The menu includes 10 different sausages, 10 different mashes and 10 different gravies to choose from, which they reckon means a potential of over 1000 different variations of the theme.
We couldn’t resist trying to eat as many as we possibly could to see what works best. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.
Mash Tun is run by Adam Regan, Scott Martin and head chef Nick Moore, who between them have a wealth of experience in hospitality including the kitchens of Michelin star restaurants.
They make their own Fundamentum bread and brew their own beer. And they’re obsessive about sausage and mash.
We asked them to pick their favourite combinations for us to try, and then we set up a kind of sausage-tasting conveyer belt. A bit like wine tasting, but better, because bangers beat beaujolais.
First up is a gently spiced chicken, cumin and chilli sausage, the heat calmed by soothing pea and mint mash. It’s doused in a light, fruity cider, white onion and apple gravy.
Smoked beef brisket sausage is a firm, meaty spiral, like a Cumberland, and one of our favourites. It sits happily on a bed of crushed sweet potato and walnut mash with a peppery Madeira gravy.
Slightly sweet pork and marmalade sausages come with wholegrain mustard and kale mash and more Madeira gravy. The mustard mash packs a punch and is a bit overpowering for us to really appreciate the delicately flavoured sausage, but mustard fans will appreciate the hefty hit.
Rich, gamey venison sausage is paired with colcannon mash and a boozy, slightly sharp redcurrant, port and sage gravy. Classy, much? This is sausage and mash elevated to the realms of fine dining.
Cheese and bacon sausages are served with fragrant wild garlic mash and white sauce with fresh herbs, while porky chipolatas come with an obscenely delicious three cheese mash and a glossy short rib and stout gravy. Its the winning combination at this stage.
But we want to try a vegetarian and vegan option, too, because sausage and mash should be for everyone, not just committed carnivores.
Roasted mushroom sausage works well with a fluffy broad bean mash and an elegant, earthy wild mushroom and white wine gravy.
However, the surprise hit is a fully vegan sausage, crunchy coated and delicious, made with chickpea and lentil. It’s served with a crispy potato skin and spring onion mash with hearty vegetable gravy.
We didn’t expect it to be the star of the menu, but most of us agree it is.
And in fact all the mash variations can be made vegan, our server tells us, apart from the three cheese version.
The kitchen is committed to ethical cookery, leaving as little waste as possible, too. Beer waste goes into the stout gravy, and potato skins that would otherwise be destined for the bin go into the mash.
Anything that can be repurposed is. Even the wild garlic is hand foraged locally in Greater Manchester.
The sausages are currently supplied locally by the Butchers Quarter in the Northern Quarter, the chef tells us, to in-house recipes. But there is talk of introducing a butchery area to the restaurant so they can prepare their own sausage recipes in-house.
Well played, Mash Tun. Sausage and mash just hit new heights. Now the only question is: which combo will you try first?