you. Before we did completely fill up on bread and butter alone we we opted for Cornish Crab (£11) and the Squab Pigeon (£12) as our actual starters.
The Cornish Crab starter is a light and refreshing way to kick off a meal. Hidden on the edges of a polished white bowl is a crown of fresh crab meat topped with samphire sprigs and edible flowers. As a recent convert to fish and seafood I can preach that this is perfectly balanced and not even slightly-overpoweringly ‘fishy’.
It’s also fresh enough to rival any seafood restaurant. The crab meat is served alongside a good dollop of peppery horseradish sorbet and on a bed of panna cotta made from the crab shell itself.
We then moved on to the Squab Pigeon to satisfy how festive we were feeling, seeing as it has suddenly turned -3000 degrees outside overnight. A surprisingly light starter, despite being hearty and packed full of rich flavours.
Cooked to absolute perfection leaving rich, tender and deliciously moist slices of meat with a perfect amount of jus drizzled on the plate too. The dish is served with a crispy pastilla roll, celeriac puree, crispy kale leaves and goats curd.
An incredibly well balanced dish and a perfect portion size, giving you just enough for a taster but still ready and craving your main course.
For mains we of course had to opt for one of Dave’s infamous Lowry Signature Dishes; The Cheshire Farm Lamb Rump (£25).
Lamb is by far my favourite meat so when I see it on any menu it’s a no brainer. I was also promised by Ben Brown that this was absolutely worth a try, and as promised – the lamb was not only presented beautifully – it was out of this world.
Served with a melt in the mouth carrot soaked and cooked for 8 hours in lamb fat, soaking up all that delicious flavour, leaving quite honestly the best carrot I’ve ever eaten. Equally as tender was the Braised Rib that is cooked for 12 hours in red wine, rosemary and lamb stock.
And of course there’s dollops of mint sauce that was so good I wish I could’ve bottled it up and taken it home to tuck straight into every Sunday Dinner for the rest of my life. Sweet, tingly and perfectly minty to coat over each mouthful of lamb.
We then opted for the Honey Glazed Duck (£24), a sweet and simply delightful dish. Served with a duck leg rogoût, blackberries and a delicious turnip purée.
Just about as indulgent as it sounds and maybe a touch more for good measure. It was sweet, succulent and complimented perfectly by the ever so slightly bitter turnip and jus.
Next up, the best part of any meal – dessert. Again, from Ben Brown’s recommendations we tried The Lowry Gin (£9). I know what you’re thinking, a G&T isn’t quite a dessert but bare with me here.
If I didn’t have my glasses on it would possibly be easy to mistake as just a simple lemon on a plate, quite far from a glass of gin and tonic.
But once you smash through the sugary outer layer you enter a cloud of Gin and Tonic flavour. Now, G&T is my favourite drink so turning it into fluffy mousse format and making it edible is by far the best thing I’ve heard all month. There’s a lemon and tonic gel centre and a crunchy cucumber ice for garnish and added brain freeze.
It’s cold and bold and absolutely delicious. It’s worth dining at the River Restaurant just to try this incredible dessert, I can promise you won’t be disappointed.
We also sampled the Bee Centre Honey (£8) dessert. A homage to the Manchester Bee this sweet and sumptuous dessert is packed full of wonderful textures and tastes of The Lowry Hotel’s very own Honey.
A hexagonal honey-coloured and honeycomb flavoured panna cotta is incredibly light, melts as soon as you put your spoon in your mouth into a perfectly creamy delight.
There’s a crumbled heather honey cake so fine it’s like fairy dust, a perfectly balanced fennel & honey iced parfait and finally a sprinkling of bee pollen for added crunch.
The River Restaurant and Bar quite simply needs to be on your radar for your next evening meal – you are missing out if it isn’t already.
The Lowry Hotel, 50 Dearmans Pl, Salford M3 5LH
0161 827 4000