By Jo Cooksey
The last time we were at Albatross & Arnold, was for an exceedingly enjoyable seven course taster menu with a Tapper’s Gin flight. It all started getting hazy after the fourth course, but I remember we had a very agreeable time.
They recently invited us back, so we obviously hadn’t disgraced ourselves too much last time. We were to sample dishes off the new Summer menu.
If you are unsure of where this little gem of a place is, you will find it at the Salford end of Spinningfields, above Beastro. It is part The Range, a high end, indoor virtual reality golf experience, independently owned, by former top-level golfer, Andrew McLoughney. We keep meaning to try it out, despite never having picked up a golf club before. The restaurant is a separate, bijou but luxurious space, adjacent to the virtual greens.
When we arrived, we found a gentleman from Ketel One, handing out their latest distillations. Better known for their vodka, Ketel have launched in to the lower alcohol market with their Botanicals range. Vodka distilled with real botanicals and infused with natural fruit essences. These refreshing spirits, when mixed with soda water and ice boast 40% fewer calories than a glass of white wine. They made for a refreshing aperitif while we perused the seasonally inspired, British menu, which has been curated by talented consultant Head Chef, Curtis Stewart. We could choose a starter to share, have a main course each, with a shared side and split a pud.
As per previous menus, there are small plates to eat tapas style or as a starter and larger dishes for those who are less inclined to pick.
The waiter brought us a wooden board with thick slices off a crusty loaf and a dish of oil and balsamic and sea salt. I don’t know where they get their balsamic from, but it was really good; sweet and fruity. This was swiftly followed by our starter, a revved-up version of Welsh Rarebit, made on sourdough with a dollop of verdant, peppery Rocket Pesto. Comfort food and then some.
For mains, we could quite happily have chosen anything on the menu, they all sounded very tasty. In the end, we selected the Pork Belly with Miso Caramel, Burnt Apple and Asian Pear, Charred Tiger Prawns with Chilli, Garlic and Citrus and a side order of Minted New Potatoes. The pork was sweet, sticky and meltingly unctuous. I would have liked the skin to have been crispy, in a crackling kind of way, but the taste was utterly delicious. The prawns were just incredible. I can’t speak highly enough of these. Three huge, sea fresh crustaceans, that tasted as though they had just hopped out of the fisherman’s bucket and onto our plates via a charcoal grill. Garnished with jewel like, fresh salsa. When we peeled them, they were sweet, meaty and juicy. A hit with both of us.
Still in a shellfish induced haze we took a look at the dessert menu. At Albatross and Arnold, you can have a normal dessert, such as Banoffee Pie, Chocolate Torte or a Cheese Board. Or you can have dessert cocktail, like a Salted Caramel Supreme or a Rhubarb & Strawberry Fool. Or perhaps both. After much debate, my companion being a chocolate fan and me being of the opinion that the dark stuff is the work of the devil, we opted for the Banoffee Pie. Hmmmm. They were assembled in a commercially made pastry case, that was so hard the first time I tried to stick my spoon in it, a shard of buttery base shot across the table. It was ok but it wouldn’t be in my dessert top ten.
Will We Return?
We will return because on the whole it is a pleasure to dine at Albatross & Arnold. The staff and the service are attentive, professional and friendly, the surroundings have a luxurious Art Deco feel and the menu has flair and passion. Better, more artistic desserts, that match the finesse shown in the rest of the menu please.
We were guests of Albatross and Arnold but as always, the review and opinions are our own and unbiased.