Review by Dominic Fung: A newcomer on the Spinningfields scene, BLVD takes the spot previously occupied by Neighbourhood. BLVD (short for boulevard) has been around for a month now and fits in comfortably with the rest of the neighbourhood with its picture-perfect neon signs, pumping music and mysteriously dark décor.
Walking in from the Spinningfields alley is like stepping into downtown New York on a late night as you’re faced with glowing red lighting amongst the dusk-themed interior. What BLVD lack in vowels they make up for in atmosphere and comfort with their lavish seating and hanging globes of light, ringed with astrological star signs.
So what can you expect from BLVD? Well, inspired by the meatpacking district of New York and the mish-mash of cultures, not unlike Manchester, there is variety in their dishes to cater to any tastes. For starters, in the category of oysters alone there are three choices: spicy, gin and tonic and ponzu. These rare twists will have you wondering where your delights went with each slurp and wanting more platters each time. Served individually on beds of salt to add as you please, and the flair of dry ice poured in to accompany it, each type is unique and delicious in its own right. The classic spicy oysters have the right amount kick to balance out the creamy oysterey goodness and are the usual safe bet.
Ponzu oysters demonstrate the harmony of flavours between cultures
Gin and tonic oysters, while not quite so classic, are the twist you didn’t know you needed. With the flavours you know and love, cucumber garnish included, they might just be the perfect starter for that gin person we all have. Ponzu oysters meanwhile are unapologetically delicious as they demonstrate the harmony of flavours between cultures, bringing the citric taste of Japan along with the salty oysters to refresh your palette before a meal. In addition to oysters, those that are more inclined to a taste of the sea will find an entire section of their menu dedicated to their “raw bar” of sushi. Their futomaki is a rolled and sliced plate of goodness that is freshly prepared to avoid the common mistake of dry rice. Instead, you are greeted with crispy veg and creamy avocado enveloped in moist rice.
Their main courses are equally vibrant, ranging from their large plates like the black Kobe burger to Mexican-inspired tacos. One of the more commonly opted for choices is the Lobster dan dan, and rightly so. The sweet and firm lobster comes on a bed of garlic-and-herb fettucine that has a hint of the spice you’d more commonly find in dan dan noodles. To finish is a luxurious brown butter truffle foam that slowly melds into the dish, bringing out even more flavour.
Come in on a Sunday and you have the added option of a beef, chicken or veggie Sunday roast. Their chicken roast is served in the form of two crispy roasted chicken legs on a mixed veg base consisting of tenderstem broccoli and kale as well as a sweet potato purée. You’ll also get a Yorkshire pud atop all this as well as pigs-in-blankets and roast potato chunks dotted around (because what roast is complete without them?). As if that wasn’t enough, your roast is brought to you with a generous side bowl of gravy that you can lavishly pour, or spoon on if you prefer.
Choose how indulgent you want to be, whether you have a sweet tooth or a full-on sweet jaw
To finish off, BLVD offers sweet endings that include the likes of raindrop cakes that are bursting with matcha and berry flavours. While relatively light alone, the side bowl of syrup allows you to dip and adjust how indulgent you want to be, whether you have a sweet tooth or a full-on sweet jaw. Their cheesecake, on the other hand, is the firm and rich experience you’d expect and comes complete with an edible candyfloss cloud, propped up by fine sticks of syrup.
BLVD has all this and more, including ten signature cocktails and late-night parties. To experience this firsthand, head down Spinningfields way and get ready for a night fit for the city that never sleeps.