And, according to the Facebook group set up to keep people in touch with what’s going on, not only has the hard work paid off but the venture is soon to be the subject of an ITV feature next January/February.
I went down to have a look recently and, of course, try out the food.
Before it closed, the pub was a popular place for excellent Sunday lunches which always had a wide range of vegetable accompaniments cooked in imaginative ways, but the décor left something to be desired being outdated and a bit dingy.
The first thing to notice is the general brightening up of the place, newly decorated and furnished plus the terrace out the back with its stunning views has been spruced up too…onto the food.
If I list some of the menu items you’ll get the idea of the style of the place – Whitby cod and chips, lasagne, bangers and mash and shortly there’s to be a special which is due to be either hotpot or shepherd’s pie. (Worth noting that there’s gluten-free bread on offer too.)
It’s traditional food, the sort of thing you might cook at home.
We went retro with a prawn cocktails, steak and veggie bangers. The best thing about the meal were the proper chips – all lovely and crisp and the properly cooked veg. It was a homecooked meal – nothing fancy but honest. And cheap.(Under £10 a head)
It’s probably not the sort of place that you’d get the car out and take a drive to just for the food, but then that’s not what this place is about.
The community pub is just that, a place for the local community to get together and enjoy a meal and a drink. Good luck to all involved – I’m certainly looking forward to repeat visits over the summer.
I’ve no way of knowing what sort of mood he was in when he scribbled on the very full wall of fame inside this popular city centre restaurant, but I most definitely had my proper fish and chip head on when I visited for lunch recently.
Found up a dark wood staircase, this place has been serving up to appreciative diners forever, but at some stage between my last visit many years ago with one of the city’s students, and this recent visit, Nash’s (catch phrase “nobody does it batter”) has had quite a refurb and now sports an interior decor which black chandeliers and comfortable seating.
On with the food. Here’s what I found:
Batter: Light and crunchy just as it should be – and not waiting for the fish to grow into it either. No super dense end bit disguising the size of the fish because there’s no need, the portion was just enough.
Fish: I had their traditional haddock. They do offer plenty of other stuff (see menu here) but the trad meal is the haddock and it was a well-cooked plentiful portion although I did spy that an extra large version is also offered.
Chips: As you’d want them to be. Plentiful, a good crisp outside and fluffy inside and black pots on the spuds. Perfectly resistant to the clinging globules of vinegar a good shake showers tem with.
Peas: Served separately but included in the price of the traditional meal these were good and properly dullish in colour. Hot and puddingy.
Tartare: Again served separately and a good helping of the homemade variety.
And all main courses are served with a slice of bread & butter and a pot of tea or coffee included with the price and there’s a bar if something a little stronger’s required.
Verdict: It’s still a family-run business (as it has been for more than 80 years) and has managed to retain that feel about it with relaxed service and unpretentious value for money. Just what The Doctor ordered! Quite possibly.
The kindest thing I can think to say about this experience was that the presentation was pretty impressive – just look at that large, rectangular plate and the obvious attention to detail put into the way everything is displayed.
But it’s a pity the person who spent the time placing each of those potato fingers in such a neat stack hadn’t spotted the fact that just about everything on the plate was burnt, to help them out for the future – that brown done-to-a-crisp glow is usually a bit of a give away.
Anyway we gave it our best shot and here’s what we found.
Batter: When you were a kid did your grandparents ever give you nut brittle? It looked so exciting but, even if your tooth enamel survived the experience, was surprisingly uninteresting. Little reward for effort exerted. Well the memories came flooding back. A solid experience and a challenge to get through, this had something of the heat lamp about it.
Fish: Overcooked to the point of spoiled. Once the barrier batter had been broken through, there was a small chance the fish inside might have survived but it was pretty dry. Such a shame as it looked a nice big portion.
Peas: Too sweet, too small, too smooth and too colourful. Oh dear.
Chips: They may be (called) chips, but they’re not as we know it. Squares of skin-on potato which appeared to have been baked. There was no crispness, just a warm, flaccid thing which managed to be filling without being fulfilling. Maybe a lashing or three of vinegar would have pepped it up but none was on offer.
Verdict: On the plus side, the restaurant serves a really good selection of teas so our pots of peppermint were very welcome. As I’ve mentioned previously on this blog, this venue in The Station building provides a relaxed atmosphere and there’s a lot on the menu to enjoy. Just not the fish and chips going by this experience and at £8.95 it’s far from cheap.
A mobile version of Bury’s Valerie’s Cafe honoured the bacon roll but the star of the show was the amazing “Adoration of the Chip” float complete with giant cone of fries at the front and a full choir belting out their praise for the nation’s favourite deep fried delight.
(It also got everyone in the mood for chips – Liverpool Road’s fish hut seen doing a brisk trade as procession followers grabbed a tray before heading into Deansgate!)
Away from foodie concerns, the procession made for a fantastic afternoon. A clever but completely accessible artwork which celebrated such a wide variety of Manchester communities.
The goths and moshers were there, as were the kids who drive their cars at the back of the Toys R Us car park proudly taking part alongside more traditional forms such as Rose Queens and the former mill workers.
The city was a buzz, the atmosphere reflecting the sunshine – congratulations certainly due to all who made it happen.
Faced with customers’ tightening their financial belts, it would seem there’s two ways a restaurant can go. Some come up with a gimmick – two for ones, all you eat, happy hours, even pay what you like while others get back to basics and serve up the sort of food people actually can be bothered to go out to eat.
It essentially does steak and it does seafood. And it does them in a straightforward, but quality way. The seafood is sourced from sustainable stocks and the steak is “grass fed hormone free beasts sourced from farms who use traditional husbandry methods allowing the animals to mature naturally under stress free conditions.”
Calling in on an unexceptional weekday night we found this stylish city centre venue had a bustling atmosphere with its live pianist and plenty of diners seemingly prepared to splash some cash.
We started with the house platter (£13.95) – a substantial shared plate of chicken which had been skewered on lemongrass so was fragrantly quite strongly infused, fishcakes which were fired up with a chili sauce and lamb kofta’s which had been cooked slightly rare to bring out the flavour.
In the spirit of keeping it simple, I headed into a generous helping of sweet queenie scallops (£11.95) just tossed in garlic butter and parsley with linguine. Pasta as is should be – just a few ingredients to bring up the flavours.
His steak (£13.50) was also what was wanted – well cooked, succulent it even inspiring the description of “melting” to be uttered.
Taken together with some rustic, crispy on the outside chips (which can only serve to remind a person what a chip, as opposed to a fry, really is) this was a the sort of steak and chips that must be in the minds of so many condemned men when they order their last meals.
After such a blow out, dessert wasn’t really at the forefront of our minds so we shared a white and dark chocolate torte which, while it looks very pretty, didn’t completely match up to the simple but well seasoned other courses, there not being much contrast between the two chocolate entities.
But that’s a minor point. What the Blackhouse Grill provided was good food at a reasonable price in an airy and stylish environment.