Sunday, 20 January 2013
RESTAURANT REVIEW: LIVEBAIT
On a chilly winters eve (and after a few gentle pints in the Town Hall Tavern - a highly recommended drinking establishment) the Two Greedy Mancunians were back in action for 2013 with our first restaurant review of the year (incidentally Happy New Year to you all!). This honor fell to the seafood restaurant and bar "Livebait". Upon entering we noticed that for a Saturday night it wasn't overly busy, but put this down to it being freezing and also the ol' January money blues.
We were given the menus and ordered 2 Morretti's (one of our favourite Italian beers). For Starters, Alex ordered the salt & pepper squid with chilli dipping sauce (above). The squid was beautifully battered and not too greasy and not just your average squid rings, as it also had little baby ones and tentacles & the dipping sauce had just the right kick! I opted for the crispy whitebait with aioli. The whitebait actually tasted of fish which makes a nice change from the deep fried slivers of crunch you normally get with whitebait - having said that they could have done with a fraction more crunch to them, but this didn't detract from the dish overall. They were presented nicely in a small frying pot and served with the aioli mayonnaise and a wedge of lemon.
We thoroughly enjoyed our starters and were looking forward to the main event ("two more Morretti's please"). For our mains Alex ordered the line caught cod with a mushroom and bacon risotto, and I ordered the Goan fish, clam and mussel curry. Alex thought his fish was cooked perfectly with the skin nice and crispy as this was devoured also. The risotto it was served with was an utter delight as many places can get risotto terribly wrong - it was rich and creamy and in Alex's words was..... "BELISSIMO!!!". We also shared a side of cabbage and bacon - which was very tasty.
My Goan curry came bursting with colour and smelling great. Not being a particular fan of salmon, i was surprised to find that it was really tasty and worked well with the curry - I think a white fish might have been lost with all the other flavours. The curry sauce was rich and there were flavours of coconut, mango & coriander and it had a nice (but not too hot) blend of spices. All of the mussels and clams were fully open and had been properly prepared & cleaned. The dish was served with a nice sized portion of rice and some lovely cumin flavoured poppadoms.
After a 5 minute breather and another couple of Morretti's we asked to see the desert menu. Feeling nicely full we both ordered lighter deserts. Alex had a trio of sorbet and ice cream, and was persuaded to accompany it with a glass of sherry which was described as winter in a glass. The trio consisted of a blood orange sorbet, a pistachio ice cream and a vanilla ice cream. All were pleasant and sherry was sweet and tasted of christmas pudding - living up to the claims of it being "winter in a glass".
Being a cheese obsessed fanatic (see my other blog: www.themightycheeseboard.blogspot.com) I went for 2 of the 4 cheeses on offer (I was too full to go for the full selection). I went for the Stilton which was a nice strong Stilton and paired with a beetroot chutney that worked marvelously together. The other cheese I went for was one of my all time favourites - the Spanish cheese Manchego - this was served with quince. I liked the fact that each cheese was individually paired with a different chutney/jam as all too often with a cheeseboard you get a selection of cheeses and then one dollop of a generic chutney to accompany all the cheeses - thought had obviously gone into this restaurants cheese menu.
The waiting staff were all very pleasant and we had a lovely chinwag about all things food with the manager after our meal, but the only complaint we had was that they need to get the green neon sign behind the bar sorted out as it currently reads "LIVEBA.." - aside from that minor quibble, it was a good evening and a really excellent meal, and for the quality of the food reasonably priced. I would fully recommend it to anyone who likes seafood and (if the table behind us is anything to go by), anyone who doesn't like seafood also!
To see sample menus and find out more about Livebait then check out their website: www.livebaitmanchester.com