Us Manchester bloggers love a new menu launch and a group (is that what you would call a collection of bloggers?!) of us were invited to the wonderfully vintage Whim Wham Cafe last week to sample their new summer menu. The Whim Wham Cafe is gin saloon priding itself on using the best of local ingredients whilst being true to the seasons. Some of the new menu options are a slight change to their winter offering but with a fresh and summery twist. Their menu offers small and big plates, that said the small plates are more than reasonable in size if you are just after a quick bite. The photographs below are provided by the amazingly talented Narita Savoor. We had sample sizes so we could try the majority of the menu so please don’t take into consideration the size of the plates. I’m reliably informed that the portion sizes here are massive!
Faces to names! This is Charlie, Simon and I ready for our grub 🙂
We were greeted with a cocktail of saffron gin and cucumber to get the evening going. The cocktails here are vintage inspired with a Manchester twist, and all with gin. What’s not to love? This was swiftly followed by our first small plates. The homemade shire egg is a twist on the Manchester egg, a boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat and black pudding before deep frying in breadcrumbs. The shire egg uses a traditional Lancashire black pudding but swaps the sausagemeat for the lighter and sweeter offering of Cheshire rabbit. This is then wrapped around a soft quail’s egg and fried in panko crumbs for extra crispness. This little morsel is amazing, and I mean amazing. The sweet rabbit should be completely overpowered by the black pudding but it balances this so well. The egg provides a beautiful richness and the mustard butter it is served with just finishes it off. An absolutely genius idea, hats off to the chef. The ribs are slow cooked for 12 hours in a honey and star anise glaze making them fall of the bone tender. The sticky glaze is beautiful with a lovely tangy after taste, a nice change to the usual sweet sauce you get with a rib.
Next we were treated to potted spiced crab that packs a good smokey spice punch with paprika and cayenne. I expected these spices to take over the crab but they just warmed the mouth, not too much of a kick but enough to make its presence known. The herb toasts were lovely and crisp, they are also thick enough to be spread with the potted crab. I’ve had a few recently where the toast has completely crumbled when topped… not these beauties! The lamb pieces are marinated in ginger and lemon which works really well. The lamb was a little over cooked for me but the flavours were beautiful and cooled with a nice mint yoghurt.
The Whim Wham Cafe has a great range of summer salads and, for those of us watching our waistlines, they are really exciting. This is the blueberry, mint and pickled walnut salad. It is topped with crumbled Forest of Bowland Lancashire cheese which is incredibly tasty. This is the freshest tasting salad I have ever tried and, buy generic cialis in australia being a carnivore, I was surprised to really like it. I’d even consider ordering this off the menu ahead of some of the meatier options, it is that good. The slow poached mackerel salad was just as tasty in a lovely and fruity dressing of apple, horseradish and worcester liquor. I loved the little jewels of pomegranate tossed on top too. They popped in a fruity burst to compliment the oily fish.
Onto the big plates and we tried the slow roast shoulder of lamb which was served with braised summer vegetables, crushed rosemary potatoes and a mint & caper sauce. The lamb was soft and broke apart nicely while the potatoes gave a good earthy taste to the dish. This is something you would normally see on a winter menu but the addition of summer vegetables and mint gave this a summer boost. The smoked haddock, prawn and leek fishcake was lovely and crisp with a well seasoned centre. the egg, again, giving it a creamy and rich edge. I didn’t eat the wild mushroom cobbler or the beetroot bourguignan, you know me I detest mushrooms. So much so that I would go as far as saying I have a phobia. It has a name too you know, mycophobia. That is what I have… Anyway, I tried the light cheese scone on top of the cobbler and it was so good… salty from the cheese with a nice crisp taste, no soggy dumpling-like taste here. I was also cajoled into trying a piece of beetroot by my fellow blogger friends, honestly it is like trying to get a child to eat their vegetables. It was lovely and sweet but I can’t really give it justice as I didn’t try it with the jerusalem artichoke and wild mushroom it is cooked with.
That was supposed to be our evening finished and we were all fit to bursting. The chef was so inspired by our positive comments, however, that he decided to try one of his desserts on us.
A lovely chocolate brownie spiced with cardamom and dusted with almonds served with a vanilla cream. Now me and my sweet tooth were well and truly happy, I had no room for more until I saw this delight! A firm version of a brownie, the cardamom complimented the deep chocolate flavour perfectly and there was more than one moan of delight from the table when we all tucked into this.
Before I went to The Whim Wham Cafe I thought I would feel out of place. I’m not part of the vintage scene in Manchester and I thought it would be a very niche market. This is absolutely not the case here and the owner Alix is a delight to sit and chat to. He is so passionate about his creation and working with the best local flavours and produce, his enthusiasm is infectious. Pop along and give them a try, and look out for my cocktail review in the next few weeks over on 4ManchesterWomen. I’ll let you into a little secret, the gin used is made my women!
We dined as guests of the restaurant. This has in no way affected my review which is an honest account of my dining experience.