So I thought it was about time I put together a good old restaurant review for whatemmadid.com readers this week. I love talking about food more than most things in life, and when I have had an all round good experience at a restaurant, I enjoy talking about the food even more! This week, I review Urban Cookhouse based on Manchester’s Princess Street, just on the outskirts of the lively bar scene around Canal Street.
The New York loft inspired space is home to the fusion food themed cookhouse, with an impressive cocktail menu, a DJ and a late license. The open plan interior features light wooden floors, low hanging light fixtures, metal finishings and electric purple neon lights on some of the walls to create an uber-coo,l yet laid back, NYC vibe. I have to admit that I fell in love with the interior of this restaurant as soon as I walked up the entrance steps to get inside. It’s so light, airy and modern, and I am a sucker for a clean and chic eating space. The staff who greeted myself and my guest were genuinely polite and helpful, guiding us a cosy little table for two and handed us the impressive Pan-Asian style menu…
Even though the food at Urban Cookhouse is centered around the Pan-Asia feel, I liked that there were a number of more traditional meal options too, making it a safe place to take friends and family who can be a little funny with different types of cuisines. In terms of more ‘traditional’ dishes, they have delicious sounding Rib Eye and Sirloin steaks for the meat eaters, a Whiskey Chicken which is a buttermilk fried Chicken (that I am a stickler for!), Pork Belly and yummy salads including Tea Smoked Salmon and Beetroot and Spinach. But lets face it – if it’s a fusion flavour restaurant, I was going to make the most of this and opt for a starter and a main inspired from the Asian and Japanese cuisines!
For my starter, I opted for the Chicken Satay, which was a plated display of sushi rice cubes, pickled ginger and purple micro basil. The satay sauce covered chicken tasted lovely, and it was nice to be able to pick at the chicken and the rice as I pleased rather than having them rolled into one like usual sushi rolls.
For my main, I chose the King Prawn Linguine, with cherry tomatoes, clams and a white wine sauce. The portion of king prawns and clams was overly generous which was fantastic to see; nothing worse than small portions of the good stuff. The prawns were so juicy and delicious in general! The dish had a creamy taste with lots of flavour, and was garnished with a pretty little salad. I’m such a desert girl too so I thought it was rather rude to not finish off with a cheeky little slice of Carrot and Orange cake with panacotta, and I have to say this cake ticked all the boxes. I LOVE cake that has the same texture as a scone – really dense and quite heavy, packed with flavour. Fully aware you may think that’s a random comment to make! Well this cake was exactly to my taste – it only a looked small piece but it was rich, full of flavour, and with a dense texture yet still managed to keep its fluffy sponge. It was lovely! I could eat so much more of this cake…
For the more adventurous eaters out there, Urban Cookhouse have some other delights on the menu, including jerk loin of pork with sweet chilli pineapple noodles, pak choi and Jamaican dumplings, tandoori paneer and the sea bream with coconut rice which was my second choice.
As well as the food, the amazing cocktails (I was sipping the nicest Elderflower and Sparkling Wine concoction) and the attentive and welcoming service, I loved the fact that the feel inside this place was reminiscent of the sophisticated and image-proud eateries of Spinningfields, yet sits in a more mixed area, making the clientele eating and socialising at Urban Cookhouse less ‘all-of-the-same’ and without the super strict door policy. Don’t get me wrong, you can tell Urban Cookhouse wants to keep a certain elegance about the place, but it seems a little more relaxed and friendly than the slightly pretentious vibes Spinningfields can give off. One for the workers, the creatives, the mature students and the social butterflies.
A fab little place that I recommend very much!