First Street is a bit of a weird one really, I mean it does house some brilliant places such as HOME, Bunny Jackson’s and Indian Tiffin Rooms but it’s not usually somewhere I’d think to go when going on a bit of a sesh.
Once there though there’s plenty on offer, regardless of what kind of food, music or crowd you’re looking for. School for Scandal, as you’d expect, tries to tick a fair few boxes, offering a bar, restaurant and late night venue all under one (elaborately inked) roof.
The man behind the venue is Danny Fox, formerly of Living Ventures and so you can already get a sense of what to expect before you go in. The place is stylish and slick, the drinks menu massive and the food menu eclectic.
We went on down on a Wednesday afternoon and delved into their menu which aims to provide a wide range of cuisines from all over the world. So you’re going to see tacos next to tempura, steaks, pizzas, burgers and a whole host of things in between.
One of the main sections of the menu is the ‘Start or Share’ bit, and it seems everyone in the city is going ‘Small Plates’ crazy at the moment – so they’re the perfect place to start. We went for the Tempura Prawns, Halloumi Fries, Chicken Lollipops and a couple of Pulled Pork Tacos.
Each dish was much bigger than anticipated and were excellent. Although I’m not usually a fan of prawns in general, these tempura-battered beauties were great and came with all of your sushi favourites – pickled ginger, wasabi and teriyaki sauce.
My personal favourites were the Chicken Lollipops which, although they sound like something a 10-year-old would order, were succulently spiced chunks of lightly battered chicken sitting on some tangy lime mayo. The only reason for not ordering these during a visit is surely that you’re a vegetarian.
Moving on to the mains, and as I said, the School for Scandal selection is rather eclectic, starting on a Miso Black Cod dish and then moving into Lasagne, Lamb Chops, Steaks and Burgers.
Being the food connoisseurs that we are we went for the aforementioned Miso Cod and the Roasted Sea Bass. We also decided to share the Colonel’s Chicken Burger because we enjoyed the Chicken Lollipops so much.
The Miso Black Cod came on a huge black plate with three generous dollops of a ginger soubise (which is a kind of creamy onion sauce) and although it’s not cheap at £19.50, it was a treat from start to finish. The cod was cooked to perfection and the subtle Japanese flavourings of the fish really shone through alongside the ginger sauce.
Similarly, the Roasted Sea Bass was again a winner, with seared skin left on, placed on a pile of tomatoes and peppers with a wafu dressing. The wafu stuff is a traditional Japanese dressing with soy sauce, rice vinegar and mirin. It all comes together perfectly, with tang, salt, crunch and sour all banging away at your taste buds with every mouthful.
Finally, we should talk about the Colonel’s Chicken Burger, not only because we ordered it and ate it but because it was bloody lovely. Buttermilk battered chicken is pretty much to de facto method nowadays – mostly because it keeps the chicken succulent and flavoursome throughout the whole deep frying process.
The Colonel’s version is no different, with a crunchy-on-the-outside, moist-in-the-middle breast, smothered in a spicy sauce and sandwiched in a brioche bun. It might be a safe bet compared to many of the other dishes on the menu but it doesn’t mean that it’s any less delicious. The chips were absolutely amazing too by the way.
Alongside all of these dishes we tucked into a selection of School for Scandal’s cocktail menu, which is extensive to say the least. They have ‘Detention’ cocktails which are only £5 between 5pm and 7pm, as well as another 7 pages of unique concoctions.
Favourite of our tipples was Ron’s Love Juice, which not only comes with Ron Jeremy’s very own spiced rum but also some raspberry liqueur, peach, grenadine and pomegranate. If it wasn’t a lunch time – we’d have tried more.
We didn’t have space in our stomachs for dessert, and it’s always the one that gets overlooked unfortunately. If we were proper then we’d had gone for the sharer Chocolate Fondue, no the Knickerbocker Glory, no the Sticky Toffee Pudding. Fuck it – I’ll go back and just do the desserts.
School for Scandal, 13 Jack Rosenthal Street, First St M15 4FN
0161 236 1616