Right, let’s talk cauliflower cheese for a moment. A non-negotiable on a roast dinner, I like mine steaming hot and encased in cheesy bechamel, slightly charred on top and oozing in the middle.
Truth be told, I’m more attached to cauliflower cheese than Yorkshire puddings (blasphemy up north, I know). Miss a Yorkshire off my roast and – as long as I’ve not ordered beef – we’ll be absolutely fine. But forget the cauliflower cheese? Well, I’m not sure I’ll ever forgive you.
Mentally prepared to eat my body weight in cheese, I’d already familiarised myself with the menu. Ok, technically two menus. Ducie Street Warehouse has a separate one just for its cauliflower cheeses: with eight different styles to choose from.
We’re talking cauliflower cheese with vintage cheddar, freshly shaved black truffle, bacon frazzles, garlic and herb crumble, four kinds of cheese, blue cheese, macaroni, plus a cheezy option for the vegans.
According to the team, it’s ‘the ultimate Sunday side that deserves a place of its own.’ I couldn’t agree more.
As for the rest, its separate ‘Sunday with Sides’ menu also seemingly has it all. Dry-aged local shorthorn beef sirloin, W.H. Frost premium chicken breast, rosemary roasted leg of lamb and a weekly-changing vegan roast ‘with all the trimmings’.
Add to that its promising-sounding ‘Slice Of ‘SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE’ – a carvery-style mixed-meat plate priced at £27.50 – and it does seem like they’ve really thought of it all.
I opt for a pink leg of lamb, whilst my cheese-eating partner in crime goes for the beef (which also comes out beautifully pink). Both are served with crispy roasties on a mountain of seasonal veg, topped with the biggest singular Yorkshire puddings I think I’ve ever seen.
Gravy is generous, but there’s an extra jug plopped onto our table too – just in case. Being a gravy glutton, I pile it on. It comes out a bit thick for my liking, but still tastes delicious nonetheless.
As for the cauliflower cheese? It’s worth every bit of hype it gets. We try the umami-rich black truffle, blue cheese, macaroni and Frazzles options, filling our tiny table for two with an absolute mountain of cauliflower.
As ever, my eyes are bigger than my belly, but I give it a good go: packing up the rest to take home and eat in bed later.
I won’t beat around the bush. This is a deceptively BIG roast. Granted, we did order four portions of cauliflower cheese on the side, but still. Some roasts look good but lack substance. Not this one. This is the roast that keeps on giving.
Further add-ons include Tuscan pork stuffing, honey-roasted heirloom rainbow carrots, maple roasted parsnips, lemon and garlic broccoli gratin, macaroni cheese, plus extra Yorkshire puddings and gravy, not that we can manage it.
I’d definitely go back with a group, though, and see if we can get through it all. I honestly can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday.
Feature image – The Manc Eats
A restaurant in Ancoats is serving up plates of crispy fried squirrel
A Manchester restaurant is serving up plates of crispy fried squirrel – and their customers absolutely love it.
Taking game dishes to a whole other level, the wild crispy buttermilk fried squirrel at Ancoats restaurant Street Urchin comes served atop a creamy pulled ham hock cassoulet, with hazelnut bread croutons and nettle pesto and costs £22.50.
Sourced from their game supplier in Cumbria, it might sound nutty but owner Rachel Choudhary told The Manc that the dish has proven incredibly popular – and that the team has been ‘really surprised’ at how much of a hit it has become with customers since adding it to the menu.
She said: “We were looking for something new for the game options on the menu. Kev was speaking to our game supplier and randomly asked if he had any grey squirrels. Happily, he did.
“The whole team tried the dish the day it went on and the majority thought it was really good.
“We weren’t sure if it would sell, but have been really surprised. So many people have tried it and given good feedback. We’ve recommended that they eat it like chicken wings and pick it up, that way you get most of the meat.
“I’d never tried squirrel before and I absolutely loved it, it has great flavour, rich buttery texture, and it’s wild, free-range meat.”
The gray squirrel currently has an estimated population of 2.5 million in the UK according to the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust and is considered a good sustainable alternative to factory-farmed meat.
It is legal to control grey squirrels by shooting or trapping them in the UK in a humane manner and even helps protect the UK’s endangered native red squirrel population.
Whilst some might find the idea of eating squirrels a tad unappealing, many chefs argue it is better to eat them when culling as it means the meat does not go to waste.
English market diner Street Urchin was first opened on Great Ancoats Street in 2019 by husband and wife team Rachel and Kevin Choudary.
Prior to opening in town, the couple ran The Victoria in Altrincham for eight years before deciding that it was time to move on.
Their Ancoats market diner has made its name on being one of the few city centre restaurants specialising in fresh fish, with everything from clams and mackerel to cured chalk stream trout, king scallops, and whole grilled red gurnard regularly available on the menu.