Friday’s can be fabulous and is as if to push the point I met Leggy early from her office where she’d been dealing with a crisis and hadn’t even had chance for a smear of lippy or pot of tea all afternoon.
“…the chilled- out intro you need at the end of a working week.”
So, because we wanted to catch up on ‘girl talk’ without the boys’ constant interruptions and musings on sport, boxing, birds and other boy banter, we went to Abode earlier where like an act of god they do a ‘Fabulous Friday’ deal of Prosecco and nibbles, all for £19. Lovely, and just the chilled- out intro you need at the end of a working week.
We were dining in the upstairs bit, not the ‘fancypants’ downstairs fine-dining bit. Upstairs is where the chef Bryn Evans (who is also writing a weekly foodie column for us) has taken over the kitchen for culinary superstar Michael Caines.
You have to reckon he’s going to be good, with the endorsement of the chef’s chef, and with a pedigree of his own that includes the Grosvenor (Chester not that one in Torquay), Obsidian as well as working with Michael.
And he is. Really good, with these meals a steal at the current prices. In fact, get in quick before word spreads and this becomes the place to be.
The room is not the best room in town but hosted by maitre-de James Cunningham (who glides happy and gracefully around the room) the vibe is relaxed and attentive, making the most of the space with just a touch of camp glamour.
The prices here are unbelievable for the standard of the food and there is an unbeatable two courses for £10.95 if you eat before 7pm.
The food is the best of British bistro style, with the emphasis on the selecting the crème de la crème of products and seasonal ingredients which shows in some seriously good cooking. In fact, a new Spring menu is on the cards for three-weeks time.
My goats’ cheese terrine to start with was fantastic with each mouthful giving a burst of different flavours. From the chalky goats-cheese tang to shots of pure garlic tickling my palate. There is an unexpected attention to detail and flavours here that could teach some of our more renowned eateries a thing or two.
Leggy’s veggie gnocchi was delicious and buttery with the full flavour of the sage saturating the dish, infusing it with delicious flavours.
Ginger and Dubai tucked into the local meat platter £12.95 which they adored and declared it was big enough (even for these two) to share as lunch meal. Cheshire brisket, piri piri chicken wings local chipolata sausages, black pudding fritters, pork pie, dips and pickles.
I had the Fleetwood Market fish and chips for my mains, because it’s one of the signatures and James said it had been heralded as one of the best in the city. When it came, beautifully presented I was in heaven. The batter was soft, and melt-in the mouth with tender fish that took me back to how fish ‘n’ chips used to taste. It wasn’t the beer-battered hard fishes that seem to have dominated the scene in recent years and it’s worth going here for the trip down memory lane alone.
Ginger had the hanger steak with marrow and hollandaise sauce. Even though he was keen to re-group his rep as a proper man (we all know he’s not come out the closet yet), he felt doing the marrow thing, which comes with this dish, might be a step too far. But subtly done, he pronounced this dish delicious and you don’t need to be a cave man to enjoy it. Simply dipping the rustic chips in the hollandaise sauce is ‘out of this world’.
Leggy and Dubai both went for fish. The first for salmon which she declared a wonderful mouthful of fresh flavours while Dubai’s perfectly pink tuna had him hooked.
Then it was onto to puds which I’ll leave the boys to describe as I’m not a pudding person. In fact, the boys reckoned I was grouchy and grumpy that night, like Dubai with the onset of his nut allergy.
Quite often, especially with women, you hear “I’ll have a pudding instead of a starter.” With that in mind it’s important and our duty to review every course, to cater for all readers. Ok… Chadders!?
Libby had the lemon torté, which wasn’t listed on the menu but recommended by James. It’s made with about 95 eggs. So rich but hard to get into she said. For obvious reasons, Ginger had the ginger parkin. It was very soft and warming, reminding him of bonfire night. A perfect winter, after dinner treat. Dubai had the Lancashire farm brambles crumble with custard and without nuts (that are usually sprinkled over the top). Proper comfort food for £5.50.
It was on into the night, to hook up with Rambo, Turks and Big Arms, all celebrating her birthday a day too early, but that’s another story…
On the I Love’o’meter
We love this cooking and Bryn is our latest chef crush. Go and see him, we’re happy to share the love.
MC Café Bar & Grill, 107 Piccadilly, Manchester M1 2DB
0161 200 5665