… and they’ve given the menu a massive shake-up too!
Last week I was lucky enough to be invited down to The Lowry Hotel to get a sneak peek at their new River Restaurant menu – designed by talented Head Chef Dave Ashton – and I must say, it featured some outstanding dishes.
As part of a £5m renovation, The Lowry Hotel have completely refurbished The River Restaurant and with it set to open at the beginning of October, Dave has been hard at work finalising and adding the finishing touches to his menu.
Looking to provide a range of British classics but with a ‘twist’, the menu features a lot of dishes that you’d expect to find on a modern menu but with some rather impressive flourishes of eccentricity that really sets it all apart.
One such example comes in the most unlikely of guises – bread and butter. Arriving first to the table, the selection of Organic Sourdough (£5.50) came alongside a truly sublime Lancashire Cheese Custard and some Tomato Butter.
First of all, the bread itself is coated in a crispy outer layer of Weetabix – okay, that’s not too odd. Next though is the Tomato Butter. The first thing you’ll notice is that it’s been made to look like actual tomatoes – complete with red colouring and real stems. Break through and smear it on your bread though and you’re in bread and butter heaven. Fantastic.
Another example arrives with the Chicken Liver Parfait (£4.00), which comes coated in White Chocolate and Cherry – two rather unusual additions which work outstandingly well with the rich, meaty liver pate. I never thought I needed this until I tried it.
One area of the menu where Dave has spent a lot of time is the mains, ensuring there’s a delicate balance of dishes and everyone is catered for.
We got to sample the Stuffed Fillet of Dover Sole (£32), which was subtle in its flavours but perfectly balanced, alongside Dave’s piece de la resistance – the Cheshire Farm Lamb Rump (£25).
This dish is Dave’s signature and it’s clear to see straight away why he’s so proud of it. There’s a Rump of Cheshire Farm lamb, cooked to perfection, alongside a lamb fat carrot that literally melts in your mouth. The carrot is slowly braised in lamb fat for 6 hours – soaking up all of those delicious flavours.
Also on the plate is a cheeky little Braised Rib, again – tender as can be. It’s cooked for 12 hours over night in lamb stock, red wine and rosemary. This is a dish that people are bound to talk about when the menu launches for sure.
Finally, we were treated to another ‘Signature’ of the menu – The Lowry Gin (£9.00). As this dessert comes to the table you will once again feel slightly deceived – it looks just a like a plain old lemon. Just plonked on your plate with abandon.
Crack into the outer shell though and you’re treated to what can only be described as a Gin & Tonic dessert, complete with a tonic gel and frozen cucumber that re-creates the classic cocktail but in food form.
I left feeling not only full but also rather elated – we were treated to come theatre with our food but it certainly didn’t over shadow any of the dishes.
As he applies his final finishing touches to this impressive menu, I’m sure that Dave has created a menu that will certainly get people talking.
I’d even go so far as to say that he’s on course to overshadow the refurbishment of the restaurant itself – but until I see it all with my own eyes I’ll just have to be 90% sure that he has.
The Lowry Hotel, 50 Dearmans Pl, Salford M3 5LH
0161 827 4000