Hype surrounding restaurant openings is something we've gotten pretty used to in Manchester over the last few years.
But people tend to get that little bit more excited about these things out in the burbs, and the prospect of local lass Mary-Ellen McTague bringing her brand of brilliantly creative, seasonal cooking to Chorlton was enough to get locals queuing out the door of The Creameries back in spring.
Since then, a mixture of rave reviews and the odd dissenting voice had us more than a little intrigued to see what the beautifully restored Edwardian dairy was doing right, or wrong, so last week we finally got ourselves down to the Wilbraham Road venue to see what was on the menu that day.
Food is divided in to two sections, first we dug in to the ‘Snacks’ portion of proceedings. Oysters are never bad place to begin and these delicious plump shellfish sourced from Carlingford in Ireland were beautifully delicate, served with a squeeze of lemon and just a nasturtium leaf to protect their dignity.
When you can make a snack this good from split pea flour you’re clearly doing something right. Crispy-edged, uniform little chips with a silky doughy centre and a punchy smudge of mushroom ketchup on the side. A signal of some of the inventive intent to follow.
Portions aren’t massive across the board, but if you’re at risk of going hungry at The Creameries there’s always the bread. Deliciously chewy and crusty fresh-baked sourdough is a winner, especially with pickles and whipped butter on the side.
Moving on to ‘Supper’, we dived into another brilliant bit of British Isles seafood. Dorset clams in a neon lime green oil, produced from burnt butter, cider, parsley. Sharp, sweet and fragrantly surprising on the tongue, ideal to mop up with focaccia or slurp from a discarded shell.
Next, a sort of deconstructed roast of sorts with barbecued kid goat, like fat-streaked little rashers, and cauliflower cheese two ways- first deep fried in little fritters and also smeared across the plate in puree form. Charred babygem perched on top finished a familiar collection of flavours served in way you’ve doubtful seen before.
A fresh summery palate cleanser, like the perfect allotment grown salad, topped with homemade yoghurt and toasted almonds followed. Lime basil micro-herbs were the real star here though, adding a smack of intense citrus and aniseed. Clearly The Creameries indoor herb garden is being put to good use.
A dish of perfectly pink, cured wood pigeon was a great example of how small-scale restaurants can do exciting things that bigger venues simply can’t replicate. Like a sort of gamey pigeon pastrami the in-house produced little morsels were a bit of a revelation, to be honest. Carrot, hazelnut and blackberries completed a perfectly formed thing.
On the side, Maris Peer potato gratin made with Summerfield cheese and leek also comes highly recommended, look at that crust!
If service has been an issue for some punters I can only comment on my own and fellow diners experience on the night and everything ran rather smoothly. Pud had the longest wait but then we had a few swigs of an excellent and well-recommended chilled Cabernet Franc to get through anyway.
Nothing could say British summertime in dessert form like the aromas of strawberry and elderflower parfait. To spice things up a little, pink peppercorns tingled the dish into life, cleverly suspended in flat little shards of meringue.
Tart, tangy dried roast plum skins and juicy segments of the fruit scattered across a bay leaf set cream completed an exceptional meal. Well, save for a couple of glasses of Pedro Ximinez that is.
406 Wilbraham Rd, Manchester, M21 0SD
0161 312 8328