Black Friar

Ian Jones, Food and Drink Editor
Ian Jones

Black Friar opened in 2021 and made an instant impression with its smart, modern take on traditional British cuisine. Since then, it’s gone from strength to strength, in both menu and layout of this remarkably swish venue. 

This spring sees the launch of the Japanese-inspired Suntory Garden, transforming the outdoor tavern into an elegant yet cosy new space, full of cherry blossom and beautiful lighting. Naturally, this also means an exciting new cocktail menu, based around authentic Japanese spirits from The House of Suntory. 

All options impress, but the Suntory Spritz, a blend of Haku vodka, watermelon soda, mint, strawberry, and lemon, is a surefire seasonal classic. The Sakura Sins (Roku gin, Amaro Montenegro, Aperol, mango syrup, and tangerine liqueur) is another gem of a concoction, and you’ll be forgiven for having another one, or three. 

The new a la carte menu leans heavily on British cuisine but it’s remarkably wide-ranging, with something for all palates, preferences and levels of food curiosity. It’s  all backed up by some serious talent in the kitchen – every dish is a cut above the norm.

Highlights from the starters include the chargrilled hispi cabbage, which comes with anchovies, tiny pieces of Buford brown egg (deep-fried with a panko coating), plus grana padano crisps – it’s a whirlwind of texture and flavour, and many steps above what you might expect. 

Then there’s the whipped smoked cod roe crumpet, dotted with little balls of pork crackling and chopped chives, with a pleasing citrus edge. It’s a dish that looks and tastes grand, in both formal and informal senses of the word. 

As is the chicken liver and red wine parfait. It’s another beautifully put-together creation that fits seasonal ingredients together, hand in glove. In this case, the light, mousse-like chunks of red wine-infused paté come with poached pear and frosted walnut, artfully laid out on a thick piece of focaccia. 

And that’s part of the charm – food at the Black Friar is a treat for all the senses. The dishes are dramatic without ever feeling gaudy, but you’ll struggle to find this quality and breadth of ideas anywhere else. 

For the main event, there’s a beautiful lamb shank kleftiko, all aromatic spices and North African flavours. The slow-cooked lamb arrives on a deck of moussaka potatoes with a side of freshly prepared baba ganoush, plus strips of grilled courgette and honey-baked feta. 

Or there’s the rightly celebrated Blackfriar pie, which changes daily (today it’s coq au vin). Here, a hearty take on the British classic: a rich, meaty filling encased by thick, crunchy pastry, made with plenty of butter – as is the fantastic mashed potato – plus a pot of gravy that’s so good you’ll want to take it home. 

Then there’s the most intriguing and flat-out delicious item on the menu, the braised beef shin cannelloni. It’s one for meat lovers only, showcasing not only beef shin ragu wrapped in pasta, but a chunk of bone marrow and a pleasingly large beef fillet on the side, as well as king oyster mushrooms and a superb red wine jus. You’re unlikely to find it anywhere else in Manchester, certainly not like this, and it’s a strong contender for dish of the year. 

Finally, a sublime dessert that taps into your best childhood memories and whips them up into something magical. Yes, it’s the gloriously named knickerbocker glory. Forget those complaints about modern food not tasting like it used to, this is just how you remember it – but better. Think raspberry jam, lemon curd, lemon crackle meringue, plus lashings and lashing of cream. Life’s too short not to try this. 

Black Friar never disappoints, and judging by the number of diners in tonight on a wet midweek evening, countless people across the North agree. Is it Manchester – sorry, Salford’s best restaurant? If not, it’s certainly right up there. 

Blackfriars RdSalfordM3 7DH View map
Telephone: 01616679555 Visit Now

Opening Hours

  • Monday12:00pm - 9:00pm
  • Tuesday12:00pm - 10:00pm
  • Wednesday12:00pm - 10:00pm
  • Thursday12:00pm - 10:00pm
  • Friday12:00pm - 11:00pm
  • Saturday12:00pm - 11:00pm
  • Sunday12:00pm - 9:00pm

Always double check opening hours with the venue before making a special visit.

What's on near Black Friar

Comedy Balloon

Every Wednesday at Ape & Apple, Manchester’s official underground comedy club, Comedy Balloon’s friendly and warm comedy night takes place.

free entry

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