Jordan and I were very kindly invited to try the new winter menu at Albert’s restaurant in Didsbury a few weeks ago with some local food journalists. If you are unaware of this small chain of restaurants, they are all family run business, which was started back in uncle Albert’s Shed in the early 90’s, which is where the very famous bar lies today in Castlefield, Manchester. Now they have 3 sites – Didsbury, Manchester, Worsley – and have an unrivalled offering on the Manchester foodie scene.
I’ve been to Albert’s in Didsbury a few times are we used to live just up the road (and spent many a day chasing the sunshine in Albert’s Shed too) and it is a beautiful restaurant, nestled in the suburb of Didsbury, South of Manchester City Centre. When we were invited to try a 10-course (yep, 10!) tasting menu, I couldn’t wait to see what was on offer.
I’ve never had a tasting menu before, and this one was special because they had a wine expert who was pairing the courses with the right drink. Once we sat down, we were greeted with a lovely Pinot Noir from Chile, which reignited my love of red wine (not that it went far…)
The first three courses we tried were peanut and sesame duck satay, lemon marinated octopus and feta and aubergine borek, and they were the perfect starters to try a bit of everything. We had a portion that was a third of the size of a regular one, but they also very kindly brought over a full sized one so we could see how the dish is presented.
My favourite of the three courses (which was very hard to choose) was the feta and aubergine borek as I am a huge fan of middle-eastern inspired food. The other two courses were lovely too, and I really enjoyed the fact that all three were so different, which shows the diversity of Albert’s menu.
After the starters, we were presented with an absolutely sensational tower of seafood delights including lobster risotto, beetroot cured salmon, langoustines, rock oysters, miso salmon, octopus, crispy squid and king prawns. As a seafood lover, I was in absolute heaven, and it was such a grand dish that I would definitely order again. I think my favourite would have been the miso salmon or the lobster risotto, but it was all amazing. The wine we were given was a Cotes Du Rhone Rosé, which was the perfect accompaniment.
The main courses were served shortly after. Firstly we had roast guinea fowl with haggis, pancetta hash, sticky toffee parsnips (definitely need to try and recreate these for Christmas day) and winter greens; the second course was grilled monkfish wrapped in parma ham with braised smoked bacon puy lentils, wild mushrooms, spinach and a lemon and dill sauce; the final course was a miniature Lancashire cheese and onion pie with a cheese and chive sauce, and homemade chunky chips.
All three of the mains were incredible and so full of flavour and the wine they were paired with was an oaked Chardonnay, which was fresh and really complimented all three courses. My favourite was the monkfish as it was such a delicious piece of fish and cooked to perfection.
If you know me, you’ll know I have a huge sweet tooth, and no matter how full I am, I will always find room for dessert, and this time was no different. We had one plate with three desserts on which were a chocolate volcano, warm chocolate pudding with a gooey chocolate fondant centre and honeycomb ice cream, espresso pannacotta with pouring chocolate and toffee coated hazelnuts and a passion fruit Eton mess with mango curd, home-made meringue and shaved coconut.
Having three mini desserts is something I definitely enjoy as I always like to try a bit of everything, and this time it was no different. If I had to pick my favourite I think it would have been the chocolate volcano as it was so rich and gooey.
We were very kindly treated to a chocolate dessert wine too, which ended the meal on such a high as it was so sweet and delicious and one that I would want to try again.
If you’re in the market for a high-class meal that won’t break the bank, then I would highly recommend giving Albert’s a go as they have something for everyone. They have a popular lunch menu (which is served 12-6pm Mon-Fri and 12-4:30pm Sat) where you can get two courses for £12.50, and some of the ones we tried were on that too.
It’s really lovely that the business is still very family orientated, and you can tell that the staff really pride themselves on the quality of the food as well as the presentation.
Have you been to Albert’s? What did you think?
Our meal was complimentary. All views are my own.