Don't call it meat and two veg, and with pretension in short supply I wouldn't say 'Modern British' either, but however you pigeonhole them, Beastro have been busy getting punters properly excited about the best produce these isles have to offer.
With a focus on getting the best out of superb, locally sourced ingredients, the team behind Spinningfield’s meatiest establishment have been delighting diners the past year with an inventive spread of dishes. And with those twelve months now under the belt, it was time for a menu refresh, so we went down to check out what their new plates had to offer.
Manchester has more than its fair share of brilliant scotch eggs, including of course our very own pickled creation, but we’ve definitely got a new contender for top spot here. The Beastro egg packs black pudding, venison, pork and a soft boiled Clarence Court egg (those posh ones in the brown box you get at Sainsbury’s). A tight crispy crumb keeps thing nicely in place over celeriac remoulade, a sort of mustardy coleslaw that, unassuming as it sounds, actually sets the the whole thing off.
Sometimes you might feel a little smug for taking a nice flick of your dinner, but come on, when it looks this good you’re eating an open goal. The steak tartare is constructed with 35 day salt aged fillet, topped with a pleasingly pert yolk and encircled with pickles and mustard. It only remains for me to confirm that this tastes as good as you’re guessing.
I spotted the bone marrow ox cheek dish getting the flamethrower treatment on my way past a hustling open kitchen. Regrettably we didn’t order one, but having seen the end product I won’t be making that mistake again.
After the theatre of our starters, mains took a more no-nonsense course which left room for fleshy fare to shine. The tenderness and sweet fragrance of hogget loin contrasted beautifully with sharply salty chorizo crisps and a hearty garlic infused cassoulet of white beans and green pea. Even our greens on the side had bacon in them, it’s just that sort of place.
On the other plate richly, gamey Gressingham duck leg and breast needed nothing more than celeriac mash and braised red cabbage as support act. An accompanying orange jus wasn’t my cup of tea, I’d have preferred gravy if I’m honest, but this dish was all about giving that bit of bird its due attention without letting it drown.
A waitress once confided in me that she’d have sticky toffee pudding for every meal if it was somehow socially acceptable. I feel like this one would be a good start to winning the world over to that kind of mentality. Seriously saucy, recklessly moist and perilously mounted by a dollop of fast-melting Madagascan vanilla specked ice cream.
I had to get that photo quickly. So much so, that in the confusion I’d already taken a bite out of my Eccles cake and had a nibble of Leagram’s crumbly Lancashire by the time I remembered that, they too, needed documenting. The result of a hastily rearranged plate is, I like to think, perhaps the artiest shot anyone has ever taken of one of ‘Master baker Frank Andrew of Oldham’s’ sweet conceptions. As with all the other brilliant local bits on show though, they deserve showcasing in their best light, and Beastro are doing a damn fine job of it.
Irwell Square, Leftbank, Manchester M3 3AG
0161 327 0265