Following my visit to All Star Lanes in Holborn I though it only fair that I re-visit All Star Lanes in Manchester. They won my bowl off against Dog Bowl last year and with the promise of a new winter menu, it would be rude not to.
Something that isn’t new to the menu (although I have no idea how I haven’t spotted it before) is the All Star take on a porn star martini. Pink Pigeon rum, maraschino, orange bitters, passion fruit, pineapple and apple served with a shot of Prosecco. Knowing my love of rum you can imagine how much I loved the Debbie Does. It isn’t as sweet as a regular porn star martini with a touch more fruitiness and a lovely richness from the rum. I was one happy lady.
Hitting the menu and I decided to go for the new king prawn taco with my friend Anoushka opting for the salt beef croquettes. I had those in London and they were just as good as they were in Holborn.
The hard shell taco was packed with jalapenos, a few too many for me but they were easy to remove and Anoushka was certainly happy to dispose of them. The prawns were plump, juicy and with lots of flavour to stand up to the creamy sour cream and garlicky guacamole. I’d have liked a few more but then I say that whenever I order prawns as a starter.
Onto mains and I couldn’t leave without trying the nacho cheese burger. A ground chuck and rib burger patty is served topped with shards of taco, nacho cheese, guacamole and jalapenos. The burger was cooked through however still juicy with the taco shards adding a good crunch to the dish. I’m not usually a fan of nacho cheese but this one was full of flavour although the guacamole was a little lost.
Anoushka went for a lighter option ordering the Cajun swordfish with a side of Monterey jack corn grit chips. The fish was meaty and lightly spiced served on top of crushed potatoes and green beans. Halfway through Anoushka announced she was full yet I still didn’t get a look in, she polished off the lot! I did get to try the corn grit chips which were crisp with a well seasoned centre oozing with melting cheese. I loved them and could have happily sat and eaten a full bowl with their guacamole.
Being a fan of both the Caipirinha (oh how it reminds me of a particularly fantastic all inclusive holiday in the Dominican Republic) and the Bramble I thought I’d give the new Caipiriamble a go whilst deciding on dessert. Finlandia vodka, grapefruit and lime are muddled with sugar to create this interesting concoction. Fresh, fruity with a touch of sweetness it worked perfectly. Not surprisingly its creator Sophie Douse won the ASL Finlandia competition this year.
Not to be outdone we decided to split a dessert and chose the choc chip cookie ice cream sandwich.
The cookies were more like shortbread in texture and melted in the mouth whilst the ice cream added the richness and a sweet glug of maple syrup finished things off well. I was expecting a gooey warm cookie that melted the ice cream and this was a pleasant surprise. It is so nice to see chefs trying something slightly different with their menu. We managed about a half of it before we admitted defeat though, I wish it were portable so I could take it home!
Service was impeccable with lots of cocktail recommendations when asked and also perfect breaks between courses. It’s easy to see why Lady GaGa paid a visit when she was in Manchester last week.
I need to go back and try the Astoria salad that appears to be the winter offering replacing my favourite chargrilled chicken salad yet there’s also a Christmas offering available until the 24th December. A turkey burger with cheese, bacon, stuffing and cranberry. Damn there goes my diet…
We were invited to dine as guests of All Star Lanes and weren’t asked to pay for our meal. As always this is an honest and unbiased review of the experience.