Manchester is nailing the dog friendly scene at the moment. Cottonopolis now has a free dog menu, Refinery announced this weekend that they are now dog friendly too, meaning I get their epic roast with Ferguson in tow. One of our old favourites is Abel Heywood who do the dog friendly thing beautifully. There is a ‘dog station’ with treats and water, they also share their canine visitors across their social media so you can coo over their cuteness.
Ferguson and I popped in to try their new menu last week. As always, it focuses on the classics done with a Manc twist. Abel Heywood always sticks with their roots and the menu is jam packed with winter warmers that are just perfect for the cold snap we are experiencing at the moment.
The Beef Brisket Hash Cake is listed as a ‘small plate or starter’ and I couldn’t describe it better. The vegetables in the hash cake still had bite and the brisket is still juicy. So often it is overcooked and dry, but not here. The duck egg wobbling on top finishes it off perfectly and the rich, runny yolk coats the lot well. It is a fairly large starter, but if you are after something small as a meal, this is the one you want.
My friend chose the Hot Pork Pie served atop a portion of mushy peas and drizzled with brown sauce. The pastry is thick yet light with the filling well seasoned, full of flavour and moist. I don’t usually like brown sauce but the one used here is much thinner than normal so doesn’t have that weird gloopy consistency.
I totally made the right decision with the Pan Roasted Lamb. The meat was soft, tender and gently pink, the greens still slightly crunchy and the hot pot potatoes are like layered hot pot with potatoes and carrots stacked together for a bit of something extra. The beetroot added an earthy sweetness and was the first thing to disappear from my plate. It is a rich dish but so hearty and a great alternative if you don’t want a full on Sunday roast.
My friend went simple with the Steak Frites, choosing to change the peppercorn sauce for some garlic butter. This was no issue and what arrived was much bigger than any steak frites I’ve seen before in the City. Usually the meat needs to be cooked medium as the piece is so thin but this arrived medium rare, as requested. Served on top of a mountain of hot fresh fries, it’s a big dish but, as with the rest of the menu, a real winter treat.
The desserts are also wintery goodness with the Sticky Toffee Pudding hitting the mark perfectly. A smaller portion compared to the rest of the menu, it is sticky and moist whilst somehow being lighter than other puddings I have tried. The vanilla ice cream isn’t too sweet but is really creamy to pair with the pudding.
My favourite dessert, quite possibly in the City overall, is the Bee Stings my friend ordered. Fried dough balls with crushed pistachios and honey, it might be the ‘bee’ reference that I adore, or the sweet yet gooey doughnuts that I stole despite being stuffed to the brim with delicious food.
Abel Heywood is really bringing it in terms of hearty pub grub and it is still at the top of my pub list in the City. It is also at the top of Ferguson’s for the cuddles, biscuits and social media fame.
We were invited to dine as guests of Abel Heywood and were not asked to pay.