Is the new menu at Alberts Schloss a splash of summer through all this rein?
Lots of people love Alberts Schloss for a lot of reasons;
You’ll be lucky to squeeze in there in the evenings for some cocktails while you watch one of their brilliant LIVE acts from cabaret to dancers to the band.
Equally, weekend brunch times are full of tables enjoying breakfast and tucking into something from the on site bakery, while Sundays include roast dinners the size of your thorax and a gospel choir followed by DJ sets by some of Manchester best.
In between all that you have one of the finest selections of beer in the entire city – from European imports to brews from our very own rainy shores as well as fine wines, cocktails, G&T’s and everything else you could possibly think of.
As for food, things have always been generally Germanic – which works perfectly in the wintertime, but less so in the summer months when fish, fresh greens and berries are at their best. However, Schloss has given its menu a bit of an update for the warmer (well, not that much warmer) months – and I went down see if it landed as comfortably as everything else on offer.
We began with a selection of starters and one of their beer flights which set you back £12 for 6 small beers. These make a great choice for fickle beer drinkers who don’t mind sharing.
The Croquette Fest (£15) was a rather greedy selection of their three flavours of croquettes. There was a delicious slow-roasted lamb shoulder one filled with succulent meat and served with a beer chilli mayo, ham and alpine cheese and finally garden pea, mint and alpine cheese with a tart lemon aioli.
I have got to say these were all fantastic. What is not to love about crispy balls with a hot, gooey (or meaty) centre? I sure as hell can’t think of anything. My only note was I would perhaps have preferred them to be presented on some sort of sharing board to make it a bit more of a ‘fest’ as the name suggests – but semantics aside these were a great start to the meal.
Burrata (£8.50) certainly felt summery which was exactly the aim for the menu revamp. The creamy cheese exploded as expected once we sliced into its belly and paired with the tart tomatoes and pesto it proved a classic combination executed tremendously well by the Schloss kitchen.
I was certainly glad to see the Charred Mackerel (£12) on the menu. As one of my favourite things to come out of the ocean, there was no chance I wasn’t going to order it and I am so glad I did because it was a lovely plate of food.
The fish was served butterflied and I must say it was cooked perfectly. Mackerel is an oily, robust fish that can cope with lots of heat, and the chefs at Schloss use this to their advantage to ensure it’s a crispy and delicious affair. Served with charred broccoli and a warm sort of potato salad, this dish was rather pleasing indeed.
Summer Salad (£5) was a light and refreshing mix of asparagus, courgette, new potatoes, crunchy French beans and roasted cherry tomatoes. Dressed in a simple lemon, garlic and olive oil number, it made an excellent side to any dish on the menu – especially the fresh crop of pescatarian dishes.
We swiftly moved on to kebabs. At first glance, it might seem like an odd choice to have an entire section dedicated to kebabs on a German Bier House’s menu – but anyone who has ever been to Berlin will know that kebab houses are everywhere and are immensely popular.
Germany has a large community of Turkish and Middle Eastern people who moved over decades ago and brought juicy, tender and aromatic kebabs with them which are now as interwoven into the culinary culture as currywurst and spätzle.
We ordered the Berliner Spiced Lamb (£14). I cannot complain about each element; the lamb was juicy and tender (although it lacked something – perhaps spice), the pickled fennel was tart and sweet, the lemon yoghurt aioli was everything I wanted it to be and the various fresh elements (cucumber, mint, coriander, almonds, pomegranate and apricot) brought tangible bursts of character – but it was just a bit fussy.
I don’t know who said it, probably Gandhi or Trinny & Suzanna, but that whole ‘before you leave the house take one accessory off’ mantra sprang to mind.
It was a delicious kebab, but perhaps a little over-accessorised, which rendered important elements like hummus, the lamb flavour and chilli sauce (which are arguably the most important pillars of a kebab) a little lost. That being said, the homemade flatbread was a revelation so top marks to the bakery team.
Finishing with a bang, we went for the Strawberry & Aperol Baked Alaska (£7.50) which was more than enough for three people to share with some to spare.
It was made up from a lovely strawberry and Aperol sorbet aloft a crispy shortbread base which was smothered in Italian meringue and finished off with a blow torch and tart oblongs of rhubarb. It was ridiculously sweet but we sure loved it.
So what did I think? Well, Schloss still manages to maintain its hearty Bavarian core but manages to produce a lighter affair which is well thought-out and diverse.
Schloss is now the place which is ideal for a light lunch with the girls or a romantic dinner as well as, all at once, being your favourite drinking hall and place to watch live music and ladies taking their clothes off. How’s that for versatility?
All in all, if the aim of this new menu at Albert’s Schloss is to lighten up the normal heavier German offering for the summertime, we can consider that a mission well accomplished.
Albert’s Schloss, 27 Peter St, Manchester M2 5QR
0161 833 4040