Confidential struggles to find a better city centre lunch deal
We’re in Spinningfields on a weekday lunchtime with a tenner in our pocket and an empty belly growling to be given the attention it has been accustomed to. Where do we end up? At Artisan, the dependable offshoot of Living Ventures, where we discover that guests dining during the week between 12-3pm can indulge in two decent-sized courses with a soft drink, a glass of wine or a beer - for only £9.95.
Unlike places that try and fill lunchtime seats with dishes that are cheap and not particularly cheerful, Artisan’s kitchen hasn’t stinted on the menu, offering a varied choice of five starters and five main courses. Even the simplest sounding starter ‘garlic bread with cheese’, turned out to a generously proportioned wood fired flatbread made from the same dough they make for their signature pizzas.
Asparagus and tender young kale involved a trio of plump stems drizzled with fresh mint infused hollandaise sauce. No corners were cut on the falafel either – three warm spiced chickpea balls rolled in sesame seeds and served with crème fraiche, harissa and slivers of radish. Thick and almost buttery potato wedges dusted in paprika salt, were refreshed by a cool dip in a pot of sour cream and chives. The final express starter of watermelon, beetroot and stilton salad, walnut dressing was so comprehensive, it would arguably have made a decent lunch on its own.
The five main courses span across light and hearty – depending on your plans for the rest of the afternoon. Classic Caesar salad with avocado is buoyed by chunky toasted croutons and Parmesan shavings or you can choose a parcel filled with plump seafood and new potatoes in an aromatic Thai red curry sauce.
Asparagus and mascarpone ravioli with sweet potato makes a comforting vegetarian main course but the more carnivorous diner can indulge in half a roast chicken, marinated in garlic and herbs with rice. Unbelievably, Artisan’s express lunch menu also includes a 6oz rump steak with chips chargrilled to order.
Artisan already has established a great reputation for its 20 foot bar and carefully crafted cocktails, now it looks like it’s going to be the first port of call at lunchtime too with this pretty incredible deal.
Artisan, Avenue North, 18-22 Bridge Street Manchester, M3 3BZ