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REVIEW: Victor's Eatery, Hale

Deanna Thomas on Neighbourhood's glamorous push into the monied provinces

Written by . Published on October 8th 2014.

REVIEW: Victor's Eatery, Hale

I’M IGNORING the fact that Victor’s refers to itself as an ‘Eatery’ because my scorn for that word is irrelevant to this review. It doesn’t matter that I think it’s a lazy term used by journalists and PR’s who know little about food, when they’ve written ‘restaurant’ too many times. So let’s just forget I even mentioned it and move on.

This fish had died a worthy death; its flesh had been anointed with delicately balanced earthy soy-based flavours

Victor’s is owned by the team behind Manchester’s successful Neighbourhood and Southern Eleven in Spinningfields, who have worked out that their main demographic might want to occasionally leave the 4x4 on their Cheshire gravel drive and venture somewhere more local.

It describes itself as an American restaurant, but there are no towering burgers, sticky ribs or hot dogs, no jambalaya or gumbo, grits or cornbread. In fact, they don’t serve ‘dirty’ food at all. They serve very clean and tidy food, the sort you’d imagine Gwyneth Paltrow or Sarah Jessica Parker waving a fork over in LA.

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The interior is glossy chic with whitewashed brick walls, thick oak beams, pale wooden tables, stone hued leather chairs and perfectly plumped steel grey cushions. It’s the kind of place that made me want to spend an extra hour in front of the mirror that morning making sure I appeared especially effortless when I arrived.

The menu reflects the way California embraced Japanese cuisine and conceived a native take on sushi with dishes such as the California Roll. The kitchen team have chosen more subtle flavour enhancing ingredients such as teriyaki sauce, togarashi seasoning, miso and kimchee, infused mayonnaises and pickling techniques. Raw fish, meat and shredded salads are served in various Asian inspired ways to keep the flavours in and the carbs mostly out.

Hungrier types can opt for a decent steak ranging from the 12oz flat iron (£16) to the Porterhouse (£55) or choose from a range of pasta dishes such as Wild Boar Bolognaise (£7/£11).

Tuna SashimiTuna Sashimi

Black CodBlack Cod

The dishes are listed on the menu in groups for grazing or sharing rather than the more standard three course meal; sashimi, inari, appetisers, lunch plates, entrées and ‘scattered sushi in a bowl’ called ‘Chirashizushi’ which is impossible to pronounce without sounding drunk.

We turned up at lunchtime on a Sunday and although there is a traditional roast on the menu (£16.50 beef, £15.50 chicken), a bit of nosey-parkery revealed that most people seemed to be enjoying a brunch of perfect looking Eggs Benedict.

Roasted eel Chirashizushi with cucumber and mango (£9.50) is as small and exquisitely formed as your average movie star. Every ingredient had been manicured and fully serviced; soft fanned eel was coated in a umami rich marinade, mooli was as finespun as an angel’s barnet and scattered with perfect cubes of exactly ripe mango. I think the chefs might be working alongside a team of stylists.

Victor’s take on the lobster taco (£12) came in tiny tasteful triplicate. Three circles of soft tortilla topped with a slice of delicately pickled Granny Smith apple and avocado mayonnaise with nuggets of lobster inside a very light tempura batter.

Lobster TacoLobster Taco

Chocolate PaveChocolate Pave

The next round of dishes brought baked aubergine with honey, pumpkin seeds and courgette fritter (£6) which my usually carnivorous friend thought was delicious and really satisfying. I tried barbecued black cod (£12) which came highly recommended. This fish had died a worthy death; its flesh had been anointed with delicately balanced earthy soy-based flavours until it took on the delicate hue of milky tea whilst the outside was delicately caramelised and only slightly sweet.

Puddings were a chance to show that Victor’s had a sense of fun. Chocolate Pave with Miso ice cream and brown sugar (£7) turned heads when it arrived at the table. A miniature bottle was filled with a bubbly honeycomb milk shake which I thought a little pasty but the friend loved. Chocolate pave, as rich and smooth as a successful Hollywood producer, was topped with fresh blueberries and candied hazelnuts – although they could lose the fresh thyme. The brown sugar marshmallows tasted a little burnt so were less successful but the slightly savoury and more unusual Miso ice cream balanced the dish well.

There is a mostly reasonably priced wine list (including a £700 Magnum of Crystal just in case a local millionaire wanders in with a cause for celebration) and a cocktail list inspired by The Hamptons and the beach.

I had taken a friend who had been down on her luck recently but a spontaneous afternoon of gossip, lobster and Prosecco in this glamorous venue lifted her up a treat.

Follow @DeannaThomas on twitter.


Victor’s Eatery, 169 Ashley Road, Hale, Cheshire, WA15 9SD. 0161 928 4651

Rating 15/20

Food: 7.5/10 (lobster taco 7, eel 7.5, aubergine 7, black cod 8.5, chocolate pave 8)

Service: 3.5/5 beautiful but made us repeat everything.

Ambience: 4/5 where glamour meets stylish for cocktails and gossip.

PLEASE NOTE: Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing, 14-15 worth a trip, 16-17 very good, 18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20, we get carried away

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31 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

GordoOctober 8th 2014.

Great review that.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 9th 2014.

For what it is worth I agree! A notably enjoyable read.

AnonymousOctober 10th 2014.

Yes, very nice read! £16.50 for a Sunday roast though??

AnonymousOctober 8th 2014.

I'll be trying here, really like the look of the menu (although are those lobster tacos really £12? Seems excessive)

AnonymousOctober 8th 2014.

Hale's in Cheshire now is it?

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Barry MaginnOctober 8th 2014.

Emmmm....yes. Where did it used to be?

JimOctober 8th 2014.

Technically Hale is in Greater Manchester not Cheshire. However us Hale lot like to say we're from Cheshire ;-)

Barry MaginnOctober 9th 2014.

Surely Cheshire is a state of mind, not a geographical location

AnonymousOctober 8th 2014.

I would doubt that Neighbourhood's main demographic live in Hale, Wythenshawe maybe.

pollolocoOctober 8th 2014.

I expect to see this small group receive Cheshire Life awards very soon....judging by the full page glossies :)

Trish KarneyOctober 8th 2014.

Food looks a bit like Australasia. Bet the clientele are absolutely ghastly

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Henry VOctober 8th 2014.

Bloody hell, there are some shocking snobs on here these days

AnonymousOctober 8th 2014.

It's Hale. Of course they'll be ghastly!

AnonymousOctober 8th 2014.

a bit like Ithaca, too. "Chirashizushi" = "Chirashi" + "sushi", ‘scattered sushi in a bowl’ may be a little misleading. There is no picture in this review, but it should be sushi rice on a plate or bowl with 'scattered' petals or flakes of seaweed, sashimi, etc on the top..

ShinjiOctober 9th 2014.

How much is a bottle of Grey Goose?

AnonymousOctober 9th 2014.

Oh for God's sake get a life, or at least some imagination! I am a very down-to-earth Geordie and have lived Hale for a long time. We are lucky, people are friendly. Leave your Hale or Cheshire prejudices in town, when you visit and you might be surprised! Thanks - another good review.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 10th 2014.

Bet you love San Carlo too ;)

AnonymousOctober 10th 2014.

No, not particularly - do you? Are you a food critic or someone who can afford to try all these restaurants? We are pensioners, live Hale and like to frequent local places like Danilos and try the newer restaurants. Don't really like shlepping into Manc. Also support the local economy.

AnonymousOctober 10th 2014.

If you ignore the trolley dollies and the over dressed (men and women) Hale has some very decent restaurants, overpriced on somethings but good food and I do live in Cheshire!!

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 10th 2014.

I'm sorry but it doesn't, Cheshire overall must be the worst region in the country for restaurants.

AnonymousOctober 10th 2014.

I live in Hale and am an ancient trolley dolly (not!) also not all of us are over- dressed women or men - sweeping statement - not accurate in any way. Same true about your comment re Cheshire restaurants. I wonder where you live? Not that this would have any bearing on your obvious misinformation about Hale, its people and restaurants etc.

pollolocoOctober 16th 2014.

Live in Prestbury and I have to agree, most of the restaurants locally are very average at best.

David OlliverOctober 10th 2014.

To Jim,technically Hale is not in Greater Manchester,but having a WA postcode,is in Warrington,thanks to the bureaucrats!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Fitz LinsonOctober 10th 2014.

By that reckoning much of the High Peak as well as Macclesfield, Alderly Edge, Buxton and Glossop belong to Stockport #postcodefact

AnonymousOctober 10th 2014.

Hale is a Manchester suburb.

AnonymousOctober 10th 2014.

I bet nobody that lives in Hale has been to This & That restaurant!

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 10th 2014.

No the Hale lot go to Yadgar, I know that as fact.

AnonymousOctober 10th 2014.

I love Hale facts.

AnonymousOctober 10th 2014.

I went to This and That many times when I used to work in town at the CIS, and I lived in Hale at the time. I'm now in Altrincham.

AnonymousOctober 13th 2014.

This and that - Rice and three. Was in there sat evening after a couple of pints, best £5 you could ever spend! Oh but i do live in Sale, not Hale.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 13th 2014.

Bloody freezing in that place at night.

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