Under the railway arches on Whitworth Street is where you will find the well-oiled machine that is Gorilla.
There are two floors of bustling bar and restaurant, with a further 700 capacity live venue/ club space at the back. Industrial meets American diner and beautifully maintained. The place is always bursting with customers. A cool mixed crowd streams in throughout the day for breakfasts, brunch, burgers, drinks and entertainment.
I’ve only ever sat downstairs where the proximity of your neighbours sometimes prevents too much airing of washing. On this occasion we were marched upstairs and I have to say I much prefer it up here. You get a real sense of being under the arches, the little booths especially are cosy, great for people watching and catching up on gossip. We drank Old Fashioned cocktails (£8.50) as we looked at the menus and listened to some tunes. It was actually quite loud but due to the number of diners it felt like one big party. Great fun and only one o’clock.
I was excited about the starters. I haven’t eaten bread & dripping (£5) since I was a kid so it had to be done. Although we ate ours cold and spread on bread, Gorilla serve their beef dripping hot. Either way the flavour’s the same – naughty, salty, Neanderthal meatiness. Theirs is a rich gravy, in which to dip their beautiful house-baked sourdough. It was accompanied by grilled artichokes (£4) with lemon, basil, garlic and chilli in an attempt to get one of our five a day that didn’t clog up the arteries. Together they actually worked, and we loved both.
The choice of wines wasn’t as extensive as the choice or cocktails or gins but covered most bases. The Naked Grape Riesling (£5.80 175ml) probably wasn’t the wisest choice with our starters. It didn’t taste that typical of the grape, lacking some of the sweet aromatic characteristics I’ve tasted before. Vina Ederra Rioja Crianza (£5.50 175ml) was much better, a fruity rioja that was not too heavy and delicious with our main courses.
This week it’s another topside of beef (£13.50) and again it’s a good one. I had mine pink and my companion ordered his medium. Both were cooked perfectly. I don’t know what makes one Yorkshire pudding so much better than another, but this one was lovely, crisp and light. Actually I do know, it’s the gravy you soak it in. I’m guessing it’s made from the same beef dripping and was easily the best gravy of the entire competition so far. Unfortunate then that the roast potatoes let the plate down. They weren’t bad, but they weren’t great. No crunchy outside or fluffy inside, just a bit meh. The rest of the veg was good with nice green beans, broccoli, and some creamy buttery mash.
Portion size here is huge so we shared a dessert. Steamed chocolate pudding & custard (£4.50) was decent but a lighter sponge than I would have imagined for a pudding. And it was severely lacking in custard – there was about a teaspoon on the plate.
Gorilla was probably the liveliest and most fun place we’ve reviewed in our battle of the Sunday roasts. Service from Hannah was friendly and warm, the chefs delivering the food were enthusiastic and passionate, and the food itself pretty darn good. Shame about the roasties.