Our writers and staff choose their favourite dishes from June

Another month, another round of dishes that held our taste buds to ransom. The Manchester Confidential writing staff (and lesser-spotted species from the likes of social media and technical) share their favourite dishes from June.

2024 07 01 Blancflower Alty Chicken Liver Parfait
Chicken liver parfait, Blanchflower Altrincham Image: Confidentials

Chicken liver parfait, Blanchflower Altrincham (£11)

I recently paid a visit to Blanchflower Altrincham to review its '7 Fridays of Dinner' weekly menu (running until 23 August) and chose something that when I spot it on menus I always gravitate towards, if not always choose; chicken liver parfait, in this instance with toasted brioche, rhubarb ginger ketchup, date pickle and endive. 

To put it in the plainest terms, this was gorgeous. No ifs, buts and clarifications, just a beautiful balance of ingredients executed wonderfully. Dishes like liver parfait (that is, French-leaning) are of course slightly indulgent, but this was a culinary speedball that would have Lou Reed drooling and lolling on the banquettes. 

The brioche was toasted in name but on the plate was much more, as if it had been soaked in a bath of butter all afternoon before being dunked into a deep fryer. We've all had toast before but this was entirely different. Toast that's come into money. 

The parfait was beautiful; a plush velvet texture with oceans of depth and complexity, when combined with the tart, fruity notes of rhubarb and date, along with the peppery jab of endive, this was as delicate as it was decadent. 

David Adamson  @davidadamson123

2024 07 05 Dotm June 24 Mark Prawns
Griddled Szechuan prawns, Home Chinese Image: Confidentials

Griddled Szechuan prawns, Home Manchester, Gay Village (£16.80)

It's Dish of the Month time at Confidentials.com and mine is griddled Szechuan prawns from Home, the new contemporary Chinese restaurant in the Gay Village in Manchester. 

Home is starting to gain a reputation amongst the professional food writers as a top three destination for serious, and seriously authentic but hugely enjoyable Chinese food. 

It’s my third visit. The first was to make sure our editor David Adamson, who was new to the team when he visited for an official review, wasn't hallucinating when he scored the food at 8/10.

On this last visit I took the owners of Australasia with me, Jeremy Roberts and Paul Moran, a pair who are hard to please.

Amongst other things, our brilliant server told us to try the Szechuan Griddled Prawns.

We took them shelled. Fantastic kick, crunchy on the outside, juicy flesh inside. They delivered heat and spice in spades; draped across Chinese vegetables cooked but crunchy including what I am guessing were radishes which surprised the pants off me; they took on the flavours and heat of the limited umami-riddled stock. 

I didn’t try these until the prawns were gone, which was a shame, I think it would have been better to eat them together, the moist, peppery radishes marrying well with the exotic spicing on the crunchy prawns.

Next time I’m sharing with no-one, shell on and I'll take a plastic sheet to cover myself, so I don’t clear the room.

Mark Garner  @gordomanchester

2024 07 04 Itr Butter Chicken
Butter Chicken, Indian Tiffin Room, Liverpool Image: Confidentials

Butter Chicken, Indian Tiffin Room, Liverpool (£13.50 plus £3.50 for naan)

I smelled the butter chicken before I saw it; a rich, tomatoey, slightly spiced and sweet scent wafted through the air. A dish that appeals to all the senses, ITR’s butter chicken was a sight to behold. I couldn’t wait to tuck in. 

Made with proper chunks of chicken breast (none of that dehydrated-rehydrated rubbish) and a thick and indulgent butter sauce with cream swirled through it, it was enough to bring a tear to my eye - which could be mopped up quite easily with the generous amount of homemade naan served on the side. Top tip: take advantage of the air bubbles in the bread by filling them with butter chicken sauce and popping it in your mouth. You won’t regret it. 

I’d argue that this is the best butter chicken in the north west - certainly the best I’ve ever had at least. 

Harley Young  @Harley__Young

2024 07 04 Dotm June 24 Neil Market Fish Of Day
Market fish of the day, Medlock Canteen Image: Confidentials

Market fish of the day, Medlock Canteen, from £20

There are sexy fish and ugly fish. Gurnards definitely fall into the latter category. Even removing the spines and ‘wings’ from the red variety before barbecuing whole still leaves you with a sense of confrontation. Bulging eyes stare balefully up at you from its large, prehistoric head, gob gaping. A nice little gurner, though, at Sam Grainger’s quality addition to the Deansgate Square dining scene. Served in a pool of melted butter, infused with lemon and chive, it tasted gorgeous, the firm white flesh easily detached from its tapering, bony frame. 

This ocean bottom feeder has suddenly become an upwardly mobile treat – the monkfish de nos jours, no longer deemed fit only for lobster bait, celebrated indeed by cool chefs. Inevitably there are now queries about its future sustainability. 

Checking the Marine Stewardship Council charts, I was left floundering about its seasonality. Consume it during the breeding period, May to July, you may be in choppy waters. My research also dredges up a trait common only to the gurnard. While being caught it emits a croaking sound, earning its nickname the grunter. Too much information?

Neil Sowerby  @AntonEgoManc

2024 07 04 Dotm June 24 Sarah Honey And Milk
Netherby Hall Honey & Milk, from The Pentonbridge Inn, Carlisle Image: Confidentials

Netherby Hall Honey & Milk, from The Pentonbridge Inn, Carlisle, £115 for an eight-course tasting menu

This dish was part of the eight-course tasting menu at The Pentonbridge Inn, a Michelin-starred restaurant with rooms on the Scottish border, just outside Carlisle. Head chef Chris Archer was awarded the star this time last year thanks to what the Michelin inspector described as “well-judged combinations of flavours and textures.”

I ate there as part of a Summer Experience package at nearby Netherby Hall, which also included a horse and carriage ride to the inn and a tour of the hall’s gardens, where some of the ingredients for the tasting menu are grown. 

Any of the eight dishes could have been my dish of the month but I’ve gone for this one because it made me think of summer and we all need more of that. It was a crisp-shelled almond financier, soaked through with elderflower syrup and Netherby Hall honey, and paired with milk ice cream topped with a honeycomb and biscuit crumb. It reminded me of the walled gardens we’d explored at the hall where the roses and lavender were in full bloom. I didn’t feel the sun on my skin much this June but up at the Pentonbridge Inn, I could taste it in the food. 

Sarah Tierney 

2024 07 04 Dotm June 24 George Buttermilk Chicken
Buttermilk Chicken, Rack, YES​ Image: Confidentials

Buttermilk Chicken, Rack, YES (£9.95)

For this month's dish of the month, my top choice is the Buttermilk Chicken from Rack Sandwich Shop in Yes Manchester. Priced at £9.95, this sandwich boasts buttermilk chicken thigh with chili and lime mayo, lettuce, and gherkins. Despite my usual aversion to words like "moist" and "juicy," the chicken in this sandwich was exactly that. The thigh meat was tender with no hint of dryness.

The chili and lime mayo added a tangy kick that perfectly complemented the chicken. It was the element that brought all the flavours together. I also tried their mozzarella sticks for £4, which were dirty food at their finest and were the perfect partner to the burger.

To conclude, when you need a filthy food fix with no compromise on culinary expertise this just hits the spot.

Georgina Harrington Hague  @georginahague

2024 07 04 Dotm June 24 Hayden Pie Barm
Meat and potato pie barm, Dawsons Atherton Image: Confidentials

Potato and meat pie barm, Dawsons Atherton (£2.80)

You know when local rivalries thrive in a small town. During my youth in Tyldesley, you either liked Whittakers Pies or Dawsons Pies. I was a Dawsons boy. Dawsons was a heavily peppered ‘potato and meat’ concoction that wasn’t for everyone but I feel that drew me in. The pie barm used to be an inferior product for me, the pasty barm had the right ratios for quick bite on the walk home from school but when walking up the high street in Atherton, I decided to pop in and grab something to top me up for the day.  I’m greeted by an A3 poster that reads "Slip your favourite delicious pie into one of our freshly baked barms. £2.80"


The mix inside had a structural integrity which meant that upon first bite, my hands were not drenched in potato based lava. I’m a convert. Wigan kebab me up baby. Carbs on carbs on carbs is a good mantra to live by. I think an underrated quality of food is how filling it is for the price sometimes. A £3.50 meal deal from Tesco would not leave me as full as this did, it’s sometimes good to carry the weight of a food and be a little nostalgic to when this would have cost a lot less.

Hayden Naughton  @haydennaughton

2024 07 04 Dotm June 24 Martyn Panini
Ham & Mozzarella Panini, Café Nero St Anne's Square​ Image: Confidentials

Ham & Mozzarella Panini, Café Nero St Anne's Square (£.4.95)

Okay, so big chains aren't generally prescribed fodder for Dish of the Month, but credit where it's due... coffee shops generally have a very 'meh' menu selection when it comes to food, to the point I've been told off for snaffling a Greggs in a Starbucks "restaurant" in my younger days, in an innocent attempt to avoid the dry, depressing, ciabatta-drudgery. 

All that considered, I've developed a bit of a habit for this ham and mozzarella panini in the new Café Nero in St. Anne's Square. What I love most about it is that no one seems to know that it's here and it's the quietest place in town to get breakfast (which by the way for all the indies, starts two hours before 9am). 

The staff are incredible for a chain and the classical chillout playlist provides a rejuvenating chunk of solipsistic bliss that isn't easily matched anywhere in this busy city centre. Honestly, I'm half-tempted not to let you know about it for pure selfish reasons, but I feel this deserves some acknowledgement. The ham is on the cusp of chunky bacon and peppery molten cheese gives this morning butty a real lift, so it's beat a humble path to the top spot for me this month.

Martyn Pitchford  @Pitch_Blend

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