The Lowry Hotel is one of the most beautiful places you can stay in Greater Manchester. Salford’s only five-star stopover sits along the River Irwell away from the hustle and bustle of Manchester city centre but near enough that you can go out, have some fun, and amble back to the hotel afterwards.
It’s no secret that the city has plenty of options for eating and drinking but if you’re staying at the hotel for a few days, you should make time in your plans for dinner at the hotel’s two-AA-rosette restaurant too. Here you can enjoy fine dining in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere, before grabbing a couple of cocktails in the bar and sloping off back to your room.
The restaurant is not just for guests though. With its on-trend hues of burnt orange and navy, plush seating and impeccable, friendly staff, it’s definitely one to add to your list for a date night or a special meal with friends. It provides that feel of a luxury escape even if you’re not staying over.
We headed down to the River Restaurant for an after-work mate date, melted into a comfy chair and got stuck into some dishes from the new menu.
The new menu features crowd-pleasing British ingredients and classical French techniques with a few flourishes peeping in from other cuisines. A shawarma here, some kombu there. For those less keen on the bells and whistles of fine dining, there’s a section of more simple but expertly cooked cuts of meat and fish finished on the house Josper grill.
After a long day in the office, wine is on our minds. We sip a couple of glasses of fragrant Sauvignon Blanc while enjoying a chicken liver parfait spiked with shards of posh flatbread crackers. Who doesn’t love a pate? Especially when slathered with sweet onion chutney. Alongside, we nibble at a bowl of marinated Spanish gordola olives and catch up on the day’s goss.
These straightforward snacks don’t prepare us for our starters. A hand-dived scallop tartare flavoured with furiyake seasoning and bright yuzu is moistened with Japanese dashi stock. This substantial puck of delicate seafood sits atop a nest of shredded kombu bringing a bit of crunch to the party.
At the other end of the flavour scale is a rich slow-cooked lamb ragu dotted with spicy harissa mayo. Tangles of piquant shredded red cabbage cut though the richness like a souped up hot pot. A sprinkling of mint finishes the dish and layers of other woody herbs make themselves known as we dig in.
Mains are elegantly plated with some fun details. A duck breast is pink as a pinched cheek, its skin perfectly and seasoned. Those duck juices get jiggy on the plate with an intense gravy poured at the table. Alongside, chef’s take on a chippy tea set pudding brings the stodge we all really want, stuffed with shredded duck leg. Carefully arranged nuggets of caramelised artichoke snuggle up with jewels of beetroot and are topped with a sprinkling of hazelnuts and a sprig of wilted watercress.
Another dish of chargrilled halibut, a seasonal favourite among fish fans, is crowned with apple and fennel caviar and drizzled with a creamy cider sauce. Veggie accompaniments are a wedge of butternut squash and what looks like an unpeeled carrot. This turns out to be a crispy tube filled with sweet potato puree as smooth as Paul Hollywood in an Aston Martin.
But on this occasion, it’s the desserts that we want to text back for a second date. If you only order one, make it the cinnamon beignet. A doughnut by any other name smells just as sweet, and this coral-shaped, cinnamon sugar dusted, deep fried treat tickles our nostrils first with fairground familiarity. It’s served with hunks of pear, apple jelly and a boozy Calvados creme that takes my friend right back to a formative childhood experience with a French flambé pan. The waiter tells us the sprinkling of granita is made with good old Magners cider. We could apple-y eat this all day.
But not to be overshadowed, a moment please for dessert number two. An Amarena cherry cheesecake straight out of a French patisserie is accompanied by quenelles of choc chip Amaretto cream, dark chocolate ganache and lip puckering sour cherry sorbet. A modern dessert with a nod to everyone’s favourite BFG.
The lovely new menu at The Lowry Hotel’s River Restaurant is available to book now and you can see the full menu here.