RANDALL & AUBIN, MANCHESTER – NEW MENU ADDITIONS

Manchester’s finest brasserie, (in our opinion), Randall and Aubin, have added some seasonal flourishes to their already gorgeous menu, so we bobbed along to check them out. We love this addition to the local dining scene, it’s a little bit of Soho on Bridge Street and every time we go it is excellent, from the food to the service to the playlist. So what new treats were in store?

Randall & Aubin are known for their seafood and in terms of freshness and innovation, it is the best around but their menu isn’t just gleaned from the sea. They also gather the best dishes the land has to offer too. Prime steaks, rotisserie free-range chicken and roast Suffolk lamb steak to name but a few. Vegetarians and those trying to eat a more plant-based diet are also well catered for as we found out.

The man in charge of Manchester, James, bought me a delightful glass of fizz with the rather wonderful name of Astoria Fashion Victim.  An Italian rosé Prosecco-style wine with hints of strawberry and raspberry. This I loved. My companion chose a cocktail with a Manchester theme, The Bee’s Knees, made with local Three Rivers gin, honey and lemon. James also filled us in on what R&A had been up to since we were last in. He said that one thing they had noticed was that customers were bobbing in just for a drink on the way home from work but were then finding that their appetites were piqued and were ordering starters and sides to keep them going until dinner. So, the restaurant has added a new bar menu with small plates. Randall & Aubin are very good at taking notice of what their customers want.

We had free range to order what we liked and one thing that had caught my eye was a throwback to the 70’s. Devilled eggs. Visions of Fanny Craddock and poor beleaguered Johnny swam before my eyes. This simple but much-loved dish is enjoying a bit of a renaissance at the moment and thankfully R&A have moved it on from the garish morsel of the past to a more sophisticated hors d’oeuvre. The filling was herby with a nice hit of spicy heat and the eggs were garnished with crispy pancetta and delicate chervil. Alongside the eggs we had ordered a bowl of luscious, cheesy Bridge potatoes…pssst…that’s chips to us Northerner’s. Let’s face it, you can never go wrong with a chunky, cheesy chip. There are also Honey & Mustard Glazed Althams Sausages and Fish of the Day Goujons with R&A’s signature Tartare Sauce. Feeling decadent? There is always an excellent choice of oysters. Perfect with a glass of fizz.

For our mains we ordered two new dishes off the main menu. The daughter, who is trying to eat more of a plant-based diet, chose the Marseille Salad which came with grilled halloumi, avocado, cucumber, cherry tomatoes served on a homemade, sumac flat bread with a zingy garlic & oregano dressing. All in all, a lovely, light dish that will ensure you can manage three courses and not feel guilty.

Seafood is my culinary heaven so I had to order the new Tagliolini with crab and prawns. A finer version of spaghetti with the best Devon crab and prawn cream sauce. Can we just take a moment to let that sink in and admire the photograph?  Is there anything more beautiful than a plate of perfectly cooked pasta, coated in a glossy, rich seafood sauce, studded with plump, pink prawns and sprinkled with herbs? I think not. This will go down in my Top Ten Most Memorable Dishes. I think I need to book a table very soon.

As we had eaten light, we found we still had room for a dessert. Who am I kidding? 99.9% of the time we still have room for dessert. I love Randall & Aubin’s pudding menu because the non-chocolate sweets far outweigh the choccy ones. But then that gives me the difficulty of choosing just one from Tarte au Citron, Crème Brûlée, Sticky Date Pudding and Baked Vanilla Cheesecake. Decisions, decisions. In the end I went for the Tarte au Citron, a good balance of creamy and sharp with a rich, buttery pastry case. It was served with a beautiful palate cleansing blood orange sorbet and spiced, thin ribbons of mango. Glorious.

Of course, my table mate chose the Randall & Aubin Chocolate Cake with Milk Ice Cream. I have to say it did look very impressive and very rich. It reminded me of a Viennese Sachertorte, with its mirror glaze and moist looking interior.  Frankie was in cocoa heaven.

We love seafood and we love Randall & Aubin, we love the staff and we love their ethos. We shall return very soon.

We attended the course as guests of Randall & Aubin but as always, the review and opinions are our own and unbiased.

 

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Photos: © Taste Today. Do not reproduce without permission

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Lanique – Luxury Rose Spirit

 

One of the most intriguing products I found have found recently is a rose spirit, with a very regal pedigree, called Lanique. This delicately pink-hued tipple was originally produced for a princess in 17th Century eastern Europe and contained Attar of rose petals, harvested from the Far East. It became a favourite of the wealthy and was imbibed right through to the Roaring Twenties. Sadly, it all but disappeared at the outbreak of the Second World War and the gathering Communist tide in the Eastern Bloc countries.

Eventually the recipe was rediscovered and a band of Polish bartenders arrived in the Channel Islands in the ‘80’s, bringing Lanique with them. It was soon a firm favourite with visitors and locals alike and Jersey based entrepreneur, Lawrence Huggler, who owns hotels and other businesses including Bohemia Bar & Restaurant, decided to buy the brand. He then designed a new bottle and label that would echo the majestic background of the drink. Love Drinks were brought on board to build the brand and launch it into the UK drinks market.

We first tried Lanique at this year’s Northern Restaurant and Bar show and fell in love with it. Rose to me has always been one of the scents and tastes of an English summer. Lanique is a versatile spirit and can be used in many ways. On the rocks with tonic or lemonade, with English sparkling wine or prosecco and in cocktails. The Lanique signature serve is over crushed ice, with a wedge of lime and a squeeze of lime juice and a dash of soda. The sharpness of the lime making the perfect counterpoint to the sweetness and perfume of the rose.

Lanique very kindly sent me a bottle but we decided not to just sample as a drink, although we did that too, but to cook with it as well. We wanted a recipe that encapsulated all the tastes of summer. See what we came up with below. Please give it a try and let us know how you get on.

 

Poached Strawberries with Rose Spirit Syrup and Vanilla Panacotta

Ingredients

Poached Strawberries with Rose Syrup
• 300g Strawberries, hulled and halved
• 60g of Caster Sugar
• 30ml Lanique Rose Spirit
• 30ml of Water

Vanilla Panna Cotta
• 1 Vanilla Pod
• 4 gelatine leaves (a vegetarian alternative can be used)
• 600ml of double cream
• 80g of caster sugar

Method

1. Place the caster sugar, Lanique spirit and water in a pan and bring to the simmer. Add in the strawberries and poach gently for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

2. Soften the gelatine in cold water according to the instruction.

3. Bring the cream, vanilla seeds and sugar gently to the boil in a heavy-based saucepan.

4. Add the softened gelatine leaves to the pan and stir to dissolve them. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the mix to cool and infuse for about 5 minutes

5. Once cooled slightly, strain the cream through a close sieve or muslin and pour the mixture evenly into six pudding moulds and place them in the fridge to set for at least 1 hour

6. To serve. Dip the pudding moulds into a pan of hot water for about 3 seconds, then turn them upside down in the centre of a plate so that the Panna Cotta slides out. Handy tip. Place the plate upside down over the mould then flip the right way around.

7. Arrange the strawberries around the Panna Cotta, garnish with sugared rose petals and serve with a cold glass of Hush Heath Balfour Rosé English sparkling wine and Lanique. Summer time at its best.

You can buy Lanique online at Ocado, 31Dover.com, Amazon and TheDrinkShop.com. Trade enquiries can be directed through Love Drinks at info@lovedrinks.com

We were gifted the bottle of Lanique but as always, the review and opinions are our own and unbiased.

Website https://www.lanique.co.uk

Photos: © Taste Today. Do not reproduce without permission

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