I’m lucky enough to have lovely neighbours who will also write guest posts for me! Smita, who makes and sells amazing jewellery at lapearle.co.uk was lucky enough to be at the preview dinner for James Martin Manchester at Manchester235 a couple of night’s ago and as it officially opens tonight it’s perfect timing to have a post about it; enjoy!
Well last night I got to hang out with the one and only Mr James Martin himself at the press evening for the launch of his exquisite new restaurant ‘James Martin Manchester’. Based in the heart of the city in the ever buzzing Manchester 235 Casino, it is the perfect hideaway location for an evening meal any day of the week. It was a treat to mother as she watches James Martin religiously every Saturday morning!
On arrival, we were greeted with flowing champagne and canapés which were a complete teaser as we were all still anticipating what was going to be served on the menu! There was a live piano player and singer in the background to set the mellow mood for the evening. The canapés were an exciting mix of tiny soft boiled quails eggs, placed on a ham pate and bruschetta base which really went down a treat. Just as we were sipping more champagne, the waiters served us delicate tea cups with crab risotto which was infused with jasmine, the fragrance was divine! I was really impressed with the combination of flavours and textures he had used which were presented wonderfully.
As we were talking amongst ourselves, one of the delightful hosts came and showed us to our seat. The place settings had been arranged beautifully and as we sat down, we were served with a selection of breads and butter with mini vintage style butter knives. Then there he was, James Martin himself dressed in a pristine white chef jacket and navy pinstripe apron greeting his friends and family. I must admit, I was slightly star struck!
He gave a short but amusing speech; he clearly felt at home being back up north! He explained what the starters were and a story on how he was inspired to come up with each dish. The waiters served us with a crisp white pinot grigio which went well with the starters. We had the choice between vanilla cured salmon with cucumber ketchup and pickled ginger or soft boiled egg with wild mushrooms served on crisp fried bread with what tasted like a mustard based mayonnaise. I opted for the latter and I can honestly say it didn’t last long!
Shortly after, just before the mains were served the host of Saturday Kitchen gave another short and insightful speech about the next course; we were being served with a rich red wine which complimented the mains. We had a choice of two courses, slow roast fillet of beef with Jacob’s ladder or plaice with sautéed shrimp served with braised carrots, parsley and pearl barley risotto. I chose the plaice as I don’t eat beef but both of them looked and tasted amazing (as I was told by my friend next to me!).
Then finally, the part of the evening I was looking forward to the most… The dessert! Usually, I skip the starters just so I can have enough room to indulge in a desert which has a few too many calories and by this point of the evening I was rather full. However, when the white chocolate and whiskey croissant butter pudding with single malt ice cream was served, it was beyond mouth watering.
It was a great finish to the three courses as it wasn’t too sweet and the ice cream really lightened the dish (and I wasn’t complaining about the hint of whiskey either!) James Martin isn’t releasing the full menu until Thursday 26th 2013 but I am excited to see what surprises he has in store. The host did tell me that there will be a good selection of meat, fish and vegetarian options to cater for everyone with a good selection of wines.
When all the plates were cleared away, lively chatter started amongst the guests about the evening’s highlights, James came out and introduced himself to every table. Naturally, I couldn’t resist and I had a photograph taken with him which was well worth the wait. We also received a signed copy of his new cookbook ‘Fast Cooking’ which has a great selection of recipes which can all be made in 20 minutes. Looks like I’m going to have to get my own apron out and try some of these recipes.
Overall, I was impressed with the impeccable service, the attentive hosts and most importantly it was a great evening out. I can’t wait to visit again and try more dishes from the not yet revealed menu.