Restaurant at 54, Glossop

After eating (yet another) fantastic meal at this place, I realised I’ve never really done a proper review of Restaurant at 54.

Not sure why – perhaps because it’s on my doorstep and I like to eat there without the pressure of writing it up for work – or maybe it’s simply that I keep forgetting to take the pictures before the food is devoured.

Either way, it doesn’t seem fair not to spread the word about this little gem so I’m putting it right.

The restaurant has been operating for nearly a year now and is the sort of neighbourhood eaterie everyone wants in their locality – well-priced simple cooking with friendly service.

(They also do regular special nights with set menus – a recent fish and garden five courser being particularly memorable.)

Plus the menus change regularly and aren’t overly long so avoiding menu fatigue for us regulars!
Last night’s meal was typical of what’s on offer for the midweek special (two courses £10.95/3 courses £13.95 per person with complimentary glass of house wine).
To start I enjoyed a smoked haddock and mussel chowder while he tucked into some succulent sausages and a poached egg. Nothing fancy there but well-cooked, well-presented fare.

Similarly the main course of hake with a creamy prawn sauce (mine) and pork loin for him demonstrated the care the chefs take here – everything is perfectly done, the meat seems rested and the fish is always at that flaked stage, never over cooked.
The sauces tend to be fairly full-on – powerful in their stance but, because they’re served with a selection of plainly cooked veg, they aren’t overpowering.

The front of house is also worth a mention for its friendly and relaxed service too and what more can I say – I like it and if you’re ever in Glossop, give it a try and let me know what you think.

Restaurant at 54 is at 54 High Street West, Glossop. 01457 861054.

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links for 2009-04-29

Hell’s Kitchen final links

  • Today in The Guardian I came face to face with a new term created for men who know their bouillon from their brisket: the gastrosexual. It’s a term with the potential to the turn the stomachs (mind the pun) of loutish male chauvinists and feminists alike. Like the metrosexual, gastrosexuals are men who are, I bite my tongue as I say this, in touch with their feminine side. Oh, did I say that like metrosexuals, gastrosexuals can only be men?
  • His aphorisms, which he delivers with the same slow deliberation you imagine him applying to his signature "truffled parsley soup with poached eggs", range from the profound ("To reach great heights, you have to find great depths within yourself") to the baffling ("A tree without roots is a piece of wood. A cricket bat with roots is only a tree.") and the deranged ("I need my toast, I need my toast, I need my toast. Toast, toast, toast, toast.")
  • The former Dynasty star received just 16 days' training from chef Marco Pierre White before going on to win the competition.
    Footage Courtesy of ITV1

Healthy eating award for Indian

News just in – Manchester vegetarian Indian restaurant Lily’s is celebrating winning a NHS Healthy Food Silver Award.

Family run Lily’s in Ashton specialises in traditional Indian vegetarian without the use of artificial colourings.

Prital Sachdev, who runs Lily’s along with his mother Jayshree said: “We are thrilled to win this award – it’s great that our cooking is recognised as being something which is not only tasty, but is also a healthy option. Our menus contain a wide range of fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables and flavours are very important to us. Cooking methods such as using a clay oven and stir frying maximise taste but are also healthy.”

Lily’s sits alongside Indian grocery specialist, ASM – a well established business and winner of the Outstanding Contribution to Food and Drink at last year’s Tameside Food and Drink Festival.

Proprietor of Lily’s and ASM, Purshottam Sachdev, was recognised for growing ASM from a corner shop in 1972 to a thriving grocery empire at the heart of the local community. Lily’s, named after Purshottam’s late wife, is the 88 year olds most recent venture and some of the recipes used today are his wife’s original recipes – a closely guarded family secret.

Lily’s is open everyday except Tuesday and serves food from 11am to 8pm, closing at 7pm on Sunday.

links for 2009-04-25

Twitter success for Manchester food folk

Manchester’s foodie types are finding online success by using social media platform Twitter to cook up a treat.

There’s been a noticeable bubble of activity on the micro-blogging service from the city’s restaurateurs and chef Simon Rimmer is now the city’s “most followed” person in Manchester.

For those not familiar with the service, Twitter users are “followed” by other users who sign up to see their regular 140 character updates known as “tweets” and engage in online conversations.

No 1 Simon, has amassed more than 7,000 followers in just three months of activity with updates about his Cheshire eaterie Earl and his ready replies to questions from other others.

Earlier this week at @simonrim he reveals information about how he is currently in hospital for an operation to his leg, engages in some foodie banter and posts jokes such as “2 cannibals eating a clown, one says to the other ‘does this taste funny to you’?”

He’s not the only one who hoping tweets will prove tasty. Another of Manchester’s twitterati Lisa Tse of the Northern Quarter’s Sweet Mandarin restaurant agrees.

In the months she has been tweeting, Lisa has amassed more than 5,000 followers and is ranked the city’s 21st.

Lisa provides a very individualised service at @sweetmandarin with her food tips, replies to user questions and even cookery lessons from her trusty Blackberry.

She explains: “A few clients encouraged me to join Twitter. I already was a FACEBOOK myspace and blogger fan so why not! I joined early Feb 2009. I have never looked back since!

“Twitter is fun and has helped me connect with the community and clients. It has helped business in giving Sweet Mandarin a voice to tell people about our events, special offers and cookery school. I am also happy to answer any foodie and cooking questions and love to just natter or Twitter the day away…its like getting an insight into the world of Sweet Mandarin – and has been so amazing when Twitterers visit us!”

Some more of the region’s top chefs are just getting started. The award-winning former Harvey Nichols chef Alison Seagrave is using Twitter to engage with online users following her moves to start a new patisserie which is due to open at the end of the month in Bury.

Although @yourmacaroon only has a few followers at the moment but as she explained: “I have been really busy last couple of weeks finishing at HN (Harvey Nichols)but now 100% focused on Macaroon and tweeting updates more often.”

Here’s a couple of other north west foodie favourites from my follow list;

@ItsaNingThing the Malaysian restaurant is following in the Northern Quarter footsteps with regular tweets. So far it has tended to stick to information about the opening times, events and menu.

@HelsbyArms HelsbyArms’ Carole Currie at the Cheshire pub provides regular updates about life in the kitchen, special offers and menu items as well as wider issues such as the MPs Early Day Motion for Government assistance.

And I’m also around @foodiesarah so do tweet me if you come across any more.

Dinner from the bin?

In a quest to cut down on food waste, one (soon to be relocating) Manchester blogger believes he has found the answer – eat for free from bins.

At the blog PhillyHarper.com he reveals details about raids on supermarket bins: “In one night we bagged hot cross buns, luxury waffles, hot chocolate, 7 pizzas (out of around 30 available), loaves of bread, orange juice, crumpets, biscuits, yoghurt bars and chocolate. There was more food available than we could comfortably carry but it was clear that we weren’t the only people taking free food from the supermarkets, so we left some for others to take home too.

“We got straight home and a vegetable pizza with taste the difference orange juice then onto hot chocolate for dessert. Remember, these aren’t bins we’re taking food from, they’re clearance isles where everything is free.”

An extreme solution or common sense?

You can read the full blog post here.

Waste haters launch food loving initiative

chef Nutter on Twitpic Squashy tomatoes, stale bread and dried out cheese? These aren’t items to be condemned to the bin, they’re ingredients to start up a whole new dish according to top chef Andrew Nutter.

Addressing the launch of the Love Food Hate Waste initiative in Manchester this afternoon, Andrew showed an audience how becoming more thrifty could lead to exciting food while saving the pennies.

He said: “Just because that tomato is a bit squidgy doesn’t mean you have to throw it away – it’s all about having food knowledge.

“People often buy things in these ‘two for one’ offers that they’ve no chance of using. If you have too much of something, then freeze it, that’s what the freezer is for.”

During the event at Palace Hotel, Andrew gave a demonstration in which he created a romantic meal of seared salmon with a rarebit topping and then turned it onto a fishcake. (Recipes for this and other leftover makeovers here).

See him in action via this video.

The demonstration kicked off the national campaign which sets out to help consumers cut back on the £10bn worth of food thrown out from UK homes each year.

But the problem doesn’t just lie with individuals and Manchester’s Lord Mayor Cllr Mavis Smitheman pointed out.

Resplendent in her red hair for St George’s Day she revealed that the city council would be reviewing its policies on food waste.
Share photos on twitter with Twitpic
She said: “We are going to address what the city council do. We have all got a duty, and not just in our personal lives but in our work places, to address this issue.”

Love Food Hate Waste also announced its sponsorship of the Manchester Food and Drink Festival which will run in the city from October 1- 12.

Festival director Siobhan Hanley said: “We’re excited about our new partnership with Love Food Hate Waste as it ties in so well with our major theme this year of sustainability and our own aims to become a more environmentally aware organisation.”