It’s hard to think of a bar more suited to Ancoats than Blossom Street Social. It’s a beautiful space with a god-tier soundsystem and the records to match. But right now the most exciting element is the intimate kitchen, which for a few weeks played host to Sao Paulo by Caroline Martins.
Blossom Street Social is a beautiful space with a god-tier soundsystem and the records to match
A celebrated chef and standout Masterchef star, Caroline Martins isn’t just one of the most charming and likeable chefs in the city, she’s also the brains behind some of the most stunning Brazilian food imaginable. Beautiful to both the eye and tastebuds, it’s also remarkably pocket-friendly considering the quality.
It all comes out of Blossom Street Social’s tiny kitchen, with Caroline and her all-female team running the show. Rather than a set menu, you can pop in and buy any of the below dishes and if you’re looking to wow your partner (particularly with the big V-Day looming on the horizon), dear reader, this is the one for you.
The evening begins with three canapés, all bright colours and bold flavours, ranging from heart of palm and parsley mousse to smoked salmon to chicken liver and acia parfait. They’re delicate, delicious and easily match up to anything you’d find at Moor Hall, Forest Side or any of the other Michelin star-rated restaurants in the North.
The bread course is usually the most forgettable part of a meal out. Not here. We get impossibly soft bread rolls, dotted with Calabrese sausage, a little pot of mouthwatering caramelised onion butter and, well, a candle. But this isn’t just any old candle, this is made from beef fat and you use the bread to mop up the melted ‘wax’. It feels so wrong but tastes incredibly right. If you’re a thrill-seeking food-lover, put this at the top of your list, immediately. Unless you’re vegan or vegetarian, in which case, admire the ingenuity but move on.
Then there’s the scallop and cassava (a root vegetable, like a healthier, nuttier-tasting potato). Scallops have been done to death in recent years but Caroline manages to bring something new to the humble mollusc, weaving together slender slices of cassava with a glorious creamy sauce that works wonders with the juicy, plump shellfish.
Next, the beef. Or to be more specific, two hefty chunks of Butcher’s Quarter dry-aged Picanha beef, matched with some cute Wotsit-shaped soft potato curls, a celeriac and horseradish sauce, bacon and corn cassava crumble, lovage oil, plus a light refreshing salad with lime and Manchester honey dressing. It’s arguably the most traditional dish on the menu, but still a treat. The flavours all support the main act: the meat, and it’s yet another must-try.
The cheese course doesn’t disappoint either. Four very different kinds of cheese, plus three cute half-spheres of compote. Want to blow your mind? Try some of the soft Brie-style cheese with the spiced banana compote. I might have been slightly tipsy on Blossom Street Social’s splendid wine selection, but my cries of surprise and delight at this taste combination were genuine.
If you’re a thrill-seeking food-lover, put this at the top of your list, immediately
The Romeu & Julieta is up there as one the most unforgettable things you’ll ever eat. It looks like a Super Mario mushroom and tastes exactly as you’d imagine an 8-bit Italian plumber’s favourite snack to taste. It’s a dessert, made up of an endless list of sweet and unusual ingredients, including but not limited to guava jam, parmesan genoise sponge, chocolate and lime crumble and edible flowers plucked from the not-too-far-away Platt Fields market garden. It tastes as good as it looks and it looks very, very good.
Finally, another awe-inspiring dish. An entire baked Tunworth cheese (think of a British take on Camembert), drizzled with guava paste, dotted with mixed nuts and rosemary and thyme, then surrounded with a dozen or so soft brioche rolls. Rip the bread in half, stick it into the melted cheese centre then slip into a luxurious food coma. If you love cheese, this is a must.
Back when we reviewed District, we thought it’d be a long time before anything popped up to rival them in the mind-blowing food stakes but Sao Paolo and Caroline Martins has turned up to save the day, armed with Super Nintendo mushroom power-ups and some of the most inspired dishes Manchester has ever seen. The prices are surprisingly low, the venue great and the food even better. What’s not to love?