The casual dining venue now has a dedicated restaurant area - and a tantalising new menu to boot
IT’S BEST known for its craft pizzas and impressive beer selection but, with a brand new menu and dedicated restaurant area, No. 1 Watson Street is determined not to be pigeonholed. Front of house, visitors can still enjoy the casual dining that caused such a buzz - including those legendary pizzas - but nowadays they’ll find an even bigger repertoire and the option of a restaurant experience that’s a little less informal.
So what can you expect from the new menu? Think light bites like homemade terrine served with brioche bread and chutney - and mains like braised lamb shank with colcannon and a mint and redcurrant jus. Salads span king prawn to chorizo & cannellini bean while an ever-changing list of puds should round off things nicely.
When Confidential visited, we were mightily impressed with the chefs’ adaptability. Being so well known for craft pizza and hearty classics, stepping into new territory - that of a more refined dining experience - was a risk. Safe to say, our doubts were quashed completely on seeing (and tasting) a succession of dishes that demonstrated superb attention to detail and culinary innovation.
Here’s what stood out for us from the new menu:
No 1 Scotch Egg
One of those foodstuffs that’s often abused by supermarkets, shoved unceremoniously in party packs, the Scotch is a very misunderstood egg. Done properly, as at No 1 Watson Street, and it was a Confidential favourite. Egg encased in locally-sourced Cumberland sausage meat, threaded with apricot and thyme, it was coated in crispy panko breadcrumbs and served with chutney of the day: in our case, red onion and marmalade. *Smacks lips*
6 Chicken Wings
The only thing better than chicken wings is chicken wings served with No 1. sauce. This BBQ delight took six months to perfect and, like other Watson Street sauces, is created in-house. Blue cheese, Louisiana and Peach & Jalapeño are all equally as delicious so it can be tricky choosing which to have with your wings - themselves done in a homemade rub made with nine spices. Cue a taste sensation that indeed takes flight.
Again, attention to detail is paramount with these succulent skewers. The small fat content gives just the right amount of tenderness, and the delicate seasoning accentuates - rather than overpowers - the meat. A pot of mint sauce for dipping, undercut by a dash of vinegar, makes the perfect companion.
Confit Duck Leg
Gressingham duck leg served with toasted hazelnut crumb, white truffle rosti, wilted spinach and a rhubarb and orange jam. With a description like that, do we even need to elaborate? We’ll just say that confiting the duck with whole oranges and thyme worked a treat - as did the whole dish for that matter.
Pan Seared Fillet of Hake
This not only looks beautiful, it tastes it too. Local hake is served on a bed of minted new potatoes, drizzled in homemade pesto and circled with fresh green beans. Grebiche - a popular sauce including ingredients such as chervil, capers and boiled egg whites - provides a gentle flourish, while pine nuts give a satisfying crunch.
Another healthy yet highly satisfying dish, this is based around a heritage variety pumpkin from France. Carved into a chunky crescent, the squash relative sits atop thick herby polenta fries and is garnished with parmesan and fresh sage. Perfectly crisped balsamic shallots, cherry tomatoes and a light marinara complete the tantalising equation. Who knew getting your five a day could be so enjoyable?
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Photo credit: Emma Golpys
No1 Watson Street, Great Northern Square, Manchester M3 4EE