Harley Young discovers an unassuming delight in Urmston
On an inconspicuous street in Urmston sits the even more inconspicuous Örme. The name comes from the origin of the town, said to have come from Orme Fitz Seward who was given the land back in the 12th century. He's still being given things. The restaurant has added an umlaut over the first letter of his name to change the pronunciation to 'Urme' just like the town.
But enough of the old stuff. What’s here, right now, on the present foodie scene is much more interesting. Besides, we can leave the Manchester history lessons to Jonathan Schofield - he’s far more knowledgeable than I am on the subject.
The menu changes fairly frequently… but I’m fairly certain that whatever you’re presented with you will thoroughly enjoy as much as I did
On entering Örme you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for somebody’s front room. Its simplistic, light-coloured wood furnishings and navy blue walls make it feel like you’re in a Scandi cafe as opposed to sitting in a shopping parade in a housing estate in Urmston. It’s tasteful and minimal with just a few pictures of Manchester scenery by local artists - a subtle theme which complements the limited amount of space in the living room-sized restaurant. Despite making great use of the limited amount of space, managing to accommodate around 10 tables at a time, Örme doesn’t feel at all crowded or claustrophobic.
We settled on a sweet rose wine and were presented with a bottle of Lyme Bay Shoreline - an English wine from Devon. A welcome and refreshing tipple after a long day at work (it’s a hard job, eating all this food, but someone’s gotta do it).
Our first course swiftly followed, and what a sight to behold it was. Two generously sized truffle and chive milk loaves, still warm from the oven, with a smooth and enticing wooden bowl filled with herb butter which melded with the dough to give a salty-sweet richness.
Two chef snacks were also served at the same time; a delectably crispy haggis hash brown with a small dollop of black truffle mayo (I could’ve eaten about 20 of these in quick succession, it was absolutely fantastic) and a pea and ricotta spring roll - probably the most lush yet healthy spring roll to ever exist.
Though I wanted to save room for the main event, there was no way in hell I was leaving any of the delightfully fluffy loaf behind. Warm bread needs to be eaten as such. Those are the rules, I don’t make them.
Indie music softly plays over the restaurant. My ears pricked up as I recognised songs that soundtracked my teen years. I’d never had a fine dining experience where I’ve felt the need to tap my foot and hum along to the tunes, until now. As the playlist progresses it’s banger after banger, from more obvious choices like The Courteeners and Catfish & The Bottlemen to more obscure, lesser-known artists like Spector and Peace that younger, hipster me thought I was dead trendy for listening to. (I'm told that Adam Reid at The French in the Midland has a similar sound track.)
It was time for the second course; sweet and sour red pepper with Yorkshire fettle cheese and mint. A colourful and playful dish that I was sad to finish. The slight chalkiness of the fettle complemented the sweet, oozy, syrupy red pepper sauce it sat on. It reminded me of an artist’s palette, adorned with vibrant shades of crimson, hints of green and splodges of creamy white which blended together to make a fiery orange when scooped with a spoon.
The third dish was a sight for sore eyes, too. A fair sized portion of Scottish mussels topped with a warm, creamy pea and picked dill sauce that cut through the fishiness and left a fresh taste in the mouth. I’m not a huge fan of mussels, or any type of mollusc for that matter, but these were perfect with just the right amount of chewiness and not a grain of silt or sand in sight. There’s nothing worse than the gritty feeling between your teeth you get with incorrectly prepared mussels; something I didn’t have to worry about at Örme.
Then it was the sticky beef rib with tomato, beef fat and Old Winchester as my supplement dish (£9). Though this dish wasn’t much of a looker, it made up for it in flavour. A simple-yet-effective plate of ribs that melted away when they touched the mouth, topped with a hearty portion of molten cheese for a sharp bite; similar to a Philly cheese steak but way sexier and so rich you only need a few mouthfuls.
The main event came in the form of the ‘Brightside Mancunian’ glazed chicken crown which was served with slithers of courgette and Polyspore’s mushrooms (as the menu tells) and a small medallion of chicken sausage. A rich and filling dish despite its size. The chicken sausage was well seasoned and had a slightly charred texture to the outside. The piece of chicken crown was probably the smoothest, most succulent piece of chicken I’d ever eaten.
By this point I was, admittedly, very full - I blame myself for not willing to let the gorgeous miniature loaves from the first course go to waste.
My partner opted for the buffalo blue with brown butter and hazelnut cake, served with BBQ peach ketchup for his supplement. A simple and understated dish that provided a great combination of textures and flavours when combined. The sharp and unmistakable tang from the blue cut through by the crumbly and sweet hazelnut cake, finishing strong with a final sweet zing from the peach ketchup.
Roasted white chocolate with a blackcurrant granita was served to cleanse the palate. I winced as my choco-phobic partner took his first mouthful, wondering how we’d managed to get along for all these years being on such opposite ends of the chocolate love-hate spectrum. He swallowed then took another bite…then another. “Bloody lovely” in his words.
“You do realise there’s white chocolate in that don’t you?” I asked. He shook his head in disbelief, surprised that he’d managed to thoroughly enjoy a dish containing one of his most hated foods. High praise.
Now, for my favourite course; dessert. Given the choice I’d normally go for something overly chocolatey and sickly on a menu. I’m the sort of person who can’t leave a restaurant without a sweet treat at the end.
So, when I saw that lemon thyme baked custard with raspberries and toasted barley crackers was the finale, I wasn’t expecting to be half as satisfied as I was. The custard was light and bouncy with a creamy, lightly sweetened flavour helped along by a fresh and fruity punch from the raspberries. The toasted barley cracker gave that necessary crunch needed to complete the texture trio (without getting shards all stuck in your teeth).
I feel as though my mind has completely changed in regards to needing a dessert to be overly sweet and rich.
In the evening, Örme serves their six-course tasting menu (£45). There’s an option to add on a drinks pairing (£35 to £50) as well as additional supplement dishes for the smaller price of around £8-10 per dish.
The menu changes fairly frequently, so it’s best to check their website to see what’s on offer when you’re planning your visit. Although, I’m fairly certain that whatever you’re presented with you will thoroughly enjoy as much as I did.
Örme, 218 Church Road, Urmston, M41 9DX
Follow Harley Young on Twitter @Harley__Young
All scored reviews are unannounced, impartial, paid for by Confidentials and completely independent of any commercial relationship. They are a first-person account of one visit by one, knowledgeable restaurant reviewer and don't represent the company as a whole.
Venues are rated against the best examples of their type: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: Netflix and chill, 10-11: if you’re passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: cooked by God him/herself.
Truffle & chive milk loaf with chef snacks 9, sweet & sour red pepper with Yorkshire fettle 9, Scottish mussels 8, Sticky beef rib 8, brightside Mancunian glazed chicken crown 9, buffalo blue with hazelnut cake 7, roasted white chocolate with blackcurrant granita 9, lemon thyme baked custard with barley cracker 9
Wonderfully attentive staff, always on hand to top up our cutlery and keep our wine glasses full.
A lovely ambience, cosy and inviting yet well lit and airy. It would have been a perfect score if not for the slight cold breeze when sitting near the back door.