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Friday 13th was ten years ago to the day since I first met my husband. He is a friend’s brother, we met at a party, snogged on the sofa and the rest is history…
So far from being too scared to leave the house on the unluckiest of days, we were celebrating with a date night and decided to go to one of the places we went in the early days of our dating: The River Restaurant at the Lowry Hotel.
I’ve always thought The River Restaurant as a bit of a gem –no bells and whistles, but solid seasonal and regional ingredients cooked well.
We got there a bit early so settled in the bar for cocktails. I had a raspberry and apricot cooler but Andrew enjoyed his drink even more. Thymes Ten is a British take on the mojito- gin instead of rum, honey in place of lime and thyme…lots and lots of thyme. He loved it, but I found the thyme a bit over-powering. Great idea though and they set us up for the night ahead.
We went for the same starter- a risotto Milanese with crab bon bons. I was worried that it was a bit big when I saw the size of the portions, but like a true hero, ploughed on in and finished it all! The risotto was cooked perfectly but the crab would benefit from some seasoning.
I was in the mood for something meaty so ordered the ribeye. Now I’m a thirty-something born in a land of metric weights and measures so when a menu tells me something is 10oz, I have no idea what that means. Turns out, 10oz is pretty humongous- even for me. The potato gratin it was served with didn’t get a look in, although the spinach we got as a side was a good addition. It was a damn tasty piece of meat, and the béarnaise sauce on the side meant that I carried on dunking and nibbling long after I was full. Hubby’s venison loin looked ace but I didn’t get a look in on that. He did tell me that the chicory marmalade was a highlight. But he didn’t share the venison. Who said romance was dead? Did I mention he didn’t share the venison?!
We decided to share a pudding because we were so full, but as soon as we tucked in we wished we’d ordered two! Salted Manjari Chocolate Creamux which translated on the plate as the darkest, most dense chocolate brownie, a light as air mouse and some white ‘fluff’ which, after asking a grown up, we discovered was both salt and sugar. The tiny ball of ice cream split us; hubby thought it was coconut, I put my money on white chocolate. One of the members of staff came over to chat and kindly went to check for us. Turns out it was vanilla. If that’s the case, it’s the most super sweet vanilla I’ve ever had. Either way, it was a triumph of a dessert, the highlight of the meal and Andrew placed it in his top three puds!
Oh, I am very excited to tell you at this point that I had a sherry with my pud. I know, me! I’ve only had it once before at Livebait earlier this year, but I had totally fallen in love with the fruity, Christmasy taste of PX sherry so decided to go with one for pud. I have to say, it really worked and complimented the chocolate perfectly.
At this point we were full, tipsy (cocktails, a nice bottle of NZ Riesling and the aforementioned sherry) and making plans to catch the dreaded bus home. But a lovely member of the restaurant team (sorry I didn’t catch his name but he struck me as the maitre de) came over to say he’d heard we were celebrating. He presented us with a beautiful plate of chocolates and some prosecco.
It was such a lovely touch (even though we can’t agree on how they knew) and really pushed the evening to another level. So we simply had to forgo the bus and stay and finish our drinks and treats!
It was the best night. I don’t think that The Lowry gets the recognition it deserves on the Manchester restaurant scene but with food and service like this it is surely only a matter of time.
The Lowry Hotel. Chapel Wharf, Manchester. M3 5LH