The Edinburgh Castle Pub, Henry St &, Blossom St,, Manchester, M4 5AW – Visit Now
One of our favourite destinations in Ancoats, The Edinburgh Castle is everything this area needs. A modern pub with an authentic feel, it eschews the chrome and whistles of many of its near neighbours, offering a welcoming and traditional drinking area downstairs and a timeless, elegant dining space upstairs. However, tonight’s visit deviates a little from their standard menu.
We’re here for the venue’s monthly Trust The Chef event, a blind tasting menu held on the first Wednesday of every month. Tonight’s event is done in conjunction with The Butcher’s Quarter, and of course, the expert in-house kitchen team at The Edinburgh Castle. As many ingredients as possible have been locally foraged, all cooked with an eye on seasonal produce – and as it’s early September, we’re talking an early autumn theme, full of bold, warm flavours.
The opening bread course is always a good indicator, and it doesn’t get much better than these. Three warm, fresh rolls, coated with poppy seeds, sesame seeds or a dusting of flour, match with a delicious and lightly salty whipped butter.
The first course proper is game terrine. A beautifully sculpted combination of venison, grouse, chickens and duck liver and foie gras, along with some strips of crunchy toasted brioche. It’s hearty, meaty and all feels rather Henry VIII when surrounded by all the heavy mahogany wood panelling upstairs. It’s a dish that perfectly suits the venue and rubber stamps the point that Edinburgh Castle is both graceful and accessible, like every great pub.
Cullen sink next, as a nod to the name of the venue, plus the Scottish roots of many of the people involved in tonight’s meal. It’s a light, creamy dish, packed with earthy flavours in the leek and potato velute, then gentle white fish. It’s a pretty dish, all light shades with dashes of intense green oil, and tastes sublime.
The venison main stands out as one of the finest dishes I’ve eaten in Ancoats, possibly the city at large. A beautiful slab of meat, from Pitscandley red deer, near Angus, paired with two slices of salt-baked celeriac, with 60% Mercondo dark chocolate grated over the top. This would be glorious in itself, but then the gravy poured over it transforms it into one of the most stunning combinations of flavour imaginable. Thick, rich – impossibly rich, even – this is gravy as sauce, and all the better for it. If any dish should make it onto the a la carte menu, this is the one.
This is followed by a cheese board consisting of Auld Rekkie, Lanarkshire Blue, oat crackers and a delicious thick chutney, but the sweet dessert final course is another unforgettable dish. Based on cranachan, the traditional Scottish dessert, it’s a glorious mixture of raspberry and hob nob biscuits, prepared in multiple ways. It even comes with a dram of Mortlach 16, a revered whisky that does wonderful things with the sweet aromas of the dessert.
On tonight’s showing, The Edinburgh Castle doesn’t put a foot wrong. These blind tasting menus bring out the very best in everyone involved, from the kitchen staff to the supplies, to the diners, all delighted to be part of something incredibly special. And if you want to be part of the next one, on Weds 6th October, you can book by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.