They’ve only been open just over a year, but we’ve already had some top times at Tariff and Dale. Most notably their Christmas Party last year which I think probably prompted a few croaky voiced phone calls across Manchester the following morning. This place is more than just a boozy night out however, you can get a proper good meal in there too, so when they tweaked their menu with some new additions I jumped at the chance to give it a go.
Don’t worry though, it’s not just food getting all the attention, they’ve given their cocktails a lick of paint too. We started off with a pisco sour, which used ginger infused pisco and Peychaud bitters, sharp and just a little bit spicy. But the real showstopper was a mezcal old fashioned, the Mexican liqour seems to be everywhere at the moment (not that I’m complaining), here it was paired with rhubarb bitters – sweet, smoky, almost medicinal – you need this drink in your night. Best start on lunch before I get too carried away…
A good salad is often a bit of a lesson in simplicity, and the poached pear, blue cheese and walnut was nicely fresh and well balanced. I chose the calamari, which came with chilli and garlic new potatoes. It was like a perfect little piece of tapas; crispy, tender calamari and those spuds were smooth, hot and well dressed, just how I like them.
We were offered a little extra bite between courses in the form of a chicken and ham hock terrine, which comes with pickled cauliflower and smoked tea mustard. It looked fantastic, and that combination of classic British ingredients really did something for me. It’s the sort of thing I imagine would be perfect for a picnic in the park on a hot summer’s day, alongside a cool jug of pimms, rather than the inevitable 4 pack of Stella and bag kettle chips I end up with.
I’m not normally prone to plump for chicken when eating out but the roast breast with pan fried herb gnocchi caught my eye. Brought together with a mushroom ragout, it’s another excellent dish, the charred lettuce leaves adding a nice layer of complexity. Similarly impressive was the cod loin and mussel potage, flavoured with lemongrass and coconut milk it was rather like a toned down Thai curry, taking in the fragrance without that searing heat.
We shared a couple of desserts to finish; the white chocolate cheesecake was pretty and perky with raspberry, mango and passionfruit. Cutting a rather more stout figure, our other pudding the lemon meringue baked alaska, hiding away a sponge, ice cream and tart citrus filling.
All in all a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon, and there’s a few other things I wouldn’t mind returning to try. There’s now a sausage roll section to the menu, I still haven’t got my teeth in to one of those sourdough pizzas, and there’s also the small matter of a fair few new cocktails to try. Plenty of excuses to get back there then, time for another party Tariff and Dale?