Embankment Kitchen Restaurant & Bar, 16 Chapel St, Salford, M3 7NH – Visit Now
The Embankment Kitchen has only been around a few years but it has made a big impression. Based on that hazy border between Manchester and Salford on Chapel Street, it’s a stunning venue and easily one of the stand-out destination spaces in this area. Huge floor to ceiling windows provide great views of the city outside, while the decor is a careful balance between elegance and minimalism. Everything is custom-made for a relaxing meal out, and that’s before we even mention the gloriously friendly and cheerful waiting staff, who make the entire evening a sheer delight.
Easily one of the stand-out destination spaces in this area
The food is modern, British and seasonal, in vogue with current high-end dining trends across the city, but most importantly, it’s never boring or predictable. There’s always some new slant on a classic dish that makes you sit back and wonder why it hasn’t been made like this before. Full credit to head chef Marika Healey, a stand-out contestant on a recent series of Masterchef. Indeed, Embankment shares that effortlessly appealing feel with Wood, the all-conquering restaurant from another Masterchef alumnus, Simon Wood.
Tonight, we’re sampling the festive set menu, which offers three courses for a reasonable £35. The tempura prawns are an excellent starting point, with half a dozen or so fat, pink prawns resting on a truly delicious – and fiery hot – cranberry and chilli jam. It might not be the most traditionally festive starter you’ll have all year, but it’ll be one of the best.
The mains are on a whole new level, particularly the classic turkey dinner, which dietary restrictions aside, you should absolutely try at least once. It’s the classic Christmas roast dinner but deftly transformed into something wonderfully modern and complex, in a good way. Squint and it looks like a Renaissance painting: thick circles of perfectly cooked turkey meat, with some eye-openingly good sage and candied orange peel stuffing, plus orange and paprika roast potatoes, honey glazed parsnips and carrots, green beans and a cute little pot of red wine and cranberry jus.
Oh, and not forgetting the most important and controversial element: the sprouts, which come coated in a salty, silky pancetta and chestnut butter. Consider me firmly on team sprout, and these are some of the best around. It’s certainly not a plate for those watching their weight, and nor should it be – Christmas is about excess, and even a hint of gluttony, and this roast Cheshire turkey dish is an excellent example.
If you don’t eat meat, there are some good alternative options, including pan-roasted seabass fillets, which are cooked just right – crispy skin and pale white flesh, not overdone. These fillets come with braised fennel, saffron-infused dauphinoise potatoes, slow-roasted cherry tomatoes, and a smooth, warming lemon-chive and prosecco cream sauce. If you prefer fish over meat, this is a fine choice.
If you’re like me, by this point you’ll have overindulged on the magnificent Christmas cocktails – the Open Fire is a brilliant cinnamon-heavy mix of vanilla vodka, fireball whisky and apple juice; while if you’re looking for something more creamy, The Nutcracker is a beautiful combination of vanilla, frangelico, amaretto and white chocolate liqueur, with an artful drawing made from cinnamon sprinkled on the top.
But save room for the desserts. The Christmas pudding, especially, is a must-try. It has all the moreish bold fruit flavours of the classic pud, but manages to be much lighter and less sleep-inducing than you might expect. The red wine and vanilla poached pear is another winner – very easy on the eye and a great combination of fresh, wintry flavours on the palate.
The Embankment Kitchen is one of the jewels in Salford’s crown, and their festive menu is looking to be one of the standout options for the upcoming season. Whether you’re looking for a group meal, a romantic date or even a solo outing, the level of skill and expertise, both front and back of house, means that when January rolls around, this time, you’ll have very fond memories of the Christmas just gone.