By Jo Cooksey
An Old Favourite
The Abel Heywood in the Northern Quarter, Manchester is our favourite pub in town. The building was beautifully restored by Hyde’s Brewery and is straight off the set of Peaky Blinders and the food is superb. Hearty, wholesome northern British favourites, cooked to perfection. On the ground floor is the main pub area, serving an extensive drinks and food menu from early in the morning, through to the evening and upstairs is the dining room. We ventured along recently to try the latest menu offering and as usual we weren’t disappointed in our choices.
G & T And Small Plates
We ordered Manchester Gin and tonics whilst we tried to choose from the menu. We always struggle because there is always so much to tempt us. Eventually, from the Small Plates & Starters section of the menu we chose Cheese & Pickle Croquettes with ale and onion chutney for £5.50 and Mac ‘n’ Cheese Fritters with green onion chutney for £4.95. The croquettes were crispy on the outside and soft and gooey in the middle, with a good hit of cheese. The Mac ‘n’ Cheese Fritters were golden, heavenly bites and we totally loved the green tomato chutney. I definitely need the recipe for that. I would like to say the fritters would be great to make at home from left over Mac and Cheese but then who ever has leftovers.
The Main Event
If it was hard to choose the first course, then the mains were even harder. There’s a range of award winning pies, sharing boards, burgers and mains. As we have eaten at The Abel Heywood many times, I always try and have something different each time we visit. This time I was caught between Roasted Hake with winter ratatouille and lemon butter, Pan Roasted Lamb with hot-pot potatoes and my eventual choice of Confit Belly Pork with braised peas and lettuce, champ mash and a cider cream sauce for £14.95 and also gluten free. Oh. My. Goodness. This was definitely a great choice. Perfect, warming comfort food. The pork was so tender it just fell apart and combined with the buttery mash and the creamy sauce it was fabulous.
My companion always tries to choose something different but often reverts to her favorite vegetarian burger at £10.95 at £ at £. She’s not a veggie but she loves this dish of baked feta, roasted peppers and mushroom pistachio pesto, served with sweet potato fries. Having tasted it I can agree that it is a lovely alternative to a classic beefburger.
Moved To Tears… Nearly
We always make sure we have room for a pud here, simply because they are so good. A new addition this time was a dessert called Bee Stings at £5.95, which my friend ordered. Fried doughnut balls served with crushed pistachios and honey. The doughnuts were light and crisp, not at all greasy and the honey added a lovely, sticky sweetness.
I am a woman of a certain age and sometimes even the most simple of things can move me to tears. However, I can honestly say that a dessert has never been the catalyst to damp eyes, until I sampled the Abel Heywood’s Manchester Tart. I have always loved this pud. The crisp pastry, the slighty tart yet sweet raspberry jam, the creamy custard and of course the banana and dessicated coconut. If someone serves you a Manchester Tart and it doesn’t contain those last two ingredients, then in my book it is not the real deal. The tart I had here, served with old skool raspberry ripple ice cream, took my straight back to being 7 years old and at primary school. We had a fantastic school cook and her Manchester Tart was to die for and this was just perfect to me. Hence my glassy eyed expression.
In the years we have been going here, I can honestly say that we have never had a bad meal and we always look forward to eating here. There aren’t many places you can say that about.
We were guests of the Abel Heywood but as always, the review and opinions are our own and unbiased.