So on a wet, windy night where better to go than a cosy pub with a roaring real fire and hearty food to fend off the weather.
“This is not a gastro pub… it’s a proper pub that does food.”
Ginger, Leggy and I hotfooted it to the OxNoble. This is not a gastro pub, our genial host Alex was keen to point out. It’s a proper pub that does food.
It’s named not after a sort of cow, but actually a potato and dates back to 1804 when potatoes were shipped in by the nearby canal. Known for a while as the Ox, Alex is keen it goes back to its Oxnoble name in honour of the spud and Potato Wharf where this cosy inn nestles. He has even tried to get the Oxnoble to serve but like the Dodo, the Oxnoble is extinct – it is no more, it is a dead potato.
Like everywhere else they were in the middle of switching to a Christmas menu which they will be serving from now until the big day but just for us they let us choose from their normal menu where they have a very reasonable offer of 2 courses for £10, ideal for when everyone’s skint in January. If you’re not in time for the offer it’s still very reasonable with starters from £5.95 and mains from £10.95.
They pride themselves on using local produce and Alex recommended the pies, they offer two homemade pies daily.
The chef is Richard Davies who has been in residence there for two years and has introduced some classic British dishes including the Widgeon (duck to you and me).
Ginger dived into the Widgeon starter which he pronounced very ducky and scrummy. I chose chicken liver parfait which was gorgeously smooth and tasty, I ordered more Brioche as you never seem to get enough in any restaurant and Leggy opted for the Goats Cheese, Leek and Wild Mushroom Terrine, which she pronounced delicious.
The girls stuck to a reasonably priced Prosseco which slipped down a little too easily and Ginger indulged himself in Guinness and red wine.
The mains arrived and it was clear that Leggy had hit the jackpot with a Cheese and Onion homemade pie. Although she was reluctant to share, we all tasted a bit and it was the hit of the meal. Flaky, buttery pastry with a tangy, cheesy filling that made the world a better place – we had a scrap over the last fork-ful.
Ginger had the mixed grill, because he’s a man and we made him. This is like an oversized fry-up, with heaps of meat, eggs and the kind of thing you fantasize about when you’re deeply hungover. There was a moment when it looked like they might not have brown sauce, but the ever helpful staff found some.
Ginger felt there was something missing from the mixed grill (a defribulator?) – it was pleasant he said but not one to rave about.
My duck, however was fantastic and tasty. Not usually quackers about duck, this was perfectly cooked with subtle flavours popping on my tongue.
Although we were full it was onto dessert which we couldn’t do justice to. We tried the Chocolate Torte and a trio of Lancashire cheeses. Both decent but nothing to write home about or good enough to go in just for the dessert course. It’s definitely the hearty dishes that are the forte at The Oxnoble and they definately take their food seriously.
Ginge didn’t fancy anything sweet (he’s sweet enough) he wanted to finish the evening with a whiskey. Alex surprised him with an 18 year old Glenmorangie that he sipped in his element by the fire. “That’s how you finish off a night in the pub and you don’t spoil it with ice or mixer. Cheers!” he said after his first gulp of the single malt Scotch.
Then it was off out to brave the weather and catch up with the Gay, but that’s another story.
On the I Love’o’meter
We will be back for a second date after Christmas.
The Oxnoble, 71 Liverpool Road (Castlefield), Manchester M3 4NQ
0161 839 7760