I’ve only got myself to blame, I know that, but I’ve got a Facebook feed full of food. Whether it’s someone’s freshly filtered photo of dinner or a pair of hands swiftly preparing something special before my eyes, I’m peppered with with the stuff daily. I’ve also got to admit that it all usually looks pretty good. Knock up some sexy looking dish and these days your diners will spread the word for you on Instagram. But if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video must be loads more, and one place that’s been getting creative with their camera is Splendid Kitchen. They’ve also got a brand new menu out for Spring, so having seen via my phone screen what they can do with an Oreo or three I jumped at the chance to go try it all in person.
For the uninitiated, Splendid Kitchen aims to bring a slice of Americana to the table with their menu so I thought the best place to begin was with some Jack Daniels and one of their whisky jars. The ginger jar comes with JD, rum, lime and ginger beer and was simple but effective, definitely one to try mixing up at home. To start we shared a couple of the small plates, first jalapeno poppers, chillis filled with cream cheese then wrapped in bacon. As ever a winning combination and these won me over, the spicy green jalapenos retaining their heat and crunch nicely beneath the bacon, which in fairness could actually have been a tad crispier for me. Louisiana crab cakes were also impressive, light yet rich in flavour from the shellfish meat, a side of sriracha mayo worked well too.
Since opening, the restaurant has made its name primarily with those two American fast food staples, fried chicken and burgers, but there’s more to the menu now including steaks, so we tried a couple. I opted for the wild boar, served pan fried and smothered with chimichurri. The meat has a sort of gamey, beefy flavour and a similar texture to a rump steak. It’s something a little bit different and well worth a go if, like me, you’ve not tried it before. The other option was venison which was gamier still but with a greater delicacy of flavour, my friend seemed pretty happy with it anyway.
You know they don’t muck about with desserts on the other side of the pond, and I was pretty excited about these deep fried Oreos. The ‘Oreonuts’ come with a thick dark chocolate sauce, the gloss of that sauce with the crisp batter gave it sort of churros vibe, but with added biscuit. If that doesn’t sound great to you then this is probably ain’t your place, and I’m not sure I like you either. The creamy Oreo ice cream on the side wasn’t half bad either.
The other options for afters are supplied courtesy of Pink Cabbage Cakery, a Manchester based company that clearly know their way around a good pud. We chose a proper American classic in the pecan pie and it was really spot on stuff. Rich treacle, crunchy, sweet nuts and buttery pastry all served with freshly whipped cream. It was the real deal, my only disappointment was to be left wondering what the other options were like, worth a return visit just to satiate your sweet tooth alone I’d say.
Let’s be honest it’s not exactly the only place in town offering a take on Stateside food, but I think the emphasis on fresh ingredients and home cooking shines through in the meal we enjoyed, and that sets Splendid Kitchen apart from some of their competitors. Our starters in particular were the sort of things where short cuts could’ve been taken, but that wasn’t the case. Mains were made interesting by the choice of meat rather than just an attempt to bombard the plate with wacky ingredients. I didn’t partake this time, but there’s also a proper wine list, another sign that it’s all just a little bit more grown up than your average place serving American fare. That’s not to say you can’t get a cracking burger, or fried chicken and waffles but you get the picture. If you fancy some diner style dinner without all the Yankee twaddle then give Splendid Kitchen a try.