Sat on the banks of the River Irwell, the Lowry hotel has long been a haunt of the stars.
One of the city centre’s only 5-star hotels, it is home to the most exclusive (and expensive) penthouse suite in the city. But today, we’re here to talk about its restaurant offering.
Headed up by chef Dave Ashton, who has worked alongside Aiden Bryne and other prominent chefs in two- and three- rosette restaurants, the 2 AA rosette River restaurant has long held a stellar reputation in the city as a go-to place for special occasion dining.
Following a revamp of its dining space in the autumn of 2019, it’s even more swanky. Gone is the all-white look of days prior, in its place a new design inspired by the hotel’s riverside setting.
Burnt orange, dusky pink and terracotta tones mix with hues of blue and green, whilst big squishy seats and deep booths provide the ultimate comfort for a long, luxurious lunch or dinner.
When we visit, it’s a chilly November evening and the daylight is already long gone – meaning that whilst we can’t fully appreciate the floor-to-ceiling windows looking out across the water, we still manage to drink in the twinkling lights of the city as we enter through the bar.
After leaving our heavy coats with the host, we sit down to browse Ashton’s newest offering: The River Restaurant’s autumn menu.
It’s always a great sign when you look down at a menu and feel overwhelmed by choice – or at least, I think so. And that’s what happens here. There are almost too many tempting-sounding dishes to choose from, leaving me to think that I could quite happily return and polish off the rest of the menu another time.
After deliberating with my dining partner, who agrees we’re spoilt for choice, we settle on starters of miso crab and squab pigeon followed by cured sea trout and an indulgent-sounding ‘surf and turf’ combination.
The agreement we make between us is this: we will share it all, save missing out.
The starters come out swiftly and do not disappoint. My miso crab is served as a terrine, topped with a sort-of red, edible doily. Sandwiched between the two are pieces of pickled lemon, samphire and a lump of slowly-melting lemon sorbet – adding a gorgeous citrus tang that cuts right through the fishiness of the fresh crab.
The squab pigeon, meanwhile, arrives with a hearty helping of truffled foam and screams game season. Rich flavours of pear, hazelnut and artichoke complement the equally-rich pink breast meat and confit leg. A triumph.
Onto the mains, and the star of the show has to be the 6oz fillet steak and Gambaro Rosso prawn dish. Its arrival gives me instant food envy and makes me very glad I’ve already brokered a deal to share.
The steak, cooked as the chef recommends it, comes out pinker-than-pink and soft as butter. Sat on a bed of greens and topped with tiny slivers of crunchy, tangy pickled onion, on the side sits a giant helping of truffle mash and a swirl of red wine garlic puree.
If you’re going for a special occasion, order this. The Sicilian red prawn itself was a bit scrawny, but in every other way, the whole plate is an absolute delight and well worth the £40 price tag.
My cured sea trout is also a hit. The crab sauce works beautifully with the fillet itself, whilst a healthy dose of sea veg heaped on top adds texture and depth to the plate as a whole.
The only fault I can make here is the crushed squash, which jars texturally – possibly a little undercooked, it is a bit too al dente for me in some places.
Finishing off with something sweet, I opt for the sticky date cake with caramelised banana, rum and clotted cream ice cream. This proves to be the best part of the meal, the crunchy-sweet topping of the banana together with the soft and sticky fruit sponge proves a heavenly combination.
My partner, meanwhile, chooses the Manjari milk chocolate dessert. Served with malted milk and espresso ice, it comes out in jagged slithers and is equally delightful.
Our charming server confides that we’ve made an excellent decision – as it turns out, we picked her two favourite desserts.
All in all, there’s very little to fault and much to praise at the new and improved 2 AA Rosette River restaurant.
When I last spoke to chef Ashton he told us that he was gunning for 3 AA Rosettes- and, although he may have missed out on that particular gong this year, it seems like that goal is still very much in sight.
Feature image – The Manc Group.
To view the full autumnal menu, click here.. To make a reservation at the River restaurant at The Lowry, click here.
Food & Drink
Deliveroo is knocking 25% off takeaways for parts of Greater Manchester this month
Deliveroo is going to be slashing takeaway bills by 25% for people in parts of Greater Manchester.
The delivery giant is offering up the discount from today all the way through to the new year.
It means that locals in the city centre, as well as Chorlton, Didsbury and Rusholme, will be able to save 25% on their Deliveroo order.
There are loads of local restaurants and cafes taking part, including the ever-popular burger and shake joint Archie’s and long-standing favourite Tampopo.
Yum Cha, which opened at Kampus this summer after 11 hugely successful years in Liverpool, is also taking part, with its incredible roast meats cooked for 24 hours in a custom-made roasting oven, plus Chinese small plates and dim sum.
Manc favourite Rudy’s, home of arguably the country’s best pizza, are included in Deliveroo’s 25% discount, alongside chicken legends Yard & Coop.
A bar in Manchester has made the move to introduce a ridiculously cheap drinks deal, pricing a number of its most popular bevs at just £2.50 each.
Yes, that’s right. Every Friday night for the foreseeable future, Alvarium in the Northern Quarter will be serving up bottles of beer, alongside spirits and glasses of red, white and rose wine at a super low rate.
Perfect for helping those struggling with the high cost of, well, everything right now, this is a way to get the Christmas presents sorted and still go out celebrating the festive season with your mates. Happy days.
The Northern Quarter bar, which stays open until 1am on Fridays, launched a new extended happy hour earlier this summer that saw it offer two bottles of San Miguel for £5, two cocktails for £10 and bottles of house wine at £12.50 each.
Now, however, Alvarium’s owners have taken things a step further – taking the pricing structure back to the nineties with a range of £2.50 drinks available every Friday.
As well as wine and beer, you’ll find tasty spritzes sitting alongside other festive-themed cocktails like ‘Santa’s Little Helper’ (a mix of brandy, bourbon, lemon, cranberry and orange) and ‘Winter Berries’ (vodka, apple, passionfruit, grenadine and lemonade).
Sharing the news online over the weekend, the dog-friendly cocktail bar and kitchen wrote: “INTRODUCING THE FRIDAY NIGHT SOCIAL.
The bar has previously hosted kitchen pop-ups from the likes of vegan kitchen Black Leaf, Manchester slab shack Lazy Tony’s Lasagneria, and Abeja Tapas Bar.
Now it has taken its food offering back in-house, serving up a selection of locally-sourced meat and cheese boards loaded with an array of pickles, chutneys, crackers, giant slices of sourdough and more – perfect for soaking up all that cheap, cheap booze.