12 hours in COMMON: Menu Review
Spending 12 hours in Common and eating all my meals there with 3 Manchester creatives for company during the day.
By Lee Isherwood | July 27th '15
Share this story
After receiving a few separate emails about the newly arranged food offering in Common from breakfast to lunch and their new evening menu it seemed highly appropriate to suggest keeping it simple, why not eat all my meals there for a day. Spending 12 hours in a bar/restaurant eating alone tho is not ideal. After reading yet another article about how terrible our newly elected but "same old same old" government was, and in particular their policies, or lack there of, towards the arts and culture sector I thought to myself, I know loads of "starving artists" and "struggling creatives" who'd love a free meal. Cue breakfast and WithLove founder & all round creative Chris Roberts. WithLove travel the country photographing & interviewing passionate makers from jeans to pottery, motorbikes and everything in-between. First off we arranged to meet at 9am. Common opens at 10am. Not a great start by me there! First through the door and already an hour in to our chat we order Lazy Scotch Egg: sausage, sourdough and poached egg (I added spinach) and Smashed Avocado with grilled tomatoes on sourdough. Both of us were more than happy with our choices and importantly the portion sizes for 10am being spot on, too much bread would have killed it for me. Post savoury I couldn't help myself and dived in for a lavender salted chocolate truffle. After much discussion on the array of frankly top of the range coffee machines and the variations available there in we had a short black and a single origin filter. After what would probably be considered an excessive breakfast in terms of time spent I actually didn't have that long to wait until lunch. 1pm signals the arrival of Janice Stainton, a freelance Brand Strategist working in and around Manchester. Rather appropriately for this all round review, and of course by design not happen chance, Janice is vegetarian giving us the perfect opportunity to test out Common's veggie credentials. We go for Korean Fried Tofu, Humous with Sourdough, Falafel & Halloumi Salad and... Salt & Pepper Squid. I must admit I did really fancy the squid so I cheated a little. All the dishes were great. The only thing I would say is another veggie option on the lunch menu small plates would be a good addition, currently available is also Cauliflower Cheese Croquettes which doesn't really go with Korean Fired Tofu. That was our only thought and although my companion cannot vouch for it the squid was really tasty. 6pm came around pretty quickly, after a few chance meetings with various creatives who happened upon Common in the afternoon it was time for dinner. My date for the evening segment of the 12 hours was artist, illustrator and brutalist mural painter Paul "Him" Hallows. After spending the last 3 days outside painting Font's walls he was well adorned in a patina of paint splatter. Not ideal first date attire but hey, he's an artist. In the evening for this new menu Common have moved table service into the adjoining room (not the one with the bar) to create more of a dining environment and to a degree split the space which worked and will work really well. I'd be told by a reliable source that the Hanger Steak & Fries with anchovy butter was the one to go for. Paul had the same although Common is more than owning its own on the burger front so it was a close call. Hanger Steak is a favourite of mine and is starting to pop up here and there on menus, prized for it's flavour it's also renowned a butchers favourite, so that tells you all you need to know. The anchovy butter makes this dish ownable to Common and is a brilliant addition. We went for Mikkeller beers to accompany the steaks. Recently added as a permanent addition to Commons taps whichever they have on it has to be any ale drinkers first choice and especially to accompany the steak or burger. All in all the idea of staying for 12 hours in a bar/restaurant and eating all 3 meals there turned out to be a great idea. I would recommend giving it a go at Common, but if you don't fancy that then pick a meal time and head down.