With so many restaurants popping up in Manchester at the moment it can be difficult to find a niche. We have burgers, Mexican, Italian; you name it I bet we already have it. So when The Splendid Sausage Company took over the Jack Spratt site on John Dalton Street I have to say I was a little confused. I mean we already have hot dogs not a stone’s throw from this site, how were The Splendid Sausage Company going to compete?
The first thing I noticed is that the venue is much lighter than it used to be when it was Jack Spratts. The dark wood has been replaced with stripped wooden floors, white and red walls as well as bare brick. The tables and chairs are mismatched with hung lighting that looks like it is slightly unfinished; a style I am a huge fan of and all credit to the lovely Sian and co! If you are interested in interior design you can read about the transformation HERE.
Specials are chalked on the large moustache at the back of the restaurant and this is where you will find the desserts for the time being whilst the restaurant decide what to put on their menu.
True to form we started with some cocktails with me opting for the hard pink lemonade and Charlie going for the el diablo rojo. The hard pink lemonade was purple and topped with glitter, almost like it had my name written all over it! wyborowa vodka, crème de mure and lemonade was actually stronger tasting than it sounds but very tasty. The el diablo rojo was a mix of Jose Cuervo Especial and lime topped with ginger ale for a kick of spice and crème de cassis for a touch of sweetness. All cocktails are served with saltwater taffy; an American sweetie favourite of mine that went straight in my handbag so as not to spoil my appetite.
Opting for topped sausages and sides we were pleasantly surprised to see the differences between Dogs n Dough and here now becoming evident. These are proper British bangers, not a bratwurst style hot dog in sight. After arguing about who got to scoff the one with peanut butter we went for the ‘the king’ and ‘the beef, beans, buffalo and bleu’. Charlie used the ‘Elvis walked me down the aisle’ speech that always means she gets the banana/peanut butter combo so I went for the next best thing. Not surprisingly ‘the king’ was my favourite and I knew I would be incredibly jealous. A beef sausage smothered in Dijon mustard, crispy bacon bits, peanut butter powder, bacon and battered banana was so wrong in principle but so tasty. The banana gave a lovely sweetness that I loved and pairing well with the soft brioche bun. I think more of the peanut butter powder would work even better because I couldn’t really taste it. I wanted it to dominate completely. My own sausage was topped with house beans, buffalo sauce, bleu cheese, jalapenos and buffalo pretzel pieces. The crunchy pretzels were lovely with the flavour of the bleu cheese coming through nicely. I actually picked off the jalapenos because I’m not a fan but wonder if these left on would kill the flavour of the cheese somewhat.
Not content with watching us try to eat these as ladylike as possible (it isn’t possible, I warn you) our waiter brought us a sausage to try that isn’t on the menu yet. The Sunday lunch sausage topped with pulled beef, red cabbage, cauliflower cheese, mini roast potatoes, gravy and mini Yorkshire puddings. Sweet Jesus let me tell you, this thing is addictive. All the elements are fabulous in their own right but when put together, just wow. Obviously not one you can shovel into your gob in one go though, oh no, savour this one with a knife and fork. You will thank me for it as will your clothes dry cleaning bill.
Not to be outdone we chose two sides as well; the eggs benedict fries and the splendid fries. Crispy, well seasoned fries. One topped with poached eggs, bacon and hollandaise. The other topped with mixed sausage pieces, bacon and gravy. Both incredibly moreish the eggs benedict fries are a thing of beauty. The gooey and creamy yolk, the slightly tangy sauce and the salty bacon just work. All over the fries. Yummy. The splendid fries are also good with the odd piece of spicy sausage, you never know what you are going to get. Charlie commented that they should smother this in cheese and it is like a dirty takeaway after a heavy night out. I certainly wouldn’t complain.
More cocktails and our waiter recommended the cucumber and rosemary G&T to Charlie after she explained her dislike of fruity sweetness. The slightly savoury Tanqueray and aromatic rosemary balanced with the freshness of cucumber is a light, easy drinker. I spotted one of my favourite rums, Appleton Estate VX, in the blueberry rum smash so went for that. Fresh blueberries muddled with lemon and syrup for sweetness topped with the rum and some lemonade is the perfect summer drink and one I will definitely be ordering again.
Last but not least was dessert. Well we couldn’t say we had tried the menu properly without one could we? I had the trifle with Charlie going for the millionaires sundae. The jelly was slightly grainy and not too sweet with the sponge being denser than normal trifle, perfect. I’d have liked some fruit in there to balance out these flavours a little more. The millionaires sundae had huge chunks of shortbread inside and not too much chocolate so suited Charlie well.
And look at the toilets! So I’m not normally one for photographing the loos at restaurants but I loved the abseiling man hook, the pretty pictures and the amazing circus themed ceiling. Perhaps I should add photographing of the loos to my reviews more often.
We left overly full but completely content. Not just that this place is great but that it is also different enough from Dogs n Dough for both to have their place in Manchester. Sausages here, hot dogs there. Light and airy here where you can watch the world go by, darker and more urban with music there. Try both and let me know what you think, oh, and save me some eggs benedict fries.
We ate as guests of the restaurant. This review is honest and unbiased.