Artisan says yes. And here are three good reasons why.....
It’s not just for show you know. Yes there’s a bit of drama involved in cooking food on a real fire, but there’s a lot more to it than just theatrics. Artisan in Spinningfields believes that for the doughiest pizzas and the best smoke-infused meat, there’s only one way to cook. Here are three of the most popular dishes cooked on their special wood-fired oven.
This much-loved dish is back on Artisan’s menu due to popular demand. Steamed mussels are popular all over the world, but here, they’re cooked in a very special way and are a bit of a show-stopper. Fresh mussels are delivered to the restaurant every day, washed in fresh water and scrubbed clean. They then go into a pan with a classic mix of shallots, chopped parsley, garlic and a white wine and cream sauce. This is then topped with a sealed crust made with some of Artisan’s special pizza dough, before being cooked in the wood burning oven for ten minutes. The dough seals in all the flavour, allowing the mussels to steam open and the flavours to intensify. The finished dish is brushed with melted butter and brought to the table, so guests can cut it open it at the table to reveal an aromatic cloud of delicious seafood juices - the crust can be ripped off and used for dipping and scooping like no-one’s watching.
Chicken and chips
This isn’t any ordinary chicken and chips. Oh no, this is Artisan’s half roast chicken with garlic and herbs, served with crispy, golden fries. Cooking the chicken in the wood fired oven really does impart something extra that regular ovens simply don’t. It’s something about the juicy spatchcocked meat and the crispy skin, marinated in a mixture of good olive oil, garlic and herbs, together with the slightly smoky char imparted via the cooking process. Even better news is that a version of this is available on Artisan’s fantastic value lunchtime deal. You can now order a main course of harissa glazed half chicken, with wild rice and quinoa as part of their ‘two courses and a drink for £10.95’ menu. That beats a meal deal any day of the week.
We’ve tried to choose one of Artisan’s pizzas as an example, but can’t agree on which is our favourite; duck and hoi sin, goats cheese and balsamic roasted beetroot or the carbonara with shredded ham hock, Grana Panado, crispy bacon and a perfectly runny egg. Whichever one of the eight pizza toppings on the menu that you go for, it’s all really about the base. Artisan prepares and slow-prove batches of dough from scratch every day before bunging them in the oven the same way Italians have been doing since they invented the very first pizza. The wood-fired oven hits the ideal temperature for cooking pizza, imparting a slightly smoky flavour and creating the perfect conditions for creating a crispy, perfectly bubbled crust.
Artisan, The Avenue, 18-22 Bridge St, Manchester M3 3BZ