Some of our writers choose their favourite meals from March

With spring having officially sprung it's the time of year that restaurants start to alter their menus and consider cracking out the parasols. But before we all turn to food as a means of soaking up four bottles of rosé, let's look back at some of the food that got some of our writers through that funny month of March. 

Pho Cue Soft Shell Crab
Salt and pepper soft shell crab at Pho Cue Vietnamese Kitchen Image: Pho Cue Vietnamese Kitchen

Salt and pepper soft shell crab, Pho Cue Vietnamese Kitchen (£7)

Nothing inflames the appetite like a trip around a museum. At the end of an afternoon of queueing and viewing the Golden Mummies of Egypt exhibition my mind was elsewhere, hovering over a bowl of pho. But while it was the promise of Pho Cue’s raw beef broth that sustained me through the thronging museum crowds, it’s the soft shell crab that’s stuck with me.

Entombed like a delicious little pharaoh in a crispy but linen-light coating of potato starch, the crab is then cooked in a house blend of salt and pepper along with a trove of garlic, chillies, peppers and onions. When the crab is long-gone the onions keep you picking away at the plate until there’s little need for a dishwasher. To put it under ‘sharing bites’ is a kind of cruel joke, making you grin politely as you insist everyone get their share, when every instinct tells you to devour it whole like a greedy princeling.

David Adamson @davidadamson123

Platzki Rolanda
The rolada at Platski Image: Confidentials

The Rolada, Platzki (£24)

The ‘Rolada’ is a plate of pure hearty, meaty goodness. Dining at Platzki, I felt like I was in the kitchen of a Polish grandma that I never had. The homely yet rich dishes are all clearly made with love and the rolada is no exception.

This dish consists of Silesian beef, molded into a more-than-substantial-sized roll and stuffed with pickles, mustard, onion and pancetta before being doused in a jous and plated with a generous portion of Silesian potato dumplings and red cabbage - a carnivore's dream. 

The hefty portion sizes definitely feel like Platzki gives a motherly “eat up, it’s good for you” approach when building their mouthwatering meals, not forgetting the complementary garnishes that elevate each dish and change with the seasons, much like the menus.

Harley Young @Harley__Young

Riva Blu Dish
Mozzarella, pea and ham frittatina at Riva Blu, Corn Exchange Image: Confidentials

Mozzarella, pea and ham frittatina, Riva Blu at Corn Exchange (£7.95)

You may have heard of Gino d’Acampo, the narcissist chef who believes his arse is the fountain-head of sunbeams. He had a restaurant in The Corn Exchange, Manchester, called, Gino d’Acampo My Restaurant. Yes, really. Gino d’Acampo My Arse would have been a great alternative.

It was deeply ordinary and instead of pictures of Italian icons such as Gina Lollobrigida, Sophia Loren and jazz genius Paolo Conte he had the place covered in pictures of himself.

The new owners of the gaff have booted him out, re-branding as Riva Blu. I wandered in a couple of weeks ago having spotted the change on I loved the place when it was Zinc from Sir Terence Conran spending many a happy booze-addled hour there.

A starter dish called mozzarella, pea and ham frittatina was calling to me. I’d never heard of a frittatina. Given that I’m finding myself staring into my fridge more and more wondering what the hell I’m doing there, the frittatina challenge comes as no surprise.

It’s shaped like a whole camembert, encased in breadcrumbs; the filling was rigatoni pasta bound in a thick molten mozzarella cheese, pea and ham sauce, highly seasoned and finished with a good sprinkle of morphine*.

It was very naughty.

Topped with rocket, pesto and balsamic vinegar, you could have picked it up and eaten it with one hand, burger-like as long as the burger was in a proper bun, not one of those beardy brioche efforts that fall to pieces. Super-crunchy, thick outer coating with the filling sticky, not drippy, it was comfort food perfection. I literally laughed out loud. It was that good.

Next time I’m passing I’m going to nip in and scoff another. Or two.

*Just for the simpletons out there that bit was a porky.

Mark Garner @GordoManchester

Osma Roast Body
Sunday roast at Osma Image: Confidentials

Sunday roast, Osma (£18)

No, don’t contradict me, I’m telling you this is the finest Sunday roast from a restaurant in the city. It might be the best in the country. During the week Osma in Prestwich might have a Scandi theme (the name Osma plays on Oslo Manchester), but on Sunday the Anglo-Saxons shoo the Vikings away and the roast takes over. 

For a restaurant that prides itself on high-quality food providing Sunday roasts could be dangerous. Roasts are normally the downfall of restaurants and pubs. They are fundamentally a family dinner, ideal for smaller gatherings over one sitting. This is because exact timing is crucial as nobody wants solidifying Yorkshire puddings, stale roasties and the meat becoming flabby and chewy. Multiple sittings and a restaurant pass, in particular, are the death of the roast. 

Osma has the expertise to avoid the potential difficulties. Chef and co-owner Danielle Heron is currently a finalist in the BBC’s Great British Chef. Her roast at Osma is perfect, yes perfect. My lamb was a juicy delight (there’s a choice of beef, beef fillet (extra £5), chicken and a veg substitute) with excellent mint sauce while the trimmings were just as good. Vitally the Yorkshire pudding was the correct mix of firmness and yield just waiting for the gravy. The roast potatoes had a rich and crispy case. Speaking of the gravy you get a mini-saucepan of this Osma delight at a good temperature and the promise of more besides should you run out. 

 Jonathan Schofield @jonathschofield

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