Finding a hidden gem in a city which has an abundance of bars and restaurants is no easy feat, but I think I’ve just discovered a treasure chest.
The problem with hidden gems is that they never stay hidden for long. But when they are as good as Albatross & Arnold, I can’t possibly keep it to myself. So let’s call it an early Christmas gift from me to you. But please don’t tell anyone.
You’ll find it at The Range, Manchester’s latest premium sporting experience which features state-of-the-art golf simulation.
Playing is by no means compulsory. But should you find yourself in the vicinity of the impressive greens, you might find the fresh smell of pine a little hard to resist.
Despite being no Fred Couples, I found taking a couple of swings was perfect fore-play for the feast which awaited us.
Albatross & Arnold is a separate entity, a plush and opulent escape on the first floor with ambient lighting, plush seating and lots of art deco.
We allowed ourselves to sink into the buttery soft seating as we were taken under the wing of Aiga, just one of many personable and passionate servers at Albatross & Arnold.
We sipped on tumblers of liquid gold, cleverly concocted by Josh, the master of alchemy behind the bar. Many of the cocktails are unique to Albatross & Arnold, and thought up by the magic makers themselves. A charming characteristic which further proves their passion to create an experience unlike any other.
The menu is small yet perfectly formed. A veritable feast of small plates inspired by the British Isles, each one is cleverly thought out and paired with one of the many wines on offer.
To start, we enjoyed Pan Roasted Scallops, served with a black pudding crumb, cauliflower puree and a light drizzle of lemon oil.
The scallops were done to pillowy soft perfection. Sumptuous and pleasing to the palette, they tip the scales into total delight when teamed with its rich accompaniments.
Next, Lancashire Bon Bons. Softly breaded balls of oozing molten blue cheese, paired with shards of crisp salad, crunchy walnuts and sweet kiss of beetroot puree. A total winner of a dish. Order two lots. Trust me. You won’t want to share.
The Heritage Tomato and Feta Salad added a welcomed freshness to our first course, tossed in a herb dressing with micro basil. If a salad could ever be described as moreish, this plateful was it.
Moving on to the second course, we were treated to a trio of meat-based plates. The Whiskey Glazed Pork Belly was a decadent dish, crisped to perfection whilst still maintaining a juicy bite of pork.
The Lamb Cutlets, coated with a smoky, sweet flavour and served with a pistachio and sage crumb, completely stole the show. The meat was tender, sumptuous and glistening with a wickedly sweet glaze. Eye-lollingly good. Don’t be discouraged from picking up the bone and gnawing on it like an animal to finish it off. It somehow tastes even better that way.
Albratross & Arnold is offering something a little different to what Mancunians have grown accustomed to in recent years. With innovative and delicious food comes a team of passionate individuals, eager to create an experience alongside its original concept of advanced sporting practice.
The excitement and knowledge behind everything which leaves the kitchen or is carried from the bar is infectious, and sure to – ahem – putt a smile on your face.
If you’re looking for indulgence with a difference, I can’t possibly recommend Albatross & Arnold highly enough. Find it in Spinningfields and treat yourself to a fabulous lunch offering, a post-work tipple or an evening that’s worlds away from everyday reality.
It’s a total hole in one.
Leftbank, Spinningfields, Manchester M3 3AN