Ou d’ànec, xipirons, tàrtar... plus some other things we can pronounce

Sunshine and showers have us sheltering with soup one minute and sweltering with salads the next. The wide range of dishes recommended by our writing team this week is so eclectic, there’s almost no pattern to it. On the upside though, it does reflect how lucky we are to have such a wide range of very different, but equally fantastic restaurants on our doorstep.

Here are seven cracking dishes Confidential recommends you try this month.

2018 08 03 Tast Review Gordo Img 4445

Ou d’ànec, xipirons, salsa, tàrtar - Tast Catala (£11)

That’s fried duck egg, baby squid (calamari style), soufflé potato, (Connaught Hotel style) and Catalonian tartar sauce to you and me. It comes looking fit, then you get a knife and fork and 'mess it up' - chop the whole thing into bits and get stuck into Catalonian heaven. This is what your mum would be cooking for you as a Sunday treat if you were waking up in the same village as Salvador Dali did, Figueres, sixteen miles south of the French border. Gordo would have this every day if he could. Tast is indeed the thinking man's Spanish restaurant. Catalan food is different to both French and Spanish; this dish is a great example. Tast may well be the dark horse of the Mancunian Michelin hopefuls in the next couple of years. Gordo

20 - 22 King Street, Manchester, M2 6AG

2019 02 04 Moorcock Razor Clams

Razor clams with wild garlic - Moorcock Inn at Norland (£10) 

If you’re paying two quid plus postage for 50g of organic wild garlic you ought to get out more. Plucking some wilting greens from a package? No way. Grab a bag and take a walk in woods heady with that ‘ramson’ aroma. Even the feeblest forager is going to run across an abundance of the stuff, now at the height of its season. It’s at its purest bordering streams (providing it’s not a popular pooch route). Then comes the quandary of what to do with your glut. Pesto? Soup? Frittata? At the Moorcock, (No.4 in Confidential’s Top 100 Restaurants In The North), they accompany plump razor clams with an emulsion of their own cultured butter, teeming with the garlic leaves. Simple as that. Order it from the bar menu blackboard with a stash of their own sourdough to mop up the rich, garlicky juices. Neil Sowerby

Moorcock Inn, Moor Bottom Lane, Norland, Sowerby Bridge HX6 3RP

2019 02 04 Lenclume Mushroom Ragout

Mushroom, ragout and blackcurrant - L’Enclume (part of the £59 lunch tasting menu) 

There’s something special about this dish – and it’s not the fact that it’s served in a hand-molded vessel that appears to be made from dung. Or that it’s the texture of heaven and colour of earth. It’s the fact that it is the single most mushroomy thing I’ve ever eaten. It’s no surprise really: chef-patron, Simon Rogan, has a flair for flavour. His coal oil, for example, sold in his eponymous shop just around the corner from L’Enclume, is so charcoaly that the merest drizzle makes broccoli taste like the finest kebab on earth. This new dish sees him work similar, flavour-focused magic on 'shrooms. A bed of lamb ragout provides comparatively light relief, the dusting of berries a fairytale touch. Honestly, this is so clever, but like the best works of art it doesn’t shout about it. Ruth Allan

Cavendish St, Cartmel, Grange-over-Sands LA11 6QA 

2019 02 04 Tacos Peter St Kitchen

Mayan-spice marinated chicken tacos – Peter Street Kitchen (£5)

When Peter Street Kitchen opened in the Radisson Blu Edwardian it was a head-scratcher. The neo-Classical room suddenly had a rough wooden shack installed and weird wall panels that looked like recycled grey hair. The menu was equally bizarre, a schizophrenic split between Japanese on one side and Mexican on the other. Why do this? I have asked frequently but I’m still no wiser. I cannot see any affinity between the two cuisines, which is not to say there aren’t some excellent dishes - proven on my last visit by a beautiful pair of soft tacos. These were made up of gently spiced marinated chicken lifted with coriander, black lime, and glued together with pepper mayo and garlic salsa. Every part of this dish worked, including the lovely soft tacos. They were a great intro to me asking yet another waiter, “So run the reason for this Japanese/Mexican combo menu by me again...” Jonathan Schofield

Radisson Blu Edwardian, Peter Street, Manchester, M2 5GP

2019 02 04 Wow Yau Chow Belly Rice Bowl

Belly Rice Bowl - Wow Yau Chow (£5.75)

Tempted by Ruth Allan's recent review of Wow Yau Chow, I took a break from Mother's Day celebrations consisting heavily of National Trust merch and cake, and treated myself to something I really wanted to eat: a selection of ‘British Chinese’ bits and bobs that included, yes, a plate of chips. My favourite was the belly rice bowl, sticky rice topped with fragrant, star anise-infused braised pork belly, vibrant and sour pickled vegetables and a mysteriously named 'salty egg' (I don't know what exactly made it salty, but it was darn good). Fun, easy, filling and the antithesis of a tea-towel and box of Milk Tray. Lucy Tomlinson

59 Stamford New Rd, Altrincham WA14 1DS

2019 03 15 Sardus Malloreddus 3

Malloreddus – Sardus Vinoteca (£11.80) 

When I was little I used to come into Manchester every Saturday morning for ballet lessons, after which my mum would take me for lunch. The fact I remember the lunches more than the ballet sums me up, but one of my favourite places to eat was Pizzeria Italia on the corner of Deansgate and Blackfriars. I ordered Spaghetti Bolognaise every single week, pleading for the waiters to pile on a centimetre thick crust of real Parmesan cheese (which was usually only available as stale sprinklings from a carton at that time.) That Bolognaise was magical. None other has come close since. It had an almost can’t-put-my-finger-on-it creaminess, the result of some kind of chemical reaction based on the sum of the ingredients over slow cooking, multiplied by generations of nonna’s recipes. 

Anyway, my point is that the unfortunately named 'malloreddus', from Sardinian restaurant and bar Sardus Vinoteca on King Street West (and available at it’s sister Cucina in Altrincham), had a similar quality that took me back to that childhood dish. Small dumpling-shaped pasta, perfectly designed with grooves to soak up a rich ragu made with tomato, pork sausages, herbs, magic, comfort, love and nostalgia. Deanna Thomas

124 King Street West, Manchester, M3 2GQ

Lets Fress Deli

The £5 Sunday special - Let's Fress Deli

I've had some belting meals in some pretty classy gaffs this month. But we've had enough posh above, so my best dish this time comes from a little-known (outside the Jewish community, anyway) deli in Whitefield. It's called Let's Fress Deli and you'll find it amongst a scattering of salons and solicitors on Bury Old Road. Here you'll find one of Manchester's best brekkie/brunch deals, the '£5 Sunday special', with a take-out carrier bag containing six bagels (probably the best in the city), smoked salmon, cream cheese, egg mayo and chopped herring. For an extra fiver they'll chuck in twenty cocktail fish balls and some tuna cutlets. Now that's a proper feed. Everything comes home-made, where possible, and just really, really, bloody tasty. But don't go telling all your pals, it's a squeeze in there on Sundays as it is. David Blake

70 Bury Old Rd, Whitefield, Prestwich, Manchester M45 6TL

Like that? Here's last month's best dishes.