Saturday 16 February 2013

The Hungry Gecko at The Beech Chorlton

I've always wanted to eat the food of Jackie Kearney who you may have seen as a finalist on BBC1's Masterchef. I tried to organise a group of us to go to her Dining Club at her house in Chorlton, she's actually a neighbour of a friend of mine, and it sounded like a fun and different night out. But what with one thing and another, we couldn't agree on a date, so it was put on the back burner - yet another thing on the long list of things 'to do'. So when I found out that she was going to be bringing her Asian street food from her silver van 'Barbarella' into the beer garden of my favourite and local pub The Beech, (see my review here.) I was excited to try it.
What a genius idea!

We went down on Friday evening. Always keen; me and Mrs Bacon were actually the first to be served. We ordered the Paneer Shashlik Roti Wrap, spicy marinated fresh paneer with cachumba salad, with coriander chutney & raita (£5), the Sloppy Joe Rendang, grass fed Cheshire beef with coconut & lemongrass, in turmeric roll, served with Asian 'slaw (£5), also the Murtabak & Smoky Tofu served with Asian 'slaw (£4), and the Nasi Goreng & 5 Spice Pork Belly (£6.50.) It was all great, really fresh, the good strong spicy flavours work very well with beer - a perfect combination.

Nasi Goreng & 5 Spice Pork Belly.

Murtabak & Smoky Tofu served with Asian 'slaw.

Jackie told us that she will be changing the menu as she goes along to be seasonal and to see what is the most popular. The clever thing about it is that you can have it as a proper evening meal like we did, have one dish as a snack or tapas or eat at the end of the night after a load of beers (I can see myself doing this quite often.) I think it was a bit of a nightmare for them driving this big beautiful van all around the country and I would imagine costly. She told us that she was sitting in a square in Manchester and a friend of hers said 'you need a space to park your van - a semi permanent spot.' The Beech was the perfect place (especially for me as I'm 2 mins walk from there.) She approached the pub and they agreed.

Jackie hard at work.
She will be serving her Asian street food inspired menu every Friday and Saturday from 4pm till closing, and on Sunday from 12pm until late. If last night was anything to judge it by, this venture will be a huge success for her and The Beech. The atmosphere was brilliant, a bit like a festival - but with people of all ages - and the regulars like us. It was really busy in there, but luckily we'd got our seat at 5pm.

We were imagining it on a warm summer night (remember them?) sitting outside drinking beer and eating this great food. It maybe tempting for a few regulars to have a moan about how busy it is now, but this venture can only be a good thing for The Beech, Chorlton and all of us who like going out, drinking beer and eating!

Sloppy Joe Rendang.
The Hungry Gecko at The Beech
Beech road
Hungry Gecko at The Beech Inn on Urbanspoon

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