Back during the bygone days when Blink 182, Shirley Manson and The Donnas were the holy trinity of the youth I referenced recently in my review of the Empire Diner in New York, Manchester was the place to be. Liverpool was cool – it was home to Quiggins for God’s sakes – but Manchester did steal a piece of my northern heart. So much so, I ended going to university there.
My love for the Rainy City dwindled somewhat over the three testing years I spent in higher education and the squalors of student accommodation; I’m more of a five-star hotel in New York City or a luxury cabin lodge kinda gal. As a result – and literally hours after graduating – I shot down the M56 motorway, back to my hometown, with an active desire to avoid Manchester for the rest of my human existence.
Fast forward five years and here I am, sat in the quirky collaborative space of my new office after finishing a day’s work in sunny central Manchester, typing the time away as I wait for my reservation at Grill on New York Street this evening. One of the city’s most must-visit eateries right now.
I think it probably is the blossoming food and drink scene (and my new office, of course) that eventually pulled me back to Manchester. From the lofty heights of fine dining from the likes of Australasia and Manchester House to the trendy, urban street food scene that is positively a-buzz in the Northern Quarter, the city has most definitely found itself an appetite. Grill on New York Street sits between these two edible echelons, edging more towards fancy than hipster finger-food and I’m extremely excited to sink my teeth into the mouthwatering menu tonight.
So, what am I expecting from Grill on New York Street tonight?
With reputation and hype clearly established over the past few days when my reservation has come up in conversation, it was quite literally impossible to resist peeking at the Grill on New York Street menu just now. I am guilty of menu stalking days (even weeks) in advance of a table booking so sometimes I do try to shake things up a bit and leave it in the hands of spontaneity but this time, my embarrassingly weak willpower got the better of me.
From stitching myself a preconception of Grill on New York Street as a swanky, cosmopolitan restaurant with an uptown clientele, I was surprised to see such an accessible menu. The name of restaurant suggests that the menu was always going to be heavily meat-based and hearty to say the least but I hadn’t expected such classic, uncomplicated dishes. I had conjured images of foie gras, not fajitas, and beef tartare rather than Bang Bang Chicken Skewers so the menu is a slight revelation to me. A pleasant surprise should I say.
Its clean cut, monochrome branding, I imagine, are emblematic of its calibre and glowing reception. Don’t confuse this with a description of one of those under slick, over fussy restaurants that would frown up any form of footwear that isn’t made with 100% Venetian leather though. I expect Grill on New York Street has just the right amount of urban edge to cater to a modern audience, Gucci loafer or no Gucci loafer.
I smiled at how snugly we aligned with my demographic prognosis as my partner in dine turned up in sneakers and cigarette pants and we simultaneously drooled over a well-stocked bar full of trendy spirits and beers. The low-lit ambience and immaculately dressed waitstaff in their stiff-collared shirts and Doc Marten brogues also seemed familiar as we took our seats in the sophisticated-yet-urban eatery I had so accurately anticipated.
What I hadn’t factored in for was the extraordinary knowledge and hospitality of our hosts. Regularly tested on their knowledge of the Grill on New York Street menus, the staff eloquently talked us through the menu format, directed us to the charming story overleaf about where the restaurant source their award-winning meat and even took us to see the Himalayan salt chillers where they leave the meat to mature in full view of their guests.
We browsed the menu whilst sipping on our first round of cocktails from the Grill on New York Street drinks menu which included a Hazelnut Chocolate (£8) – a heavenly concoction of Tanqueray, Frangelico and chocolate – and a Monkey Old Fashioned (£10) which was their take on the classic cocktail with the addition of sweet banana liquor. These would later be chased up by a nutty BH Espresso Martini (£9) adorned with grated tonka bean and a Rhubarb Sling (£8) complete with ribbons of fresh rhubarb.
The cocktails are part of an extensive drinks repertoire that has been designed to compliment the food being served. Take, for example, the Steak Holder (£9) which comprises Bulldog gin, black grapes, Plymouth Sloe Gin, star anise, maple syrup, blueberries and lactic acid to perfectly match the Australian Fillet. It’s this kind of attention to detail which really sets Grill on New York Street apart from other quality grill restaurants on the market I think.
In terms of the edibles, they were every bit worth the hype and a true embodiment of my prediction that the plates would be classic, simple food done extremely well. For starters we decisively picked out the Piri Calamari with Saffron Aioli (£7) and some highly-anticipated Short Rib Bonbons with Burnt Onion Mayonnaise (£8) both of which were perfectly seasoned, generous in portion and expertly garnished. Two fine examples of the meat and seafood in which Grill on New York Street specialise and an ample quantity for a middle-of-the-road price tag.
Mains took a little bit more deliberation. From the array of prime cuts and ‘Favourites’ such as Lamb Rump in red wine sauce (£15) and Roast Chicken Supreme (£14), we eventually settled on a 400g Chateaubriand (£58) to share from the ‘Sharing Cuts’ list. We were also tempted by something from the ‘Butcher’s Block’ menu in which the meat is weighed and cut at your table but after reminiscing about the chateaubriand we had shared at 59 at The Hollies, we just couldn’t resist.
Traditionally, chateaubriand is a cut of meat that is cooked and then sliced ready to be shared. However my other half and I happen to like our red meat cooked differently but this proved to be no obstacle for the guys at Grill on New York Street. The two halves of the cut came served just as we had requested, accompanied by the pan of luxurious mash potato, red wine sauce and steamed broccoli that we had selected as our sides.
I might have liked the greens to have a little more taste about them but other than that, this dish was a triumph. The meat melted as soon as it came into contact with our cutlery and the mashed potato was creamy, sticky and the perfect contrasting texture. Our delicious mains didn’t leave much room for a third course and we did have to pop our top buttons in synchrony but we still managed to find room something sweet from the Grill on New York Street Dessert menu.
You know what they say about dessert stomachs… Plus, I challenge you to resist the lure of an Orange Crème Brûlée with Coconut Biscuits (£6.25) and a good old fashioned Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream (£6.75). The brûlée came with that all-important burnt sugar crust which shielded an indulgent custard that struck the perfect balance between citrus and cream. The coconut biscuits arrived warm and were reminiscent of the toasted coconut macaroons you get at German Christmas markets. My sticky toffee was every bit as good as it looks in the photograph and came with no currants or dates running through which is a positive in my eyes.
Delicious from start to finish and zealously recommended!
I was very kindly invited to review Grill on New York Street but all words, photographs, opinions, teeth, hair, boobs and nails are my very own.