Thursday, 20 December 2012

Chortlon Green Brasserie.

It used to be the case that in Chorlton, if a new restaurant opened up it would be either Turkish, of average quality, or both. I like Turkish food, but we already have a few good ones. We have five Indian restaurants, but no decent Chinese. There is a German restaurant, but nowhere to go for a quality burger. Very strange. We looked in envy at West Didsbury, why do they always get the best places?
The logo is perfect.
But things are looking up. Within weeks of each other, we had the opening of The Beagle and The Chorlton Green Brasserie. With a pedigree of Aumbry behind them, we had to visit The Beagle first, and very good it was too.
Cosy and inviting inside.
Last night we went to the brasserie, well it would be rude not to, it is barely 60 seconds from our front door. First impressions are good. We've actually been in for a coffee before. It has a casual charm about it. The staff are really lovely. Within minutes, we are swapping dog tips with the charming manager, and she shows us photos of her cute puppy in a stripey jumper. It is dog friendly in here up to about half way up. It's small and cosy inside.
The menu looks good. I know I'm going to order the Pork two ways as I was cruelly robbed of it at The Beagle as it wasn't on until later that evening. We order a glass of Soldiers block Australian Shiraz each. I like that on the Wine list they have categorised the wines into 'good', 'great' and 'brilliant'. We stick with 'good' tonight as Mrs Bacon is paying. 'Nice and smooth' was her assessment of the wine.
We go for the Christmas set menu, 2 courses for £18.50 and 3 for £22.50. Seems pretty good value. For starters we fancy the Potted Crab Custard and manage to get the Eggs and Bacon; poached duck egg on a pea and bacon pototo cake with buttered kale and hollandaise. This wasn't on the set menu, but they were happy with us to have it. We waited a while for it to come. Service was slow all night, but we were enjoying the relaxed warm atmosphere. The only thing was that for me, the music was too loud. If music is played at all, I want something so inoffensive; at this time of the year Phil Spector's Christmas album would be great or Nat 'King' Cole. Instead we got modern MOR rock pop. Didn't seem to fit with the feel of the place to me. And it was on a loop so if you're in there for a while you can remember hearing it first time around.
The Potted Crab custard was fab, pity they burnt the toast, but they did bring us extra (not burnt this time) as we were sharing. They do a similar dish at  nearby Parlour. I noticed quite a few of these going out, they are rightfully popular.

Potted Crab. A nice starter.

The Eggs & Bacon wasn't up to the heights of the Pearl Barley Kedgeree (which it reminded me of) from the Beagle but it was nice enough.
Mrs. Bacon cannot wait to dig in.
For mains we were going to order two portions of Pork two ways, but Mrs Bacon feels deprived of turkey (I like a Gressingham duck on Christmas day. Turkey for me is a disappointingly boring meat which is why we only eat it once a year.) So we went for The Christmas Dinner. This was turkey stuffed with fennel and yuletide fruits served with almond sprouts, carrots, pigs in blankets (well one large one) roast potatoes and cranberry gravy.
The star of the show: Pork two ways, caramelised red onion potato bon bons & a berry cider reduction

I dug into the Pork two ways first. It looked great, the twice roast organic belly pork was a delight, the fattiness of the perfectly crunchy crackling top balances beautifully with the soft meat underneath. The smoky belly pork was so nice, surely it could only have come from Frosts. We had belly pork a few months ago from Parlour and this beat that dish hands down, it could have come out of The Beagle's kitchen it was that good. There's a lot of Pork belly about these days, it's fashionable of course, but most importantly of all, it's delicious. I know I'll return here for this dish again and again.
Turkey stuffed with fennel & yuletide fruits, almond sprouts, carrots, pigs in blankets roasties, cranberry gravy
I'm afraid The Christmas dinner didn't change my feelings about turkey. Dense, slightly dry and a bit tasteless was my assessment. I wouldn't really blame the chef, it's just the nature of the bird. The rest was all good, I enjoyed the large pig in a blanket, but then I always do.
Desserts were good too. Especially the Christmas Pudding Tart, a lovely moist affair with brandy and cinnamon custard in a little pot.
Christmas Pudding Tart, brandy & cinnamon custard.
We thought the Death by Chocolate pot tasted of the chocolate you get with the Spanish Chocolate con Churros. Our charming waitress disagreed. But then she would know, she's from Barcelona you know. The chocolate could have done with being a bit darker for me, but it was enjoyable all the same.
Death by Chocolate & Beetroot short bread.

Overall we really enjoyed our dinner at the Chorlton Green Brasserie. It's definitely good competition for neighbours Parlour, with similar food. The only thing missing for me is real ale, especially if you're serving pies - they just belong together. On a night out, if we wanted food like this, I can imagine us and friends of ours, opting for Parlour as there is a great range of Cask ale. All the best and most popular places in the area have a good range, a lot of people round here demand it. One bottle of dull old stalwart Black Sheep isn't going to really cut the mustard.
Space is clearly an issue, so I would recommend the new style of craft keg from the likes of Redwillow, Thornbridge or Marble. A dark stout/porter a pale session ale and an IPA (like Jaipur) would be good. The kegs are smaller and easier to maintain than cask proper.
Small but cosy.
But then again I noticed rather a lot of women in there when we were eating, maybe it was a coincidence, but I guess this place could appeal more to women. Of course women drink real ale too, but take a trip to any beer festival or real ale pub, and you'll see the demographic is favoured more towards men.
There is nowhere in Chorlton like this place, it has a different mellow atmosphere. The food's not quite as good as The Beagle, but that space is cold and not cosy. People don't go out to restaurants just for the food, and I think the Chorlton Green Brasserie will do well.

The food is good though (miles better than the unfathomably popular neighbour The Horse & Jockey on my last visit.) It's on a par with Parlour I'd say, and that's always busy.

All right thinking people agree that Sunday Times restaurant columnist AA Gill is a terrible man, but he was right about one thing. When asked about the best restaurant to go to, he answered something along the lines of it being that local little place where they know your name and always treat you like old friends. It's cosy and comfy like a pair of well worn slippers. (The slippers would definitely be from M&S here.)
This place with a few tweaks could be one of those places.
In fact I think it already is.

We paid £63.75 for 3 courses each including 3 glasses of wine. 
Pretty good value for the area.
Service: Friendly but slow.
Atmosphere: Cosy & inviting.
Food: Good
Star dish: Pork two ways

Chorlton Green Brasserie.
137 Beech Road
M21 9EQ.
Opening hours:  8am - 11pm Daily

Chorlton Green Brasserie. on Urbanspoon

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