Blanchflower goes French with new evening dining concept in Sale

The team have put an inventive contemporary spin on some Gallic gastronomic classics. Think tartares, soufflés, ballotines and brûlées.

By Lucy Holt | 4 June 2024

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A 1960s shopping precinct in Sale might be the last place you’d think to seek out fine French gastronomy, but the team at Blanchflower are always ambitious. The ever-popular bakery and kitchen – which also has locations in Altrincham and Chorlton – can often be found pushing the idea of what we can expect from a neighbourhood spot. Bistro Blanchflower is their new evening concept, and head chef Tom McMaster gets to flex his skills, cooking up traditional French cuisine for discerning evening diners. 

Moules marinière.

While the Blanchflower Sale you might be familiar with is an airy cafe – full of the hustle and bustle of daytime service – in the evening it transforms into something more cosy and intimate. The main event though is obviously the food. Head Chef Tom has a track record with this stuff, having learned his trade in French bistros. He takes the craft extremely seriously. From his menu you can expect tartares, soufflés, ballotines and brûlées – dishes which showcase some of those hard-earned cheffing chops. And there are some lesser seen curveballs like frogs’ legs thrown in too. The quality is maintained through to dessert too, with that famed Blanchflower bakery delivering the goods on dishes like blueberry mille-feuille and apple tarte Tatin. 

Crispy frogs’ legs, chicken liver parfait.

Blanchflower owner Phil Howells knows that this style of cooking hasn’t been the trendiest around for some years now, but he also knows that French food has been some of the most memorable he’s ever experienced. With the success of Chorlton’s Little Blanchflower under their belt – which is more of a spot for dinner than its bigger siblings in Sale and Altrincham – creating an evening dining concept was a no-brainer. Phil explains that with the Bistro he really wanted to give the chef’s an opportunity to shine, allowing them the freedom to create show-stopping dishes. At the same time, he explained, Blanchflower regulars get to experience something a little unexpected too.

Chocolate tart, creme brûlée.

A little less central than many of Manchester’s more established foodie neighbourhoods, Sale is a great spot for relaxed-yet-refined dining that doesn’t require heading into town. And the space, which spills out into Stanley Square, is perfect for that al fresco vibe. On a sunny Friday evening, imagine tucking into moules marinière or mushroom and white bean cassoulet with a glass of wine. You’re right in the midst of the bustling independent hive that is Sale’s Stanley Square, which also accommodates Portuguese tapas place Petisco, cocktail bar Pray Tell and high-end vegetarian spot Green’s. It’s all very European – you could almost forget you’re outside a WHSmith. If Sale is on your doorstep, or even if it isn’t, we recommend spending a Friday evening at Bistro Blanchflower.