20-04-2015-Urban Cookhouse, Manchester

It’s a long time since my Pescatarian friend and I have eaten out. It’s actually a long time since we did anything together. We both lost a parent within a week, and the associated issues were a little too difficult for us to deal with, resulting in a parting of the ways. These things happen, but I have always been a great believer in the fact that bridges shouldn’t be burnt, so when our paths Ÿ??accidentlyŸ? crossed recently and the possibility of going out one night for a meal arose, I was certainly happy to consider it. Consider it I did, and the results of that consideration can be seen below! Having got the difficult decision out of the way Ÿ?? the fact that we were going to meet up again, all that was left to do was to decide where we were going to go. I was aware that a new venue had very recently opened on the outskirts of The Village called Urban Cookhouse. It is located at 54 Princess Street, Manchester M1 6HS, and can be Ÿ??looked atŸ? by typing in http://www.urbancookhouse.co.uk . It really is just across the road from The Village! I checked out the menu online, and was happy that there was more than enough choice even to keep a Pescatarian happy! So, the decision was made. We had already picked a date, and a meeting time, so all I had to do was make an appropriate booking. This was done online without fuss, leaving nothing else to worry about except an outfit and a slightly damaged relationship that needed a bit of TLC. We were going on a Wednesday, so I picked out a nice outfit based around a bit of purple and silver, nipped into Concord as always for a quick drink, and then ventured forth to meet my friend and proceed to the Cookhouse. I have to admit I was apprehensive, but that had nothing to do with the food side of things. We met, we smiled, we exchanged kisses, and we melted. Nothing had changed! Let’s hope the Restaurant doesn’t let us down. We parked the car right outside, and went in through the front door, where you immediately have to climb up a few steps to the raised level of the venue. It’s very new, so obviously, everything inside is very new. And clean. It really is a smart place. There is a long bar and seating area into which you first walk, and then behind that there is a dining area, with an open kitchen at the rear of the Restaurant. There were about 15 Ÿ?? 20 other people in Ÿ?? all of whom were eating. I do believe you can go in for just a drink, but nobody had. We were shown to our table, offered drinks, and given menus. We ordered a wine and a diet coke, and began the unenviable task of choosing food. It wasn’t actually as difficult as we thought. The menu was varied and interesting, and the only thing that delayed us was the fact that we were sharing one pair of Primarni glasses! This old age thing is getting worse. A Girl can’t even read a menu without glasses nowadays! The glasses were passed to and fro, and options were discussed, eventually resulting in us being able to place an order with our patient waiter. I describe him as patient, due to the fact that it was only on his third visit to the table that we were able to furnish him with the facts he required to enable the Chef to prepare us a meal. I had been totally seduced by the offer of Scallops with black pudding crumble, pea puree, and foam, whilst the Pesco fell in love with the idea of Mushroom Parfait with bruleed pear chutney and chargrilled rye bread. Our starters were served in good time, and for the first time all evening, we stopped talking. Five minutes, and two empty plates later, we were at it again. Talking I mean. No problems so far Ÿ?? the starters were great. Next was the main course. The fish eater had decided that Sea Bream served with coconut rice, tom yum sauce, lime foam, and a crab spring roll might be nice. It was! Meanwhile, I had lost my heart completely to the Pork Belly, which came with roasted apple Ÿ?? an apple that had been scooped out and filled with raisin puree and roasted, fondant potatoes, and cider gel. As I’m sure you could have guessed, we added a side order of chunky chips, just to prove that we could. And chunky they were! They were more like roast potatoes than chips. Once again, the nattering subsided, this time for longer, but we both didn’t take too long in providing our waiter with two more empty plates to take back to the chef. We had another couple of drinks along with our meal, and thoroughly enjoyed our chat and our look around this new and interesting place. It is themed on the old warehouse type of things, with surface run pipework and electrics, and walls cladded with galvanised corrugated sheeting, and yet it remains modern looking as well. Certainly pleasant surroundings to sit in and have a bite to eat. We were served by a waiter and a waitress, depending on who was free, but both were friendly and smiley, and certainly didn’t have any obvious issues with who or what I was. I think they were a bit taken aback by the fact that they had a Pescatarian sat at the table, but then who wouldn’t be? I’ve tried to pad things out a little, but we all know that the inevitable will eventually happen. We all know that at some point in the evening following the removal of empty main course plates, our table will be approached by a representative of the Restaurant owners trying to tempt us with things we shouldn’t have. Sometimes we are strong and manage to resist all temptation of such things, other times we are less strong and fall foul of their tempting offers. This time we fell well and truly foul. Boy, did we fall foul! To make matters worse, we both fell for the same trick. The same sticky, calorie ridden temptation appealed to both our inner weaknesses, and before we knew it we were sat at the table staring down the barrels of two Caramel Trios Ÿ?? honeycomb cr€—me brulee, liquid popcorn, and ras el hanout caramel. For the purpose of completeness, I should briefly describe what this dessert consists of, but I’m actually not going to! If you want to know, you can damn well go, order some, and go through the same mental turmoil I had to go through. I’m happy to go to these places, and I’m happy to write a word or two about them, but I think from time to time, it’s only fair that you should risk your own figures and well being. Needless to say it was to die for, and by the end of the meal there were two happy well fed people sat purring at each other. I did visit the Ladies to powder my nose, and can report that they are beautifully set out Ÿ?? but as I pointed out, they are new, so this probably helped to make them look particularly good. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal, and our peacemaking continued onwards as we left to go for a quiet drink elsewhere, so we’ll see how that went in a later Blog no doubt. So all I have to do now with regard to Urban Cookhouse, is answer the following three questions: Is it TV friendly? Yes. But that close to The Village, it would be hard faced not to be! Would I go again? I’m sure I will. Value for money? The meal and drinks described above cost a total of ô?85-00 including an adequate tip. Throw in a bit of peacemaking at the same time, and I reckon that that is more than good value. Only you can decide.