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From bacon-flavoured kale to rhubarb & custard lemonade, this eclectic oasis has it all

Allotment’s motto is ‘something different’ - enter this grotto of fairy lights, wonky shelves and quirky knickknacks, you’ll see why. Countless nooks and crannies display everything from sepia photos to old gin bottles, while garden utensils hang on the walls beside paintings of fruit and veg. Add in olive accents, rustic wooden tables and plenty of greenery, and you have yourself a true horticultural haven.

But it’s not just the cosy interior that makes Allotment stand out. Menus are just as eclectic, from the drinks (we enjoyed a fresh rhubarb and custard lemonade) to the food.

With a new menu released quarterly, Confidential popped in to try out what’s new for March. While you’ll still find themed sharing boards - Butchers Best (meat), Gardeners Feast (veggie), By River by Sea (fish) and Sunday sharer - the main menu has had a spring revamp; promising a seasonal selection of small plates, puds and mains.

Being just two of us, we decided to try the mains another time (slow-cooked beef mac ‘n’ cheese is apparently a must) and instead opted for some small plates to share.  Again, these cater for everyone - hardcore vegan to committed carnivore - and are served from 12-9pm Mon-Sat and 12-7pm Sun. 

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First off, from the veggie section, garlic wild mushrooms with crispy bacon-flavoured kale. Amazingly, this is vegan, yet the ‘top secret’ bacon seasoning makes it taste just so. What with the super crispy kale (cooked at 150 degrees to preserve its greenness and crunch), mushrooms and a sprinkle of fresh parsley, it’s a joy.

We also enjoyed charred corn on the cob, another vegan fave, before moving onto Malvani coconut prawn curry: an aromatic Indian dish served with crispy handmade flatbread.

Onto meatier matters and two dishes which take an astonishing amount of preparation. Minted lamb chops are marinated for 24 hours before grilling, making them extra tender yet satisfyingly crispy, while the red wine jus takes four to five days. Both are served on a bed of broad beans, creating an earthy medley of texture and taste. 

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Minted lamb chops

Pork belly bites take a similar amount of preparation; marinated and seasoned before cooking, they’re glazed in honey and brandy for extra flavour, while the accompanying pork scratchings take two days to make. Dip in the cider and spiced apple sauce for full on flavour. 

We rounded off with the dessert trio to share - three sweet treats, each also available separately. Warm chocolate & cherry torte (vegan) is baked for three hours until slightly sticky in the middle, then drizzled with cherry syrup, while pistachio & vanilla ice cream cakes come with candied rhubarb and are best compared to semifreddo.

As for chocolate and orange mousse, it’s an indulgence of Callebaut chocolate, cocoa tuile and hazelnut brittle…a fitting end to our afternoon at Allotment.

Next time you’re in the Northern Quarter, do yourself a favour and try it (all).

See the menu


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