This week The MEN launched their Big Night out Offer, if you haven’t heard about it yet once a month The MEN are partnering with some of the best restaurants in Manchester so you can dine in style at a fraction of the cost. I had the pleasure of attending their first ever event this month held at Artisan in Spinningfields.
I’m not sure why but I was yet to eat in Artisan, it was only ever somewhere I usually stopped for a drink on a Saturday or a Friday spot after work. With Manchester hosting an array of great restaurants Artisan kind of fell under my radar but it won’t be hiding there any longer, I will definitely be going back and here’s why.
Set in a vast 12,000 square foot, semi-industrial space on the first floor of The Avenue Artisan is a show stopper when it comes to rustic interior. Think of an artsy New York loft throw in a burning fire and a live DJ and you pretty much have a fantastic weekend location.
But I wasn’t here to admire the view it was all about the food. We had a condensed version of the usual menu and there was definitely something for everyone and for £29.95 for 3 courses and two drinks can you complain? Here were the choices:
Prosciutto & watermelon salad, beetroot dressing
Baked camembert, rustic potato crisps
Green asparagus, broccomole dip & radish
1/2 chicken roasted with garlic & herbs, French fries
8oz ribeye, French fries, roast garlic, herb sauce & summer greens
Salmon en papillote, Thai green curry, summer greens & wild rice
Heritage tomato flatbread, mozzarella, red onion, garlic, rosemary oil with seasonal leaf salad, lemon dressing
Vanilla, yoghurt and honey mousse with fresh berries and pistachio
Chocolate and hazelnut brownie with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce
Strawberries with whipped lemon curd crème fraiche
175ml glass of wine (selection TBC)
Haig Club Espresso Martini or Haig Clubman & cola after dinner
Here’s what we thought:
Now I apologise for the picture quality it was super dark and really difficult to capture. I could have turned on the flash yes but Jon gets embarrassed! Men Eh 😉
To start I opted for the Camembert not very healthy I know but can you honestly resist melt in your mouth cheese on a freezing November night I think not.
Jon went for Prosciutto & watermelon salad, beetroot dressing I think he may have been a little upset I got to the Camembert first.
The camembert is one of Artisan’s top starters and always a favourite. Baked in Artisan’s fire oven it was served with homemade crisps, a nice change I thought. It was so delicious and indulgent and when the little cloves of garlic hit my taste buds I was in cheesy garlic heaven, It was a great start to the evening.
Now Jon and I were pleasantly surprised at the Watermelon salad it was delicious. A melon starter reminds me of old school dinner functions where you cram into an event hall for an awards ceremony and you have to have it because it’s that or tiramisu (I’m not a fan clearly). This melon starter couldn’t be further from that dreadful memory It was so refreshing and tasty the beetroot went perfectly with the watermelon both complimenting the other wonderfully.
Now, this I was excited for. I had been thinking about the steak all day mainly because it came with french fries. French fries are my weakness I love their little crunchy taste. Especially as I knew that they would be smothered in a roast garlic, herb sauce.
Jon went for the 1/2 chicken roasted with garlic & herbs, French fries. Tasty I thought but it’s not a steak.
Boy, was I wrong Jon’s chicken was AMAZING! The garlic and herbs mixed with the chicken just melted in your mouth. It was a testament to how un-boring a chicken can actually be if you get it right! This will be my go to for when I head back, I was left wanting so much more. I also want to incorporate these flavours if I ever get to the stage of making a roast dinner, it’s the kind of chicken my grandchildren will tell there’s about in the far far far far ( you get the picture) distant future.
Now my steak, unfortunately, I was really really disappointed. I asked for medium rare it came rare it was so tough I know you get that anyway as its a fatty steak choice but the cut just wasn’t great I had more lines of fat running through it than meat. The sauce was ok but personally, I felt far too sweet. My taste buds didn’t appreciate the combination at all and sadly it was cold the steak had lost its heat by the time it arrived at the table. Again a personal preference but I like my food to be hot when it arrives. I’m that person that downs a scorching tea just made in 2.5 seconds and if its left I microwave it till it’s practically steamed away. I got my fries though I guess.
All was forgotten by desserts I was a red wine down and I was thoroughly looking forward to my dessert. I had, of course, the Chocolate and hazelnut brownie and chocolate sauce no ice cream for me, it makes me horrifically ill. Jon had the Strawberries with whipped lemon curd crème fraiche.
Both deserts were fantastic the brownie was delicious it was soft and gooey and the chocolate sauce was a lovely treat. It was a perfect finish to the evening the chocolatey goodness stayed with my right up until my nightcap.
I can’t comment too much on Jon’s dessert he’s a huge fan of lemon curd, myself not so much. So I only had a small taste it was pleasant but no way compared to the brownie. One suggestion though he had to spend most his time chopping the heads of the strawberries. I feel if they were off already you’d have a better chance of getting them mixed up in the lemon curd and spend more time enjoying your dessert.
We both finished with an Espresso Martini as we happily looked at the price of the bill. On a usual night an evening like that would push you well over the £100 mark and for £59.90 we really could not complain. I’d have no hesitations recommending Artisan to anyone the staff were great the ambiance was great and the food apart from the steak was great. It was fantastic value for money and I can’t wait to try the next location. Thanks, MEN!