In true Saturday morning tradition, it seems only right that this mornings post is about the Saturday Kitchen host himself. For my Birthday this year I was surprised and treated to his six course tasting menu at his restaurant in Manchester. Hidden away in the Manchester 235 Casino, James Martins 170 seater restaurant has its own mezzanine floor in the Great Northern (A huge warehouse in the centre of Manchester that has now been converted in a sophisticated venue for the Cinema, Casino and a whole host of Restaurants).
The open brick work, spotlights and carefully selected dining furniture create an interior that oozes quality, with a modern twist on the respected historic setting. This in itself reflects the menu perfectly. James Martin is famous for his love of traditional British classics, whilst carefully sourcing the best ingredients from Fish mongers, Butchers and farmers, so I could not wait to see what the menu had in store for us.
Understated and intriguing the Six Course Tasting Menu was listed as no more than three words title-ing (Not sure thats a word) each dish. This menu sits alongside the regular À la carte menu, for just £30 a head it opens James Martins restaurant up to everyone, allowing any budget the opportunity to try his beautiful food. The menu changes weekly and is posted on there Facebook page (The link is at the bottom of the post).
As a Birthday booking, we were first greeted with complimentary flutes of Champaign and an incredibly sweet birthday card signed by the man himself, the service had already exceeded all expectations. We had only been there 5 minutes!
At this point you were all expecting to see the first image of a beautiful Scallop, however this is where I admit to a not so fun Shellfish allergy. The staff could not have been more accommodating, and after eyeing up the À la carte menu, they actually let me choose this, a pea and black garlic fondant. Best way to describe it would be to say it was like a giant garlic dough ball, filled with a rich pea puree which oozed out when you cut into it. Extremely rich and absolutely delicious.
Plate No 2. – Royals with Yorkshire fettle, AKA Smooth pureed potato with a dripping crisp topped with feta cheese and herbs.
Dish No.3 Tea-smoked Mackerel with Lemon Grass, mint and chilli. Delicate yet punchy this little morsel followed the richness of the Jersey Royals very well. Showing true thought had gone into the overall delivery of the full menu and each course.
Dish No.4 Lamb, Pomegranate and Quinoa. My favourite course, the quinoa was minted and the freshness of the cucumber broke down the richness of the Lamb, which had the most mouth watering crisp fat. Cooked to perfection. Still slightly confused as to were the pomegranate actually was, but by course four I honestly did not care enough to ask.
Dish No 5 – Gin, Tonic and Cucumber, AKA a Gin sorbet, with a cucumber consomme, with tiny cucumber pieces and a cucumber crisp. That is a lot of cucumber and an extremely refreshing palette cleanser.
Dish No.6 – Coconut Macaroon, rum and banana. A textured coconut macaroon with a banana ice cream, sticky rum sauce and a caramelised banana. Absolutely scrummy!!
All in all I genuinely could not fault the whole evening, across the board, venue, food and service was above and beyond what we expected. For just £30 a head it could not have been better value.
The weekly menu is updated on the James Martin Facebook page, follow the link below for details;
To book, visit there website;
Enjoy your weekends, hope you all Eat Fabulously!