Grazing lunch at Abode

The other week, I was freelancing in an office for the morning and on the way home accidentally went for a three course meal on my own. Well, it’s not my fault that my bus stop is RIGHT outside Abode. But after an intensive morning and no food in my belly, it was really nice to relax in some luxurious surroundings, and get my notepad out for some planning work.

AND their lunchtime offer won the Best Set Menu in the Good Food Guide 2010. Jay Rayner says this about it: “Right now, at lunchtime, Michael Caines at ABode Manchester is offering what must be one of the best bargains in the world of serious cooking available in Britain today.”

The super lunchtime offer is £12 for three courses, between 12noon and 2.30pm. They are mini taster portions, but three of them is still more than enough for a really filling lunch.

I’ve also been to review Abode in the evening for Taste of Manchester, when fellow food writer Lisa Higginson and I ate enough food for our extended families, and three generations in the future for the next 50 years. However, this visit was a little more restrained.

The menu changes regularly, so the current offering is this. Full marks to Abode for bringing me a massive bread basket, and don’t tell Dr Atkins but I ate it all. All three pieces. And it was good.

Out of the three starters – scallops; duck confit and parsnip soup – the Pan fried scallops appealed the most.  They came out on a fancy little black plate, they were dressed with caramelised cauliflower puree and sweet raisin vinaigrette. The taste of cauliflower didn’t really come through and certainly didn’t stick in my mind, but the sweetness of the raisin juice was a good choice to fight with the smoky taste of them scallops. I liked the little baby leaves because they looked cute and miniature things are always good.

The main course was pretty tiny, but good because it just one part of four very tasty things (am including the bread here). The roast fillet of pollock was a plump cheeky little piece of white fish. I don’t usually like the taste of pollock because it’s a bland, but more eco-friendly version of cod. But if I’m going to eat it, it may as well be cooked by the best chefs. The leeks, wild mushrooms and herb butter sauce gave the whole dish a massive umph with the buttery creaminess making sure it was satisfying.

Not in the mood for a sweet treat, I went for the cheese and biscuits, with delicate homemade biscuits (mine are always thick, clonky and crumbly), and three cheeses. One was a blue, one a smoked Cheddar and one a goats cheese, I think. The onion chutney and grapes gave it all some zing.

You have to remember that a 12% service charge is added onto the bill at the end, so along with my Appletizer I think my bill came to about £16. Quite a lot for a lunch, but it was worth it, even though I’m now eating home-made sarnies for the rest of the month.

This is one of the best restaurants in Manchester, so if you want to taste the handiwork of MFDF chef of the year Ian Matfin, but can’t afford the full on evening experience – this is the one to go for.

107 Piccadilly, Manchester, M1 2DB
T: 0161 247 7744
W: www.michaelcaines.com/restaurants/manchester

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