It's finally getting to that time of year when we can break out those shorts and descend on Manchester's sunniest spots. We recently ran through our favourite roof top bars but now there's another great place to bask in the glorious northern weather over at The Lowry Hotel on their massive 50ft terrace. It's a great spot to sample a cocktail or two and there's a new bar and terrace menu too, so we went down give it a try.
Unfortunately on the day we visited the conditions weren't the best for al fresco dining, it was a bit late and wet. However, undeterred we soldiered on, I was mainly there for the food of course anyway. And it has to be said sampling The Lowry Hotel's take on a bar menu had me quite eager, they don't do things by halves after all.
We kicked off with the salt and pepper squid. I'm a bit picky with my calamari, there's a lot more bad stuff knocking about than good, and when I get that chewy rubber band, onion ring resembling stuff I'm not best pleased. It's a bit of a litmus test for a restaurant if you ask me, so these tender, crispy, lightly scored, little bites were a good first impression. Our other starter came in the form of some other deep fried delicacies, the Thai chicken potato croquettes. I was expecting something like a Thai fish cake, but they were quite different really. Not at all rubbery or spongy in texture and more crisp, they were nicely spiced too, although perhaps more of a snack than a starter really.
Continuing a meal of predominately Asian flavours so far the chilli beef and ginger salad was a perfect summer dish. A fragrant light palm sugar dressing, coupled with fresh lime, drenching well seasoned, lightly seared steak was reminiscent to me of the freshness of Vietnamese cooking, and they certainly know their way around a salad over there. Moving back to more classic bar food territory we took on Ivo's award winning burger which recently picked up the top prize in the technical category at the National Burger Awards. It was definitely well constructed and didn't fall in to the trap of too many toppings which takes away from the main event if you ask me. Let the beef be the star of the show- cheese, bacon and salad sure, but too much else is overkill in my book.
Finally to dessert, where we had first the key lime tart which was pleasantly light and dainty. Baby lemon balm leaves were a nice touch to taste and presentation, although I found the dish a bit muddled with too many flavours to be honest, the chocolate sauce spread on the plate didn't quite work for me. Our Eton mess was anything but in fairness, it looked pretty tidy really, but I loved the seasonal fruit, cream and chewy meringue, a definite winner.
Having eaten at the River Restaurant before I was expecting good things, and the new terrace and bar menu is definitely another string to their bow. It was quite a treat eating such well executed bar grub and a return visit to properly test out that terrace is definitely on the cards this summer. You can always rely on being well looked after by the excellent, friendly staff at the Lowry Hotel and as this new menu once again shows, they don't do much wrong.
The River Restaurant at The Lowry Hotel
50 Dearmans Pl, Chapel Wharf, Manchester, M3 5LH
0161 827 4000