With Michelin starred chef Michael Caines at the helm, ABode has long been a Manchester restaurant landmark and I can atest the tasting menu is well with checking out. But with the party season getting in to full swing now at the Piccadilly location, I jumped at the chance to sample their new Yuletide menu.
Twinkling lights in a gently lit basement and a sparkling array of bottles at the Champagne bar is always likely to put me in a convivial mood, but just to be sure we sample a cocktail or two. I went for a Cadillac margarita, a tasty twist on the classic with Grand Marnier, and my companion opted to go off piste and asked the mixologist to whip up something Christmassy on an old fashioned tip. The result was delicious, creme de cerise and chocolate notes adding complexity to the tipple.
An appetiser arrived shortly those drinks after in the form of a large piece of ravioli packed with pheasant and foie gras. It was fantastically indulgent but balanced on the plate with braised raisins I could’ve got through a pan full without too much trouble, gamey and richly packed with flavour. To start I chose the mackerel tartare which came accompanied with razor thin discs of beetroot and turnip that fizzled like lemon sherbet against the backdrop of that oily fish. With the raw fish, pickled root flavours and a honey soy vinegarette, it’s reminiscent of sashimi and a lovely light way to start a meal. A creamy artichoke heart soup with artichoke crisps hits the spot similarly well on the other side of the table.
Let’s be honest everyone likes their Mum’s roast dinners best, but in a place called ABode that’s as good as going home? Turkey with all the trimmings it is for me then, the slices of bird and succulent sausage meat rest on a bed of braised red cabbage and that makes it for me, I’d forgotten how good that stuff is, there could’ve been a bit more gravy for those brussel sprouts though. A little more unorthadox is the pan fried cod that comes with pancetta, an apple and ginger purée, pink grapefruit and ginger jus. The citrus fruit really works well against the meaty fish, and the dish is a certainly a stunner, presented wonderfully ornately.
Christmas puds probably aren’t many people’s favourites, and can be a bit heavy after a marathon meal, but I love ’em. This one is moist, nicely spiced and soaked in a Cognac anglais. Cutting an all together more elegant frame is the coconut panna cotta with roast pineapple and pineapple sorbet. It’s creamy, sweet and fruity, and with those joyfully tropical flavours, tastes as good as it looks.
We ate from the three course set menu and it alternates each week throughout the advent period. So if you’re looking for a festive menu offering more than just the usual, in a warm and welcoming setting, ABode might just be your home from home this Christmas.