Our writers and staff choose their favourite dishes from March

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 March.

2024 03 20 Lamb Of Tartary Thumbnail
Belted Galloway steak tartare with potato crisps from The Lamb of Tartary​ (£12) Image: Confidentials

Belted Galloway steak tartare with potato crisps, The Lamb of Tartary (£12)

Such has the landscape of menus changed that small plates can often be close to the main event or even overshadow it; a series of tasteful bridesmaids dresses flanking a bloody great big meringue. At The Lamb of Tartary they do a great job of their supporting roles but one comes close to stealing the show. The Belted Galloway steak tartare with potato crisps (£12).

A neat little artwork that manages to balance the high end with a sense of humour, this is a marquee dish that I can see enticing plenty away from cooing through the prism of an Instagram page and actually sitting down to give it a go. With the sunflower-like look of the thing it's almost a pity to break it up, but break it up you must; it's a delight to look at, but even more to eat.

The golden egg, the fragrance of the chives, and the citrus tang shooting through a beautiful cut of beef that needs little assistance, this is really worth a go - and that's before I mention the crisps. Why not counter that most la-di-da of dishes with something as unpretentious as a plate of crisps? This is still a pub, after all. But because it's not your usual pub, these crisps are cooked in beef fat - twice? Thrice? Dangled into a lake of infernal tallow? It probably saves your calorie counter not to ask.

David Adamson  @davidadamson123

2024 04 03 Dotm Jonathan Roski Chicken
Chicken and fancies from Roski​ in Liverpool (part of £115 tasting menu) Image: Confidentials

Chicken and fancies, Roski, Liverpool (part of £115 tasting menu)

Food is all about the variety of life. Last month my dish of the month was a cheese and onion pie at Rochdale Leisure Centre, this month it’s a star from a £115 tasting menu in Liverpool’s Roski restaurant. 

We’re talking a chicken breast with cleverly inserted chicken morel mousse which was gloriously cooked, both delicate and distinctive and refuting all notions about chicken delivering bland flesh. As the restaurant manager Ashley Haddon said, chicken is a brave choice to put on a fine dining menu but if it works then it’s as good as any other meat. It’s also a good flesh to act as a baseline to other elements.

As I wrote on the review, the fact the meat could be bunched up with an absolutely stonking foie gras only made the dish more joyous. It was all about taking the morel high ground, that morel mousse was ooh-la-la. There was also an eighth of a leek on the plate with a crumb pink peppercorn and pork scratching bits and bobs. I didn't really notice the leek, in fact it seemed a bit of a pointless add-on, it was all about the morel, the foie gras and the chicken.

Jonathan Schofield  @jonathschofield

2024 04 03 Dotm Harley Custard Tart
Egg custard tart with Yorkshire forced rhubarb from Twenty Eight in Chester​ (£8) Image: Confidentials

Egg custard tart with Yorkshire forced rhubarb, Twenty Eight, Chester (£8)

Just look at it. Even if you’re not a fan of custard tarts, you’ve got to admit, on looks alone this dish takes the cake. Well, tart. 

As well as looking a million dollars, it tasted it, too. This hearty slab of golden yellow goodness was served to me at a press evening showcasing some of Chester restaurant Twenty Eight’s best seasonal dishes. Lightly dusted with cinnamon and presented with some locally grown forced rhubarb from Field 28, this dessert was anything but forced and I still can’t get over how generous the portioning is at this place.  

Harley Young  @Harley__Young

2024 04 03 Dotm Neil Gyoza
Midori gyoza sharing platter from Wine and Wallop​ in Didsbury (£25) Image: Confidentials

Midori gyoza sharing platter, Wine and Wallop, Didsbury (£25)

It reads like a Studio Ghibli script, the inspiration for Claire ‘Midori’ Cassidy’s Japanese ‘soulful home cookery’ project. 

Back in the nineties on Hokkaidō the enthralled infant watched her grandmother Reiko and other womenfolk, cross-legged on cushions in the kitchen, transforming produce from the ‘hatake’ communal allotment. The Midori website puts it in glorious context: “During the long and harsh Hokkaidō winters, temperatures would typically plummet to -10°C, house-bounding the citizens of Otaru, a rural fishing village situated on the west coast of Japan's northernmost island. In anticipation of these looming conditions, the ritual of preparing food in bulk – from pickling and fermenting vegetables to wrapping gyoza – would take place annually with the combined efforts of family members and neighbours.”

Lapwing Lane, Didsbury will never suffer such extremes, but there’s a similar culinary energy in the air as, after a series of pop-ups there, Midori take full control of the W&W kitchen. The all-day offering – from daikon pickles and lotus root crisps to more challenging one-pot dishes – is a world away from the jaded ‘Japanese’ template of sushi rolls, greasy ramen and crude katsu curry that bedevils Manchester these days (with notable exceptions). 

It was the lack of authentic comfort food options to buy that first drove Claire to the commercial stove after years of globe-trotting. Hong Kong born, with a Scottish dad and a Scottish partner sharing her HK affiliations, she started off by supplying gyozas to local Didsbury stockists and, in the case of Axon’s butchers, using their quality meat. Their pork and lamb feature, alongside miso mushrooms, in this melt-in-the-mouth gyoza platter, whose tightly sealed wrappers packed with additive-free ingredients put to shame the usual frozen suspects. Icy Otaru, Midori is doing your heritage proud.

Neil Sowerby  @AntonEgoManc

2024 04 03 Dotm George Lamb Rump
Rump of Lamb from The Ship in Styal (£19.50) Image: Confidentials

Rump of Lamb from The Ship Inn in Styal (£19.50)

I’m a sucker for gravy. I love lashings of it and I always make sure to request extra on any dish that gets served with it. You could say I’m a proper northern lass. I love gravy, therefore it follows that I also love a Sunday Roast – I always stand proud to say that it would always be my death row meal, the different flavour combinations that you can mix and match with each mouthful - it’s the only logical choice. 

The only thing which frustrates me with a roast is that most places only serve this on a Sunday. But I’ve finally found the next best thing – The lamb rump on the nostalgia menu at my local pub, The Ship Inn at Styal. Yes, it’s not your traditional Sunday Roast but it’s the next best thing when you want a roast on a Saturday. Lamb served pink, on a bed or carrot puree and mash potato with peas and chipped potatoes and most importantly a good drenching of gravy. The picture does it no justice but we’re not talking fine dining here, it’s proper pub grub that soothes the soul of a right northern lass, this drags you back in time to the sort of meal your nan used to serve. Absolute winner in my opinion.

Georgina Harrington Hague  @georginahague

2024 04 03 Dotm Martyn Bang Chicken
Bang-Bang Chicken, Suki Suki Street Food & Bar​ (£13.95) Image: Confidentials

Bang-Bang Chicken, Suki Suki Street Food & Bar (£13.95)

Suki Suki on Deansgate is becoming one of my favourite lunch spots as they have a charming upstairs dining room tucked under one of the arches attached to the Great Northern building and they turn around the food reasonably quickly. It's Pan-Asian cuisine with a tilt towards the Korean and Japanese side with bao buns, ramen and wok-fried noodle and rice dishes.

I really enjoyed the Bang-Bang Chicken dish which is new on the menu. The sweet and spicy sauce is perfectly balanced between tangy sweetness and chilli heat which will give you a nice cosy glow for the rest of the afternoon. I was pleased they have avoided the usual gimmick of adding chunks of raw sliced chilli which hardly anyone ever eats and is plonked there purely as visual foliage.

The thick egg noodles are filling and act as the perfect vehicle for the sticky sauce. My favourite part is the savoury batter which delicately covers the chicken and doesn't completely overwhelm it like a highly processed Krappy Fried Chicken. The light patchy covering of batter is a good sign it's made fresh on site and the variation in the amount of coating gives a nice contrast of tender nibbles and delightful crunchy bites. There's a decent portion of peppers and onions included and it adds a bit of joy to your day.

Martyn Pitchford  @Pitch_Blend

2024 04 03 Dotm Jo Dal Makhani
Dal Mahkani (Curry of the Day) from Lily’s Deli in Chorlton (£5.99) Image: Confidentials

Curry of the Day (Dal Mahkani), Lily’s Deli, Chorlton (£5.99)

You can’t argue with curry and rice for £6.99. That’s not much more than a sandwich meal deal.

Admittedly there’s no fine china, just a cardboard box. It’s full of a hearty, warming curry and fluffy rice. Portions are generous and although it’s difficult to eat from a container of limited structural integrity without spraying rice all over the table, when something’s this good, Debrett’s can do one. There are three vegetarian specials to choose from every day and the dal makhani is a winner.

Kidney beans aren’t usually a favourite. They’re rarely the star, more often the backing band, like in a traditional chilli con carne. However this was feisty without being fiery. There was a richness to the sauce that belied the budget price and more texture than a lentil dal.

Yes, the picture does look like brown slop. But as everyone knows, brown food tastes the best.

Jo Milligan  

2024 04 03 Dotm Hayden Roast
Three Meat Roast, Toby Carvery​, Bolton (£13.79) Image: Confidentials

Three Meat Roast, Toby Carvery, Bolton (£13.79)

It was the night after the rather boozy launch of a tremendous new venue, Maya. I had a christening to attend but could only perpetually puppet myself through the ceremony (sorry Kyle/Raych).

Leaving feeling worse for wear and with blood vessels still burst from the night before I felt the only thing that could heal me was a selection of thinly sliced meats, over cooked veg and something resembling ‘pub coke’… you know the type, tastes of syrup and bubbles. 

So yes, fuck it. My dish of the month is a Toby Carvery. My meats you ask? I spotted the end of the gammon and gave a cheeky, “could I have the last of that AND lamb and beef”. This particular Toby Carvery in Bolton, was like eating in the house from Saltburn or Downton, an 18th century country house now dedicated to cutting meat so thin you could use it as tracing paper. 

Anyway, the food hit the spot, and besides - I rather enjoy being the people’s champion of Dish of the Month. 

Hayden Naughton  @HaydenNaughton

2024 04 03 Dotm Hayden Carvery
A particularly fancy interior of a Toby Carvery Image: Confidentials

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