I’m not sure how this happened, but I had only just visited Sams Chop House in Manchester for the first time last week. In my eyes that’s absurd – it’s only been there since 1872, standing proud as one of Manchester’s most celebrated bars and restaurants.
I’ve known of it for a long time, mainly for serving the best of British cuisine and a fine selection of ales, wines and spirits, tucked away at Chapel Walks. My hairdressers – Andrew Collinge – even sits right next to it. No excuses from me here!
Anyway, I have now finally visited one of the city’s oldest dining and drinking haunts, and I can now happily review it. So here we go…
Sams Chop House, although an independent local business, is part of a group of other chop house enthusiasts, which include Mr Thomas’s & The Albert Square Chop Houses. The Chop Houses are all about hospitality, good beer, wine, & the best of British cooking. Each one has an oldie worldie style interior, with that warm, cosy ambiance of an English ‘pub’ in my my eyes.
Each building is all enriched with history, and they all tell a story or two about the city. Sam’s Chop House is part of the fabric of Manchester, and they have saved a piece of history with the status of LS Lowry that takes pride of place at the end of the bar – hence my photo above! So, I can now say I’ve joined him for a drink…
Myself and my Mum dined and drank here on a Tuesday evening, in which we went down the stairs at the entrance and into the busy, bustling pub area brimmed with after work drinkers. There was entertainment on, so we were greeted with a live act as soon as we arrived.
It sounds cliche to say we were greeted with a friendly, warm, and welcoming vibe, but that really is how I felt when I walked through the bar area and meandered to the dining area situated towards the back.
We were booked in at 7.30pm, and the dining area was fairly quiet, although as soon as it hit 8 pm it started to get pretty busy. I opted for a large white wine and soda water, and my Mum went for one of the beers as we browsed through the leather bound menus.
My first delight was that there were good old traditional, hearty choices on the menu. You know what I mean when I say those ‘proper’ meals – like a Roast Chicken dinner, Fish and Chips, Shepherds Pies, Corned Beef Hash, Liver and Bacon, Pie’s, Mussels… you know where I’m coming from. And of course, various types of chops, and lots of steak options too. A real delight for meat eaters!
The starters were hard to pick from too, with a list of tempting dishes from a wild mushroom tart, to The Famous Chop House Corned Beef Hash Cake. I decided to choose a bowl of crispy whitebait with garlic mayonnaise and lemon, purely because I love crispy whitebait.
However, I feel like perhaps I did myself out a little bit by not choosing the famous corned beef hash cake, because after all, I’ve known about this dish and the Corned Beef Hash main for aaaaaaages, just simply because its associated to The Chop House.
Ah well, there’s always a next time! I desperately wanted to try out the Homity Pie, which is an open lid soft crust pie filled with wild mushrooms, artichokes, onions, leeks and goats cheese. It comes with a side serving of crispy lettuce leaves packed with toasted nuts.
I’m such a pie fan, and I tend to lend myself to the vegetarian options on a menu when I dine out (no idea why, I’m not a vegetarian at all, I guess I just like veggie options).
Although I feel I should have ordered some of Sams Chop House famous staples, both of my courses were absolute perfection and I chose very well if I do say so myself. The crispy whitebait portion was HUGE – literally a bowl piled so high with soft whitebait inside a lightly crispy fried batter, soaked in lemon and dipped in garlic mayonnaise.
They were slightly salted and just tasted delicious. So more-ish even though I had enough on my plate for a main course (so of course I shared these with my Mum…)
Onto the main course, the Homity Pie was just as good of a choice. The crust was perfect, soft but not too crumbly, holding together the tastiest concoction of veggies smothered in a thick melted goats cheese. It’s been a while since I’ve had a pie so unique and delicious.
The crispy whitebait costs £6.95 and the Homity Pie £13.95, so fairly reasonable prices for quality cooked meals at huuuuuge portions that I literally couldn’t fault.
I’d actually recommend a visit to this place as a bit of a ‘classier’ after work meal during the week, or a nice weekend meal and drinks out. You still get the extensive menu choice and brilliant British food options, a warm cosy atmosphere and friendly staff, but more of that relaxed, laid back vibe. Nothing too ‘stuffy’ or ‘dressy’ – just a real friendly place to drink and dine.
My Mum opted for the Smoked Haddock Fishcakes, which came with a delicious sauce and veggies. These again were such a large portion, so you have plenty of food to get you through if you decide to skip a starter or side dish, like my Mum did. These fish cakes were soooooo yummy, the fish was lightly smoked and full of flavour.
If you love the atmosphere and ambiance of a traditional, British themed eatery and place to drink, with beers, ales, an extensive wine menu and classic food options which reflect the much-loved British taste, you’ll love this place. It’s stunning inside, in a perfect location to move on if you wish (nestled between King Street and Market Street) and has a schedule of live entertainment for those who want a bit extra from their evening.
Next on my list will be Albert’s Chop House and Tom’s Chop House – and maybe I’ll get to sample the Corned Beef Hash next time!