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So many new restaurants in Manchester are shouting about themselves these days (and who can blame them, it’s a tough old world), that sometimes you can forget about the old guard who’ve been around for some time.
Restaurant Bar and Grill is one of those places, quietly getting on doing what they do without much fuss. So when Manchester Confidential invited me to go down to John Dalton Street and try the new menu, I realised that it had been a few years since I last set foot in RBG.
I’ve never eaten there before, but have spent some happy times in the bar. Husband had fond memories of a gently curried sea bass last time he visited with his mum, so we were really looking forward to our night.
We were given a warm welcome and table by the window by our waiter. The table was a relief- our invite had been to try out the ‘year round’ terrace but it was a bitterly cold night and so we didn’t argue. Plus, it was the perfect spot for me to people watch- both inside and out!
At this point I should introduce you to the star of the show – Kenny. Our waiter was helpful, charming and funny and if I could have brought him home with us I would have!
Whenever I get invited out the restaurants to review (which sounds like I do it a lot, but I don’t!), I always try to order sensibly because I don’t believe in taking advantage of people’s hospitality. So we had made our sensible choices when Kenny came to take our orders and then tell us what he thought we should have! He is the king of upselling! He insisted that the Asian platter was well worth sharing.
Good choice Kenny. The platter comes with chilli squid, prawn tempura, duck spring rolls, Thai fish cakes and Malaysian chicken. Each element was delicious and had it’s own unique flavour- it wasn’t all deep fried and samey. We both thought that the squid was the highlight- it was crunchy with a salt and pepper style coating with added chilli which gave a warm tingle. The spring rolls were crammed full of meat and the tempura on the prawns was thin and delicate. The Malaysian chicken was a welcome change to satay. There was also a really tasty pineapple and plum dipping sauce which blows sweet chilli sauce out of the water.
We had a tasty, easy going Pinot Grigio with the platter which you can’t really go wrong with can you.
Initially we were planning a fish and a steak as our mains, but at the behest of our waiter we went for a Chateaubriand The charcoal and woodburning grill is a big part of the menu so I was keen to try a steak but in the end we both had it. The menu tells you all about the meat, the in-house butcher and the hanging. It was only a shame it wasn’t more local (I want to say Staffordshire but the wine has blurred that memory!).
Malbec was recommended to go with the steak. Now, I know very little about wine, but I know that I like big, flavoursome reds with Amarone being my absolute favourite. I’d never had Malbec before and I really enjoyed this because it was Amarone-like (wine buffs don’t kill me, this is only my opinion) in that it just had tonnes of body.
Our dish came medium rare as requested in strips – lovely charred crispy bits on the outside and still pink and soft inside. I had a béarnaise sauce, and my hubby had a peppercorn one. The dish came with chunky chips, mushrooms and green beans but we also had some onion rings.
As well as the steak being cooked to perfection, and all of the side bits being very tasty indeed, the onion rings deserve a special mention here too. Not only was the beer batter crunchy and thin, but the onions actually tasted of onions and not chewy bits of battered rubber. Oh, and they can served on a little post in descending size order which pleased my husband no end- simple things eh!
The Chateaubriand was a great dish, but it finished me off. You can have too much of a good thing it would seem, and we had to decline pudding, even though there were macaroons on the dessert menu and poor Kenny was dying to tell us which dish he thought was the best! But I would have literally passed out if another crumb passed my lips so it was peppermint tea for me, coffee for him and a few moments people watching while we let it all digest.
It was quite busy in the restaurant (and on the afore mentioned terrace) – groups of friends, business colleagues and couple of all ages. And that’s what summed it up for me really – it’s good food, done really well and they make everyone feel welcome. There’s no feeling that it’s for the hip kids, or the oldies, just for anyone who appreciates a welcome akin to a bear hug and a belly full of well thought out food.
When we felt we could walk again, we thanked our hosts and headed out into the cold night. We found ourselves talking not only about the meal we’d just had, but what we could find time to come back again and try some of the other dishes (there is a monkfish done in the tandoor oven which I have my eye on, as well as those macaroons). It’s looking like the post-Christmas, pre-new year lull week will see us back there.
Thank you so much to Restaurant Bar & Grill and to Manchester Confidential for the invite and hospitality. And of course to Kenny- you were a star!
Restaurant Bar & Grill Manchester
14 John Dalton Street, Manchester M2 6JR
0161 839 1999