Dakota Bar & Grill Manchester, 29 Ducie St, Manchester, M1 2JL – Visit Now
Mondays can be tortuous for some. Blinkered early starts, the dread of tasks you put off in a free-spirited manner back when it was footloose and fancy-free Friday, the mere thought of your congealing tupperwear lunch; it almost doesn’t bear the think about.
But what if I told you it didn’t have to be that way? What if I told you your Monday (and any other day for that matter), could be really quite fabulous so long as you had some cheddar in your pocket and a rumbling tum?
An atmospheric cavern, full of cosy corners
Dakota Bar & Grill is a six-week baby amongst ageing establishments in Manchester city centre. The chic, opulent, slightly moody exterior melts into a warming welcome once you’ve made it past the threshold, greetings extended by the maître d’, the friendly chap behind the bar and the hostess as we make our way to our table.
Despite having a vast amount of space to play with, Dakota Bar & Grill uses the space to create almost an atmospheric cavern, full of cosy corners, complemented by a combined filter of low-lit lighting and half closed wooden shutters.
The menu is an eclectic selection of indulgent classics with added finesse, we were navigated through the menu by expert servers Emily and Ivan, who were more than forthcoming (and incredibly convincing) with their personal menu favourites. Ordering up a storm with a bottle of rich red for good measure, we sank into our surroundings as we enjoyed freshly baked bread, a bubbling bath of mozzarella with tomato and an amuse bouche, sent to the table by the chef.
A decadent way to start the date, we mentally prepared for the potential feast on its way.
Beneath the thin layer of golden, crackling batter are hearty chunks of monkfish, calamari and king prawn
First, scallops with ribs and crackling. Seared to plump perfection, this beautiful classic is lay atop a mattress of what can only be described as the best flavours of a Chinese takeaway (minus the MSG). Sharp, aromatic flavours from oriental ribs and pork crackling juxtapose the soft delicate bites of the pillow-like scallop.
The fritto misto may look unassuming, but what lays beneath the thin layer of golden, crackling batter are hearty chunks of monkfish, calamari and king prawn. Complete with a seemingly bottomless garlic and saffron aioli (my personal preferred quantity amount).
Not long after (but just long enough) had we finished our starters did we watch hungrily as the mains glided from the kitchen to arrive at our table. Lamb loin, served exquisitely pink and adorned with crispy, yet soft moreish mouthfuls of gnocchi, flavoured with curry emulsion and crushed scatterings of cashew nuts. Incredibly rich in flavour, spectacularly satisfying, the gnocchi particularly will be featuring in my dreams for some time.
Next, beef fillet, potatoes salardaise, morels, watercress and escargot. An excellently orchestrated dish, perfectly pink beef, a ravioli parcel bursting with jus to cascade across the plate. Both quality and quantity of this full plate exceed the worth of the £32 price tag. A must-order if you go.
Two and a half courses deep, two belt notches looser, we found it within ourselves to order dessert, all in the name of research: chocolate fondant and vanilla cheesecake. Sumptuous, gooey and impossibly indulgent, with the added bonus of pistachio ice cream; the fondant was my preferred dessert of the two. Both well executed, but ever so slightly overshadowed by their predecessors, but definitely worth a fancy if you’re in the market for something sweet after your meal.
Will treat you like the marvellous individual that you are
We finished our puds, brought our wine-induced-giggling-conversations to a closed and said goodbye to Ivan and Emily (who are now firm friends with great food recommendations in my eyes).
If you’re looking for somewhere a little extra special, that will treat you like the marvellous individual that you are, I cannot recommend Dakota Bar & Grill enough. Every step of your experience with them is a well-thought-out, invested symphony that you’ll certainly want front row seats for… with a trough of the gnocchi, just for good measure.