Salford Food & Drink Festival

It’s Salford Food ‘n’ Drink Festival at the moment and in honour of such festivities, plus it being Mr MancDays birthday, I did my bit for the cause last night by attending A Night of Fine Dining at the Lowry Theatre Restaurant.   The setting was stunning with a bright September sun setting over the spangley new developments in Salford Quays.

The surprise start to the evening was that we were given champagne and canapés whilst being free to roam around the Lowry painting galleries, like tipsy free range hens! The paintings are always worth revisiting and we also got to see the temporary ‘Warhol and the Diva’ exhibition (catch it before it closes on 25th September).

The decadence of Warhol’s female celebrities was the perfect backdrop against which to gulp Perrier Jouet and befriend the champagne waitress who continued obliging our empty flutes.  The other gulping required was of the brilliant canapés; nothing says ‘proper sophisticated northerner like’ more than a black pudding and soft quail’s egg biscuit bite.  Perfect.

Once the crowd was suitably warmed up, it was down to the restaurant for a five course extravaganza with 6 matched wines.  This is a lot of wine for a Thursday, but we survived it somehow.

An unanticipated hit was the first course of squash velouté (that’s soup mate, soup) which provoked a chorus of “Mmmmm….” across the restaurant.  Then we were treated to potted ham with honey, delicious. The sea bass on lentils was a winner too.    If I was being picky, I was disappointed that the main course was goat’s cheese.  Maybe I’m a philistine, maybe I’m just a cheese hater, but surely you don’t build up to goat’s cheese?  It was a trof when I should have been experiencing a peak of lamb or beef.   Of course it had to all be concluded with a Manchester Tart.  Well almost concluded, because then there were petit fours, port and coffees, by which point I think we were all so sozzled that I can’t really recall much of what anything looked like, let alone tasted like.

The most memorable thing about the night was the scouse sommelier. He gave it a hearty northern edge and offered plenty of big belly laughs.  I couldn’t think of anyone better to help me remember the intricacies of the various wines; he was worth the ticket price alone!  Thanks to him, I’ll never forget that, “Normally you wouldn’t tarmac your drive with an Australian Chardonnay”  but he was right, the Western Australian Bandit Chardonnay is very drinkable.  A bit too drinkable perhaps.


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