Piles of peas, fishy fashion and clucking legends

CARNIVORES rule this month. Beef features more than once, both flashed over fire and slow cooked. Fish has wings, chicken is pressed, peas are split and prawns get battered. Here are the dishes our writers recommend are definitely worth trying this month.

2019 10 01 Best Brisket Modern Caterer

Braised Brisket - The Modern Caterer at The Whitworth (£11)

If you ask me about comfort food, I will immediately plump for slow-cooked brisket. This is hardly an eyebrow-raising choice. What is surprising is that I found it on the menu of an art gallery café, something I associate more with cellophane-wrapped sandwiches and scones galore. The Modern Caterer at the Whitworth does like to break the mould a bit on that front. Their brisket, however, is pretty old fashioned. It is braised slowly, which breaks down the collagen in the connective tissue in the muscle and makes everything rich and tender. It is in no way refined – it’s too hunky and chunky for that – but it will definitely help build up some winter padding. Underneath the Fred Flintstone-sized portion of meat you can spot the bubble and squeak, which is a bit looser in texture than a bubble, meaning it soaked up all that delicious red wine gravy all the more effectively. Comfortingly traditional. Lucy Tomlinson

The Modern Caterer, The Whitworth Art Gallery, Oxford Road, M15 6ER

2019 10 01 Best Creameries Split Pea Chips

Split Pea Chips - The Creameries (£4)

I know, I know. Are you really going to stick your neck out and put four Jenga-stacked chips with a brown sauce swirl down as your dish of the month? Yes. Yes I am. And here’s why: it’s very rare that food surprises me, and this innocuous looking small plate from Mary-Ellen McTague did just that. Split pea chips with mushroom ketchup. These little guys are a crispy delight on the outside, and so very soft, savoury, almost mallowy on the inside. How Ms McTague manages to get these gorgeous creatures to behave during the cooking process is beyond me. Such a suavely smooth purée can’t possibly keep its shape during the process of deep-frying, can it? Well, tame them she does and these wily little minxes arrive calmly stacked and ready to blow your mind with a good bit of dipping action into rich mushroom ketchup. They were served to us as part of her Thursday-night supper menu for £35, or you can order them as a bar snack for £4. I’ll be there next time, at the bar, with seven orders of the things, making myself a full-size stack of Jenga heaven. Claire Woodier

The Creameries, 406 Wilbraham Road, Chorlton, M21 0SD

2019 10 01 Best Skate Wing Fin

Skate Wing - Fin, Mackie Mayor (£14.50)

You nip into Mackie Mayor food hall for a break, sit at your table with your Blackjack beer, look up and you’re in love. There’s a woman opposite wearing the most delicious-looking fish on her plate. “Is that a skate wing?” you say dry-mouthed. “Yes,” she says, “it’s good.” There’s nothing for it but to give in. I like Fin, the fish provider in Mackie Mayor. It’s my favourite food outlet there. And this skate wing was spectacular, cooked lightly and faultlessly with a fine mayo and some gloriously charred greens. The beurre in the sauce was delicious and the flesh itself slid off the bones with a warm hello. It was a fine, elegant late lunch. Jonathan Schofield

Fin, Mackie Mayor, 1 Eagle Street, M4 5BU

2019 10 01 Best Federal Eggs Corn

Cheddar Corn Fritters with Bacon - Federal (£11.50)

Breakfast out on a Sunday morning always feels like a touch of extravagance and Federal is widely regarded as one of the finest purveyors of ‘eggs and friends’ in our city. That’s why they successfully opened a second branch this year and also why you still have to be patient if you want a table. Hungover and hangry, patience is not a quality I possess in buckets at the best of times, but I was glad I had gritted my teeth, given the harassed host my name and gone for a 20-minute stroll when I was eventually seated on my return and presented with this joyous mound of flavour. The corn fritters themselves are the star, full of savoury depth, interesting texture and way more fun than toast. But drizzled with sweet chilli and cucumber ‘sop’, layered with mashed avocado and crispy bacon (which you can switch for smoked salmon or skip entirely if you prefer) and then crowned with two expertly poached eggs, well, I’m salivating just writing this. A puddle of lime-spiked sour cream upped the Mexican fiesta feel. Add a bonza Aussie-approved coffee on the side and you know you’re doing Sunday right. Kelly Bishop

Federal, 194 Deansgate, M3 3ND

2019 10 01 Best Mamucium Pressed Chicken

Pressed Goosnargh Chicken Terrine - Mamucium (£9)

To recommend a dish from Umezushi appeals as the elegiac thing to do. Before the month’s out, the sushi sorcerers will have quit their arch home near Victoria for good - I remember my August tip was their razor clams. Instead, a chicken dish from a restaurant even closer to the station. Given the Latin derivation of its name, ‘tit-like hill’ (Manchester’s original site) it really ought to showcase a breast. A true test of a chef, though, is a terrine starter and Mamucium head chef Andrew Green stays tight to his classical training. Leek and diced chicken thigh bonding lightly, moist from a tarragon emulsion, sharpness added to the plate by intense blobs of prune and rosemary oil. A potato croute stands guard over it. The bird used is a ‘Goozna’, the iconic brand curated (as they didn’t say then) 30 years ago when Paul Heathcote, returning to his native Lancashire, persuaded Reg Johnson to corn feed poultry for him French style. Goosnargh chicken is inevitably on the menu at Heathcote’s new Bolton venture, The Northern. Still a clucking legend. Neil Sowerby

Mamucium, Hotel Indigo, 6 Todd Street, M3 1WU

2019 10 01 Best Baraxturi Steaks

Rubia Gallega Sirloin on the Bone - Baratxuri (£68/kg)

“Hey, you know that Galician Txuleton beef that you thought was fantastic at Levanter?” asked Joe Botham the proprietor of both Ramsbottom venues. “Well now we’ve found something even better.” That’s pretty much how to make me an offer I can’t refuse. Joe and head chef Rachel Stockley chewed their way though north west Spain to find the absolute best a carnivore can get. At £68 a kilo, it’s not cheap, but on our mid-week visit, the steaks were flying out of this neighbourhood comedor left, right and centre.  

Baratxuri's new meat on the block is the highest grade sirloin from minimum six-year-old, 100 per cent grass-fed Rubia gallega dairy cows, dry aged for at least 35 days and regarded as some of the very best beef in the world. Joe imports whole sides and butchers them in house to ensure quality and keep the costs down a little. One will easily serve two people. Once ordered, they take them out of the cooler and let them get up to temperature for 45 minutes before briefly flashing them over hot embers and serving blue along with a huge tomato salad and salty flash-fried padron peppers. Rich and almost buttery, the fat is as much a star as the meat. Deanna Thomas

Baratxuri, 1 Smithy Street, Ramsbottom, BL0 9AT

2019 10 01 Best Adam Reid French

Grilled Cornish cod, Elderflower Hollandaise and Fried Beans - Adam Reid at The French (£90 as part of the tasting menu)

This is best described as perfection on a plate. Imagine, if you will, the most opalescent white fish fillet with just plucked greens and the buttercup-hued Champagne of the sauce world - and you’re still a several steps in the wrong direction. Every mouthful is so balanced and so downright delicious that the only improvement I can come up with is a helicopter ride home piloted by Prince William. Ruth Allan

Adam Reid at The French, The Midland Hotel, Peter Street, M60 2DS

2019 10 01 Best Sweet Sour Prawns Rice Bowl

Sweet and Sour King Prawns - The Rice Bowl (£12.95)

The Rice Bowl on Cross Street does all the stalwarts of British Hong Kong cooking and it would be a mistake not to visit the ‘old-fashioned’ staples here. In fact, it would be a mistake of epic proportions not to pay attention to the sweet and sour dishes out of modern day beardy millennial food snobbery as, in particular, the sweet and sour king prawns are, well, extravagantly fucking gorgeous. Neither the fruit nor the veg come out of a can and neither does the sauce. The prawns are definitely of royal lineage, battered and deep fried with a technique that leaves them as pink as a panther; sweet, explosive with flavour and all brought into a focus sharper than a David Bailey photograph hanging in the National Portrait Gallery.  

It really is sweet and sour. Like a fantastic ‘sweet’ Sauternes from Bordeaux, acidity balances out the fruit, resulting in Yin and Yang in harmony. It’s not gloop. It’s a truly lovely dish. Go, take yourself back a few years to when Chinese meals didn’t have to be a Bushtucker Trial to see who the hardest know-it-all foodie in the office is. Gordo

The Rice Bowl, 33a Cross Street, M2 1NL

Liked that? Here’s the best dishes roundup from last month.