It's well worth having a whinge when the start of the year pinches you with its familiar bitter spite- surely there's absolutely nothing to forgive January for?
Unless you’re in to eating out of course, then you can get one back on the first month of the year, it is after all a celebration of bargain restaurant deals not seen in any other season. There are cut price burgers, free glasses of wine and ridiculous discounts getting dished out all over town. My advice, make hay whilst the rest of the city is hibernating, hoover up the deals whilst everyone else is going dry. Tis’ the time to take in some surroundings slightly more swanky than you’re used to.
And there are few eateries in the area that’ll make you feel as indulged as the River Restaurant at the Lowry Hotel. If it’s good enough for long-term resident Jose Mourinho to set up home in a suite, they must be doing something right. Luckily right now that level of luxury is available to average punters too, with a quite frankly crazy three courses for £15.95 deal that runs right the way til the end of February. It all sounds too good to be true, so we went to see for ourselves.
The nibbles were a little extra, but when you’re paying next to nothing for dinner it makes sense to tuck in to olives first, or even a bowl of peppery little chorizo sausages with a piquant tomato sauce. Warm buttered rolls and olive tapenade are tasty too, and make for a nice distraction while deciding where to begin.
As solid starters go, you can’t beat a bit of calamari, and this tender squid is nicely battered in a well seasoned, light but crunchy casing. The accompanying aioli and charred lime do well to freshen things up too in this moreish dish.
Beetroot and feta make for a delicious counterbalance in a salad or, as here, stirred in to buckwheat risotto. The slightly smoked cheese and blushing pink veg are surpassed by another root in the shape of sunchoke crisps though. With a touch of sweet and savoury those golden shards perk up a plate at risk of becoming a little bland.
The main event on the menu has to be the beef. Chorlton’s finest butchers, W H Frosts, and their onglet cut to be precise – more commonly known to you and I as hanger steak. The characteristically juicy and flavoursome piece of cow is a lesson in why veganuary is simply not sustainable for me. Chuck in another £3.95 and chef will smoother it in chimichurri sauce before scattering some parmesan frites on the side too. Seriously irresistible stuff.
Another case for the sense of simplicity comes next with the Spaghetti Nero Pomodorina. Tender, black squid ink pasta, tossed together with clams and a succulently viscous white wine and tomato sauce, finished with a flair by fresh parsley and parmesan. A classic seafood dish executed excellently, just don’t blame me if you didn’t order the steak.
Pretty presentation makes the banana parfait dish an alluring sight, but it’s also quite impressively delicate on the palette- especially for a dish packing peanut butter, chocolate crisp and honeycomb brittle too. The danger of devouring it quite quickly is very real, but then it’ll melt soon so best to get stuck in.
At the other end of the table, sticky toffee date pudding also goes down worryingly well, a dish that can sometimes verge on sickly is anything but, despite the addition of a deliciously rich toffee sauce and fragrant vanilla ice cream. The finger of sponge is crowned with edible gold leaf and a single, sweet Medjool Date, it’s a fittingly grand end for an impressive meal at a spectacular price.
The Lowry Hotel, 50 Dearmans Pl, Chapel Wharf, Salford, Manchester M3 5LH
0161 827 4000