Sitting in The Refuge, it’s almost nigh on impossible not to order yourself a couple of small plates from their eclectic menu. There’s so much on offer and it’s so bloody good that if you don’t – you’re seriously missing out.
So it was quite a difficult task coming up with my favourite dish and then subsequently taking pictures of it. But after careful consideration of many of the dishes, including a few desserts, I always came back to this – the fantastic Pork Belly (£8).
The pork belly itself is a rare-breed pig from Taste Tradition in North Yorkshire. Specialising in rare-breed meats, these Gloucester Old Spot pigs consume only natural feed, and are free to furrow unattended in their own outdoor huts. As a result, they’re happier, carry a bit more fat and so taste SO much better.
Once the belly arrives in the kitchen at The Refuge they cure it for 4 hours in a salt/sugar solution with added Thai 7 spice. It is then rinsed off, Vac sealed and then cooked slowly at 80 degrees C for 12 hours.
After this time the belly is perfectly juicy and tender. It’s then cut into portions and then cooked at a very high temperature to sear the outside and add some colour and more flavour. Finally, it’s topped with a Carrot & Spring Onion dressing – made using sesame oil, fish sauce and soy.
On the side you’ll find a generous dollop of The Refuge’s signature Granny Smith Apple Sauce which is seasoned with cinnamon and star anise. The whole dish is The Refuge’s take on the classic British pork & apple and it’s truly drool-inspiring.
Gloucester Old Spot Pork Belly (£8)
Apple // carrot // spring onion //Thai seven spice
The Refuge, Oxford St, Manchester M60 7HA
0161 233 5151