Astoria Urmston, 32 Flixton Rd, Urmston, Manchester, M41 5AA – Visit Now
Review by Gill Darling: Astoria, a contemporary New York-inspired bar and restaurant is a new addition on a busy stretch of Flixton Road in up-and-coming Urmston. It’s a wintry day outside and when we get there at 230 pm the restaurant, a brightly-lit space, feels stark, the staff out-numbering the clientele.
We start with cocktails and feel duty-bound to order Pink To Make The Boys Wink, a confection of pink gin, cranberry juice and rose lemonade with a tuft of candy floss that could have come straight from the kitchen of Barbie’s dream house. Far less sugary is the non-alcoholic Sunset Spritz, a straightforward blend of fruit juices, grenadine and soda.
The Lancashire beef comes cooked to a turn, is plentiful and is topped with a huge, fluffy Yorkshire pud
Astoria’s Sunday menu is short and focussed. For starters, we order chicken strips that are perfectly cooked, crispy without being dry, and come with a blue cheese dipping sauce. We also try the chickpea falafel, which are tasty and quickly polished off. They come with hummus and pomegranate seeds and whole leaves of sage rather than the advertised mint, which could have done with being shredded – an entire sage leaf is an odd thing to eat in one go.
It being Sunday, it’s all about the roast dinners, and Astoria steps up to the mark. My Lancashire beef comes cooked to a turn, is plentiful and is topped with a huge, fluffy Yorkshire pud, just waiting for the gravy that comes on the side. My companion is equally happy with his roast pork, again beautifully cooked and generously portioned. Only the vegetables let the side down a little; the parsnips being on the cold and undercooked side. Vegetarians and vegans might feel a little hard done by, the only plant-based main on offer that day being a veggie risotto.
By the time we’re ready to order dessert there’s a real buzz to the place
By the time we’re ready to order dessert, the place has filled up with people, the lights have been dimmed and there’s a real buzz to the place. It’s a mixed crowd of couples, families and groups of singles, some of whom are having Sunday lunch too but many of whom have come for a drink – it’s as much a bar as it is a restaurant.
The desserts on offer don’t disappoint. The New York baked cheesecake comes with a blueberry compote that is just the right level of tartness, while the brownie with vanilla ice cream and chocolate fudge sauce delivers on every level.
Live music while you’re eating can be a mixed blessing, but Anya Sweeney’s guitar-accompanied covers of Amy Winehouse, Plan B and Fleetwood Mac go down easily. Urmston is a place on the up, and Astoria is a welcome addition to its thriving food scene.