The Lowry Theatre has certainly made a mark on me since it opened sixteen years ago. I’ve seen everything from community Shakespeare, intimate one man shows, mainstream theatre to gigs.
But aside from a few pre-show drinks, I had never eaten there. We all know that theatre food is tiny pots of ice cream grab bags of sweets right? Wrong, very wrong. As well as being a super contemporary arts centre, it turns out that The Lowry is also home to a kick ass restaurant: Pier Eight.
A large, airy space overlooking the Manchester Ship Canal, Pier Eight has one of the nicest interiors I’ve seen in a long time. It’s all squishy booths, bold colour and contemporary seating. We sat by the window in candle light, watching the wind and rain lash onto the canal. The menu was an embarrassment of riches – I could have eaten every single dish on there.
To start I went with goats cheese mousse and gingerbread.
Look at that – it is a masterpiece. There’s blackberry sauce, nuts, capers and chardonnay gel. Chardonnay gel was the first hint that we were in for something special. That was a touch we were not expecting. The dish was delicious and if you took off the caper berries I would have happily eaten it for dessert too. I didn’t get to try Andrew’s seared scallop, sea bass and apple but the empty plate suggest he enjoyed it as much as I did my goats cheese.
It was a miserable cold night so we both instinctively went for the most comforting mains. My duck breast was crispy on the outside, pink and tender on the inside. Artichoke puree was an unusual addition but far better than the usual mashed potato. A forkful of duck, artichoke and the red wine sauce was the epitome of comfort food.
Andrew had lamb rump. Again, cooked to pink perfection and again with unusual sides. This came with a sweet potato and date fritter. The fritter was sweet but cut through the lamb so well. I had never thought to do sweet potatoes with lamb but I definitely will when I next do it at home.
During out mains, it was interval time in the theatre. People who’d been in the restaurant for a pre-theatre meal had their desserts and/or drinks laid out in time for the interval so that they could come in and finish their meals in a relaxed atmosphere before heading back in to finish the show. Such a good idea- far more civilised than queueing for an ice cream.
I gently persuaded Andrew to try a different pudding than me so that I got to try two! I went for a warm chocolate torte which had an orange glaze on top and cherry sauce. Oh. Yeah! And he went for a cape brandy pudding which was a super light fruity pudding with orange sauce and moussey mascarpone. It was like Christmas pudding without the need to snooze afterwards!
Pier Eight is a real gem, a restaurant which Salford can be very proud of. If you are heading to the theatre, the Lowry shopping outlet, Media City or even if you live on the Quays, it is well worth heading into The Lowry for some quality food in lovely surroundings.
Thanks to Trevor at The Lowry for the invite and the meal, and to the lovely staff for looking after us. We’ll be back!
*Candlelight is sexy but makes for terrible photos and some couldn’t be salvaged. So those marked * have been kindly supplied by the restaurant.
Pier Eight at The Lowry. Salford Quays. M50 3AZ