Grill On The Alley, 5 Ridgefield, Manchester, M2 6EG – Visit Now
Grill On The Alley is one of Manchester’s original steakhouses, opened by Tim Bacon, the much-missed head of Living Ventures, back in 2006. Since then, the city has changed enormously. Hundreds of restaurants, of all size, shape and colour, have come and gone, but this Deansgate restaurant remains as popular as ever.
The menu has been revamped for spring, with a host of new cuts and meat provenance on offer. The restaurant is as classy as you’d expect from any venue in the Living Ventures chain. Relaxed lighting, plenty of space and a laid-back yet professional air. It works well for either business lunch or date night – or even the two together, if you’re feeling devilish.
We begin with the dressed crab and avocado. It’s an interesting looking dish, with more than a nod towards classic British dining. Paper-thin slices of cucumber, fanned out and punctuated with a dot of Bloody Mary-style tomato sauce, holding a three-layered tower of avocado, brown crab meat and white crab meat. Not to mention crunchy slices of toasted bread to scoop up the meat. It’s a fine, light starter proving this grill isn’t just for meats.
The chicken skewers are a go-to dish for those looking for bite and substance. Soft white chicken meat, pan fried in a wonderfully seasoned thick sesame coating, made all the more delicious by a delicate peanut and coconut dipping sauce. A pile of mango salsa rounds things off, light, fresh and perfectly balanced.
This is the Vorsprung durch Technik of climate when it comes to cattle
Of course, no trip to Grill On The Alley would be complete without a steak. Fillet fans should go straight to the new offering, the highly-regarded Australian Aberdeen black fillet. Hailing from the ‘food bowl’ area of New South Wales, this is the Vorsprung durch Technik of climate when it comes to cattle. Tenderness is everything. And this cut doesn’t disappoint. For a straight up fillet steak, this is hard to beat: obscenely pink in the middle, with a beautifully crisp coating. Flawless.
The sides match up well. A buttery, creamy mash and the light leafy side salad are all you need. But if you want to turn the decadence up to 11, go for the creamed spinach. Smooth, rich and overflowing with melted creamed cheese – it’s wildly popular for a reason.
Seafood lovers will be more than happy with the lobster. No need to mangle away with crackers and picks, the fat chunks of meat are there, ready and waiting, soaked in an other-worldly garlic butter sauce. If push came to shove, go for the steak but this high-quality crustacean more than holds its own.
If quality is paramount, look no further
The Bakewell tart is another classic British dish, zapped into the 21st century with a dollop of coconut ice cream and ringed with salted caramel sauce. Fanny Craddock would blow her lid. The lemon and lime posset stands up well. A pretty cocktail glass, full of sugarry cream, studded with strawberries and brittle brandy snaps.
It’s not hard to see why Grill On The Alley sits near the top of Manchester’s food chain after over a decade in the game. Other than a few subtle flourishes, the focus is on gimmick-free dishes made from the finest ingredients on the market. If you’re looking for classic British dishes, and quality is paramount, you need look no further.