Chef Andrew Nutter’s gastropub The Bird at Birtle celebrated its fifth birthday this week, and it’s easy to see why it’s so popular.
The venue, which made the Michelin Guide 2021, was established in 2016 when the refurbishment of The Bird Ith Hand project was undertaken by local restaurateurs, the Nutter family.
After the successful growth of the family’s first restaurant – the multi-award-winning Nutters Restaurant – they were keen to use their knowledge and experience to develop a gastropub that the whole family could enjoy.
The downstairs bar is classy but comfortable, open and relaxed with a range of cask ales and prosecco on tap, while the stylish upstairs dining room has a balcony and fell views.
And though it feels relaxed, the menu is certainly not your average pub grub.
Our crispy goats’ cheese bonbon starter (£6.50) is gloriously golden, served with seasonal asparagus and punchy fennel salad.
The creamy, garlicky Caesar dressing brings the whole thing together nicely.
A salmon starter (£7.50) sees the fish cured with treacle and soy before being seared, giving it a delicious depth of flavour, the succulent fillet both sweet and salty.
It’s served on a bed of fresh, crunchy chilli pickled cucumber ribbons offering a delicate heat, with a peppery watercress and rocket salad.
It’s an impressive start to lunch, and the dishes look pretty as a picture, too.
Onto mains, and a couple of sensational fish dishes.
A crisp-skinned pan-fried fillet of sea bass from the specials menu (£18.50) comes with crushed new potatoes and a delicate crayfish butter sauce, turbocharged thanks to the addition of spicy, smoky chorizo.
A beautifully flaky cod fillet (£19.50), meanwhile, has been marinated in miso and mirin, harmonious marriage of sweet and savoury.
It’s served with sautéed sesame greens, and the richest, glossiest chilli and soy noodles for addictive umami hit.
These dishes show some serious old-school skills in the kitchen as well as creative flair.
The menu also includes a selection of steaks as well as some pub-style classics – cheese and onion pie with hand-cut chips and homemade beans (£14.50), perhaps, or Cumberland sausage ring with creamy mash and red onion gravy (£13).
There’s also a traditional, family-friendly Sunday lunch option, with sirloin of beef, chicken, fish or slow-cooked pork belly served with all the trimmings.
Our desserts are delightful and beautifully presented with a smattering of colourful summer berries which make you instinctively want to reach for your phone to take a snap.
Creamy creme brûlée, made with seasonal rhubarb, is silky smooth, the crisp, caramelised sugar top shattering pleasingly under the tap of a spoon.
It’s got the nostalgic vibe of rhubarb and custard and comes with two light, lemony shortbread biscuits.
White chocolate cheesecake is sweet without being sickly, with shards of nut brittle adding texture and crunch.
And who can resist an espresso martini? Especially when they’re as well made as this.
Drinks include some interesting wines picked to pair with the food as well as regularly changing cask ales and beers from local breweries.
Comfortable, relaxed and friendly, serving classic dishes with a modern touch – it’s no wonder The Bird at Birtle continues to impress.
The Bird at Birtle is at 239 Bury And Rochdale Old Rd, Birtle, OL10 4BQ. Find out more here.