Our visit to one of Manchester’s newest bar/restaurants, The Anthologist, was an evening of sophistication and surprise.
Overlooking St. Peter’s Square, the Drake & Morgan creation is set to be a City favourite, embodying everything you’d expect from a restaurant of its calibre; taking fine dining to the next level.
Being familiar with the impressive portfolio of bars and restaurants by Drake & Morgan, I had high hopes for the Anthologist- which opened following the success of The Refinery in Spinningfields; its sister restaurant.
On entering, I was instantly captivated by the chic allure of the setting. The warm lighting, grandeur of the bar and the aromas coming from the open kitchen created an idyllic ambience; however, the real surprise was the food.
To start, we had the Prawn Lollipops and Chorizo Scotch egg. Whilst I’m usually reluctant to order seafood in a restaurant because of the often small-portions, I couldn’t resist the temptation of the lollipops, which turned out to be the best starter I’ve ever had; no exaggeration.
Coated in a soft, crunchy batter, the prawns- which were absolutely massive by the way- were so perfectly cooked, I groaned after every single bite (literally). The meat was succulent, juicy and fresh, which was complimented perfectly by the tangy, sweet and sour dip. To say I could have demolished an entire tray of them, is an understatement, so take my advice and give them a try. They’re truly something special.
A born and bred northerner, my friend opted for the Chorizo Scotch Egg which came served on a bed of watercress and a creamy paprika mayonnaise. The spice-infused sausage was bursting with classic, Spanish flavours which gave this traditional dish a very unique, yet welcomed twist.
Encased in the blanket of meat, was a slightly runny boiled egg- which was a nice surprise as it kept this often dry starter moist and tasty. Whilst I only had a bite (I made sure it was a big one), the empty plate at the end tells me it was a winner.
When deciding on our main courses, we were slightly stumped. The variety of dishes was impressive, but this just made our decision all the harder (not a bad problem to have, is it?). However, following a recommendation from the hostess, we decided on the Buttermilk Chicken Burger and the 8oz Sirloin Steak with the Blue Cheese sauce.
To start, I must comment on the size of the burger- which was enormous. Rested delicately between two grilled buns, some salad and chipotle mayonnaise, the chicken was incredibly soft and juicy, contrasting beautifully with the crunch of the coating and the slight- kick of the sauce. With the flavours so expertly balanced, the burger didn’t become sickly at any point, which I have found from similar dishes in the past.
I am of the opinion that if a restaurant can’t cook a steak well, there’s a serious problem. I opted for the 8oz Sirloin, rather than the 10oz Rib-eye, because I generally enjoy the tenderness of this cut more. After all, what is worse than a chewy steak?
Armed with an enormous steak-knife, it quickly became apparent that I had little use for it, because I was able to cut through the meat with the side of my fork. No joke. I ordered my sirloin medium, and I can honestly say I’ve never enjoyed a steak more perfectly cooked. Deliciously pink on the inside, and chargrilled on the outside, paired with the sharpness of the blue cheese sauce- it was a beautiful explosion of flavours in my mouth that lasted till the very last bite. Need I say more?
For the final course, I took the advice of the waitress and chose the Salted Caramel Plum Sundae, and what an excellent recommendation it was. To start, the fresh cream on top was one of the best I’ve ever tasted. As my spoon delved deeper, I reached the salted caramel ice cream, which to be honest, reminded me of an Italian gelato I once had in Rome when I was a teenager.
It was fantastically thick and smooth- something you rarely find in restaurants- and is the only ice cream I’ve ever had that actually tasted expensive. Contrasted with the sourness of the plum and the crunch of the honeycomb, a faultless union of tastes and textures was created, and it was absolutely heavenly.
All I can say about the Chocolate Brownie, is that it tasted like Christmas Day. Crunchy on the inside but seductively gooey on the inside, it’s exactly what you’d expect from such an indulgent dessert.
The dish came served with equally-delicious vanilla ice cream, accompanied by hot chocolate sauce which steamed as my friend trickled it onto the plate. I’ve had more chocolate brownies than I care to admit, but this one in particular is most definitely up-there in my list of favourites.
Truthfully, this is one of the best meals I’ve had in years – the setting is lovely, the food is utterly fantastic and the atmosphere is so warm and welcoming and I couldn’t recommend it more highly.
I’d also like to extend a special mention to the staff, who were extremely helpful, friendly and attentive. It made the experience all that more special.
The Anthologist, One St Peter’s Square, Manchester M2 3DE
0161 509 5085