Harley Young visits a quaint and welcoming new restaurant in South Manchester
Having opened back in October of last year and swiftly settled into its neighbouring surroundings of Station Road, Owen’s Kitchen & Bar has fast become part of the furniture in the town. Almost like it was always there.
The invitingly tasteful decor welcomes you like a big hug from an old friend. It balances the line between cosy and classy very well.
Owen’s Kitchen & Bar is a real asset to Urmston’s now thriving offering of foodie hotspots
Downstairs there’s enough seating for about 25 covers, plus a quaint bar with all the spirits you’d need to make a quality cocktail. Each table has its own free-standing wine cooler ready and waiting for you. Upstairs, there’s even more seating and upcycled old-timey decorations like vintage record players - it’s all very coherent and well thought out.
To drink, my partner Dave ordered a glass of house white wine while I opted for a non-alcoholic gin and tonic. He described the wine as refreshing and delicate and my alcohol-free tipple was very convincing, well balanced with just enough botanicals to fool you into thinking you were drinking something stronger.
Starting things off, I ordered the goat's cheese and pear salad with crushed walnuts and honey and thyme dressing; a generously-portioned starter with a nicely-spiced slither of pear and greens on a plentiful bed of whipped goats cheese. This dish served well as an introduction to what was to come and was beautifully presented. The honey and thyme dressing provided a sweet-savoury smoothness, cutting through the chalkiness of the goat's cheese.
Dave went for the chicken liver and cognac pate with spiced winter chutney and herb croute. This dish had plenty of flavour but the pate didn’t spread too easily, perhaps it needed thawing out for slightly longer before being served. It didn’t distract from the taste, though.
For my main, I chose the woodland chicken with mushroom and tarragon sauce, served with a rather delectable portion of parmesan truffled roasties; these were like drugs - I simply couldn’t get enough of them. The chicken fell off the bone and was of high quality, no gristly bits that you can often get with cheaper reared chickens. I finished every last mouthful and wished I’d ordered an extra portion of the truffled roasties (available as a side for £5.50) out of pure greed.
Dave chose the medallions of Cheshire pork with squash puree, prosciutto and sage crisps along with another generous helping of parmesan truffled roasties - secretly, I hoped he’d leave one behind so I could steal it but he polished the lot off. The presentation of the pork medallions was very artistic and pleasant, the flavour even moreso.
By now, we were feeling rather full and plump after a hearty two courses, but we managed to set aside just enough room in our stomachs for dessert.
I chose the salted caramel profiteroles with chocolate chips and a berry coulis. A sweet and picturesque dish but it lacked personality which the other two courses had in abundance. The profiteroles were more like dough balls - not unpleasant by any stretch of the imagination, but not quite what I was expecting from the dish.
My partner went with the Prosecco poached pear served with walnuts and a scoop of berry sorbet. The pear was served cold rather than warm, perhaps to complement the sorbet better and to retain the boozy-ness of the Prosecco, but, being a winter dish, it would have probably been more pleasant heated up.
The rotating seasonal menus are small but well thought out, meaning that heart and soul is poured into each and every one of the dishes. All of which is reasonably priced and you’ll always leave full.
Overall, our experience was nothing short of wonderful. The warm decor and even warmer welcome you receive when walking through the door shows that Owen’s Kitchen & Bar is a real asset to Urmston’s now thriving offering of foodie hotspots.
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Venues are rated against the best examples of their type. What we mean by this is a restaurant which aspires to be fine dining is measured against other fine dining restaurants, a mid-range restaurant against other mid-range restaurants, a pizzeria against other pizzerias, a teashop against other teashops, a KFC against the contents of your bin. You get the message.
Given the above, this is how we score: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: sigh and shake your head, 10-11: if you’re passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: nothing's that good is it?
Chicken liver pate 6.5, goats cheese salad 7.5, woodland chicken 8.5, pork medallions 8, salted caramel profiteroles 5.5, poached pear 4