Regular readers of Manchester’s Finest will now be familiar with Gastroclub, which is now in its 10th month. The Twitter-only based group meet on the second Tuesday of the month for a specially constructed set menu at various Manchester establishments. So far, Gastroclub has experienced gourmet delights at a wide range of restaurants including chicken’s feet at Sweet Mandarin and a Makuna honey dessert at Harvey Nichols that members are still talking about. The Market restaurant’s menu included five historical desserts, whilst the Mark Addy created a magical Christmas culinary adventure inspired by Narnia.
Last month it was the turn of newcomer Vertigo which has opened on John Dalton Street in the premises of what was formerly Ithica. They describe their style as ‘modern elegant food with seasonal menus that will please and delight the greatest of food lovers.’ Head chef Ian Armstrong has build up an excellent reputation over the past few years by working in some of Manchester’s more renowned restaurants specialising in seasonal British food. Vertigo pride themselves on having carefully sourced all their ingredients including roast coffee and cheese biscuits.
Firstly came a refreshing amuse bouche of chilled cucumber soup served with warm, home-made buns. The starter was Carpaccio of Beetroot with Sant Maure Cendree goat’s cheese, watercress puree, truffle honey and candied walnuts. As is common in dishes with a long list of ingredients, there were too many of some components and not enough of others which resulted in a dish which was slightly unbalanced and a bit ‘busy’. The goat’s cheese complimented the earthy sweetness of the thinly sliced beetroot (which there was not enough of incidentally.)
The main course was as a Trio of Mid-White Yorkshire Pork – Confit leg, braised shoulder and fillet wrapped in Cumbrian air dried ham, served with pomme puree, chestnut mushrooms, wilted spinach and chorizo oil. This was a delicious, melt in the mouth dish with a combination of complimentary textures which included a crunchy breaded ‘schnitzel’ made from the the leg.
The dessert was banoffee parfait with rum jelly, bitter chocolate sorbet and banana praline. This is an ever-winning combination. The softly textured parfait was sandwiched elegantly between two layers of thin, crisp praline but they weren’t kidding when they described the chocolate sorbet as bitter. As its high cocoa content was not tempered by any dairy, it could have done with being half the size empowering it into an intense ‘hit’ of chocolate rather than an overpowering chore.
The meal was rounded off by a perfectly simple plate of hand-crafted petit fours that consisted of sugar-crusted tropical fruit pastilles and some white chocolate fudge.
Vertigo is a new establishment, offering a high standard of modern British cooking and they’re really keen to fill a niche sadly lacking by independents in the city centre. Once they’ve found their feet, we feel they might just do that.