May 27th, 2014

Front Runner For Sunday Roasts

By Restaurants of Manchester

Front Runner For Sunday Roasts

"On a weekend when the Manchester 10k run was taking part, we thought it wiser to avoid any of this athletic lark and instead head out for a Sunday roast, doing in a bit of extremely tiring 10k spectating on the way. Sadly, when considering places to find a quality Sunday roast, ideas were slightly less common than the number of runners on the streets of Manchester.

Luckily for us, Grill On The Alley who have been serving fine steaks and generally good quality dishes for many a year now, have recently revamped their Sunday Lunch menu and invited us down to sample the new Sunday offerings. Just after 2pm we ventured through their doors with as much enthusiasm as a 10k'er starting their race. It's fair to say that a Sunday roast isn't something which instantly comes to mind when considering this long standing Manchester favourite.

We were led down to the slightly dark and moody basement, where our table awaited, and were sat in the slightly industrial, rustic yet warm dining area, with walls adorned with images of familiar Manchester Landmarks. Our enthusiastic waitress Imogen talked us through the menu recommending some of her personal favourites, along with the Sunday dishes, before leaving us to peruse the menu.

It felt only apt to toast the victorious runners who had filled the dining room, so we opted to start our lunch time dining with a couple of cocktails; an Sloe Gin Crush (£7) and a Chamomile Martini (£6.50) ordered on the back of Imogen's recommendation. Standards were very high, with perfectly balanced flavours, great presentation, and the use of high end premium spirits across the board, as you'd expect from a company who also operates outfits such as high end cocktail bars such as The Alchemist and Manchester House. A cracking way to get things off the mark.

We knew that we wanted to sample the new style Sunday roast's, but still thought it apt to take a look at the other options anyway. Whilst the offerings were tempting, we couldn't be deterred from what we came for, especially after seeing beautifully risen and golden Yorkshire puddings paraded through the dining room to another eagerly waiting table.

After all that 10K spectating we had worked up quite an appetite and thought it wise to indulge in a Sharing Platter (£14.75). The platter was crammed full of offerings ranging from Bang-Bang Chicken skewers, Fish Cakes, Duck Spring Roll with Hoi Sin dip, finished off with some lovely battered Calamari. The four variants on the platter came in pairs, so ideal for two people, and were generally enjoyable with the lightly battered Calamari standing out. The fish cakes felt a little potato heavy, rather than fish being the star, but they were still tasty and did the job.

Then came the main event, our roasts (both £12.95), one comprising of half a chicken, and the other of roast beef, along with all the required accoutrements; Roast spuds, buttered cabbage, some excellent carrot and turnip, and Yorkshire puddings which were just as golden as they were well risen light and fluffy. The perfect vessel for the proper gravy (like Granny makes). They also had pork with crackling too, should that be your thing? The chicken was a more than generous portion of well cooked bird, with breast, leg and thigh which left me wondering where to start! A side plate for bones could be useful as a standard piece of crockery for this dish though, however Imogen gladly provided one upon request. The beef, cooked pink, was equally as generous in portion size but not quite as well cooked as its poultry companion, tasting more braised than roasted in flavour. The dishes were perfectly complemented by a robust Tarquino Shiraz (£7.75) with the beef, and also a vibrant and zingy Nyala Sauvignon Blanc (£5.50) with the chicken, both selected from a very competent wine list which contains something for all tastes and budgets.

We powered down the final straight with a pudding to share, in this case the Cheese Crust Apple Pie (£5.75); an odd sounding concoction on paper, but with flavours which really worked. Well-cooked pastry with interesting cheese undertones, excellent apple filling and creamy custard to round things off. By this stage, the food-wall was quickly approaching, so we decided to finish with a flourish and enjoy a 'Jaffa Cake' dessert shot (£4), before cramp set in. This comprised of orange liqueur, Mozart dark, and whipped cream. A Jaffa Cake in a glass, but better. Unfortunately, I'd be in a bit of a state downing 12 of these, unlike actual Jaffa Cakes.

Service was throughout, is has to be said, truly excellent. Despite the dining room bulging at the seams on such a hectic day in the city (never before have I seen so much Lycra in a confined space), we were well looked after for the duration of our meal, felt valued and tended to, with all the waiting staff being charming, attentive, and generally first class.

So, there's a new place in town to enjoy a quality Sunday Roast. In fact the new place in town has been around for some time, and are still producing some of the city's finest grills. Race on down to Grill on the Alley for your next Sunday roast, or maybe for a steak on a Wednesday, or any other day for that matter." - restaurants of manchester 18/06/14 (visited on a sunday afternoon)



Tags: Blackhouse, Review, The Grill on the Alley
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