From French toast to Italian gelato and Japanese ramen... we get about

We care not that we are in a false spring and that the blue skies and cool breeze might soon make way for seasonal huddles under an umbrella and subsequent wet patches. We might not have put our winter coats away yet, nor fully swapped stews and comfort food for salads, but we have definitely donned our sunnies and enjoyed some lighter bites this month.

Here are the seven things our team of food and drink writers highly recommend you try this month...

2019 02 27 Best Dishes White Swan Micouit

The White Swan at Fence – Salmon mi-cuit (from £55 tasting menu)

Are we all ready to endure the Project Fear diet of Spam and turnips when No Deal Brexit slashes our supply chains? I’m already stockpiling gourmet essentials ahead of the Anchovy Apocalypse. Which leads this ardent Remainer to the key role sourcing plays in sustaining a top restaurant. And that’s what the Swan, despite its dowdy village pub plumage, is… with its glittering new Michelin star and daily changing five course tasting menus, always featuring a couple of fish dishes. One day it might be turbot on your plate, gigha halibut the next, always treated with a reverence for freshness. Symbiotic supplier is the wonderful Wellgate Fisheries in Clitheroe, whose clients also include Northcote and the Freemasons at Wiswell. En route to the White Swan we popped into the shop to ogle their fish slabs, whetting the appetite for the turbot ahead and, as a show-stealing prelude, a tranche of organic salmon belly – served mi-cuit, i.e. gently cured. Frozen dill buttermilk and apple contributed to the dish’s sublime freshness and a hit of English wasabi kickstarted the tastebuds. Who needs a trade deal with Japan? Neil Sowerby. 300 Wheatley Lane Road, Fence, Burnley BB12 9QA

Dishoom Keema Breakfast

Keema Per Eedu (£9.50), Dishoom

Dishoom’s breakfast curry, Keema Per Eedu (£9.50), is the kind of thing you look at on a menu and think, nah… that’ll never work. Described as a ‘Parsi power breakfast’, it’s basically a bowl of curried chicken mince pocked with a clutch of perfectly tender chicken livers. Two fried eggs shimmer on top concealing a pocket of homemade crisps - I couldn’t believe it either! - and the whole thing comes with two brioche-like buttered buns on the side. All the twos, just for you. Finish the lot and you’ll either be in food coma, or smashing targets for the next three weeks. Ruth Allan32 Bridge St, Manchester M3 3BT

2019 02 19 Taste It Salford Photo 2019 02 19 16 44 48

Pistachio gelato, Taste IT (from £2.50)

I love meeting producers, passionate experts of their trade, people who have been perfecting their craft for years and become more enthusiastic the longer they do it for. Their infectious joy inspires a new respect for simple things. So the discovery this month of an Italian couple churning out the most incredible, traditional ice cream from a tiny corner on Blackfriars Road was like finding a diamond in a coalmine. Gelataio femminile, Simona Ferraioli, studied at the University of Taste in Perugia, then at the Italian School of Gelato to become an ice cream queen. She talks about flavour, texture, seasonal ingredients and timing to the nth degree. I tried some of her exquisite hazelnut ice cream (my favourite) that was satisfyingly chewy, followed by a pistachio gelato, made from Sicilian Brontë nuts, which had just been freshly churned. It was smooth, luxurious, silky and almost buttery - different to the ‘48hr aged’ hazelnut. It was also as removed from Mr Whippy as I am from Kate Moss….but then I suppose that’s because of all the ice cream. Deanna Thomas69 Blackfriars Road, Salford M3 7DB

2019 02 28 French Toast Takk

French Toast, Takk (£7.50)

Never heard of University Green? Well it's the £50m rebrand of the bit of grass that used to be next to University Precinct (which some of you may remember fondly as the home of Happiness Sandwich, aka the cheapest butties in the North West). While value sandwiches may be a thing of the past, a range of trendy new food outlets has sprung up overnight like a fairy-ring of hipster mushrooms. After spending a delightful lunch hour in the sun trying to decide between the myriad new options, I investigated Takk, an outpost of the Northern Quarter Scandilicious brunch spot. Their savoury French toast is a sophisticated take on the Girl Guides' favourite eggy bread, layered with smashed beetroot, mushroom, tomato and a sprinkling of greens. Finish with one of their massive oatmeal cookies and a lazy afternoon in the sun for the upgraded university experience. Lucy Tomlinson. 138 Oxford Rd, University Green, Manchester M13 9GP

Gaucho Scallops Best Dish

Scallops, Gaucho (£15.95)

Dived scallops, fried, crumbled chorizo, blood sausage, spicy orange sauce and grilled orange segments. Does Gordo need to say more? Well he does. Visiting Gaucho this week, one of the longest serving steak restaurants in the city, the Fat Man was looking for steak and chips. This Argentianian masterpiece has fallen behind Hawksmoor and Alston Bar and Beef over the past three years or so, and Gordo wanted to see how they were doing, having recently been rescued from going under. The place is looking good, although they’re having a makeover soon, by all accounts (scored review to follow). But in the meantime, let’s talk scallops. These came flash grilled and still translucent in the middle, fresh with a lovely vanilla back taste. The chorizo was pan-fried, with both sat on a bed of black pudding with a lovely, moist mouth feel and fresh orange tones. Stabbing a little of all those wondrous things with a fork and shovelling it in creates a cocktail-like flavour, all in harmony - and what’s more, these guys understand texture, because it’s there in spades with that crumbled chorizo. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a dish to walk past Hawksmoor for. Go, it's super! Gordo2A St Mary’s street, Manchester M3 2LB

Tokyo Ramen Shoyu

Shoyu Ramen, Tokyo Ramen (£11.75)

I'd tried twice to eat at Tokyo Ramen since Confidential's Sir Slurp, Neil Sowerby, said it was as good as anything he'd had in Japan (and he's probably been seventeen times... he gets about does our Neil). But each time I've tried there's been a sign on the door shouting 'SOLD OUT'. Either the person in charge of stocks needs a slap, I thought, or their steaming stockpot is really something special. And it is (just make sure to get there before 1pm). Beginning each day with a pile of chicken bones, my 'Shoyu' noodle broth has a tare (a base paste) of soy sauce infused with binchotan charcoal (a pricey white variety) and comes with three fatty slabs of pork belly, the customary half egg, a seaweed wafer, pickled mustard leaves and spring onion oil - which, the chef tells me, produces this almost alien-green hue. David Blake55 Church St, Manchester M4 1PD

02 28 2019 Albatross And Albert Dish

Lamb Cutlets (£12), Albatross and Arnold

Curious place Albatross and Arnold. If Barristers in Knutsford is the only ‘jurisprudence themed’ restaurant locally, then A&A is the only golf-themed one. I’ve always associated golf clubhouses with stupefying pompousness complete with a dress-code of yellow slacks and burgundy blazers rounded off with grotesque snobbery and school dinner fare. That was the case when I last visited the ghastly Mere golf club. The food in A&A is anything but school dinner, it looks superb, and is cooked beautifully and with refinement. Thus, the lamb cutlets were exquisite. I could have eaten twenty of them in a row. Cooked pinkily perfect and with a lovely cognac glaze they shone and were juicy and satisfying. Jonathan Schofield. Leftbank, Spinningfields, Manchester M3 3AN

Still hungry? Here's last month's best dishes.