Small plates, big flavours and a whopping dose of modern British sophistication are what you will find at this sparkling new Spinningfields eaterie.
When I popped down to Albatross & Arnold this week to review their food menu I was spoilt for choice so I panicked and just ordered everything…
I started with a trio of balls. First up were the Quail Scotch Eggs which were already top of my list because I have heard nothing but good things about them. Luckily, I was not let down. The egg yolk was a gorgeous saffron orange and perfectly runny, with a crisp outer shell and tender sausage flavoured with black pudding which had my inner-Scot jumping for joy.
I really enjoyed the Lancashire Blue Cheese Bonbons too. My personal palate was begging for more of that blue cheese flavour in them, but I understand why they are this way because blue cheese isn’t for everyone. They make a great entry-level treat for cheesephobes looking to broaden their horizons. The Pecorino Cheese Croquettes were a revelation – served with a Dijon and shallot cream which is my go-to accompaniment to pretty much anything from here on in.
To dive straight into the sea, the fishy small plates at Albatross & Arnold included Pan Roasted Scallops with a black pudding crumb and a Loin of Pan-Roasted Cod. The former dish was phenomenal and the scallops were a substantial size which I always like to see. I don’t want any of this ‘queenie’ business- just give me the king scallops, please. The black pudding crumb and crispy kale brought a welcome crunch to the dish with a gorgeous charred, barbeque tang from the expertly seared shellfish.
The cod dish was classic yet experimental, which I think is really indicative of the food as a whole at Albatross & Arnold. I must admit, when I saw the word liquorice printed on the menu, I did recoil in horror, but I was more than pleasantly surprised. The aniseed taste went wonderfully with the delicate flavours of the cod and when paired with the jet black sauce the plate looked like a piece of art.
Another thing I really like about Albatross & Arnold is that their menu is bold, brave and unafraid to tackle difficult cuts of meat. Rump Steak is characteristically tough, but not here. It was beautifully pink, tender and smothered in a heavily-herbed chimichurri which I would have a bath in anyday. The same can be said for the Roasted Pigeon Breast, which was cooked to perfection with a nice healthy stripe of pink in the middle.
It isn’t very often you see game on a menu so I was rather excited by both the pigeon and the Seared Venison Fillet. Both dishes were paired with lovely flavours of the forest – apple and cherry for the pigeon and blackberries for the venison with the silkiest parsnip puree I have ever had. Top marks all round.
If you are after something a little less lean then look no further than the Whisky Glazed Pork Belly. It is sensational and I love that you actually get a tang of the Laphroig 10 year old whiskey through the marinade. I guarantee you will be fighting over the last one.
The crispy Lamb Cutlets with honey and pistachio has to be the winning dish for me. I don’t eat lamb anywhere near as often as I want to, but these cutlets set my taste buds ablaze and my mind into a lamb-crazed frenzy. I basically haven’t stopped thinking about it since, and paired with their delectable Roast Potatoes and perhaps the Purple Sprouting Broccoli drizzled with lemon oil it must be what perfection tastes like.
I polished this all off with an aperitif/dessert called The Winners Trophy – a petit four and cocktail combo. The drink was a delicious concoction of Remy Marti 1738 Accord Royal Cognac, Luxardo Sangue Morlacco cherry liqueur and Kahula served over ice. This really makes the perfect way to polish off a meal with a sense of class and I cannot wait to come back.
Chin Chin to that – I’ll just be over here in a food coma minding my own business.
Albatross & Arnold, Leftbank, Spinningfields, Manchester M3 3AN
0161 325 4444