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Chorlton Green Brasserie Reviewed

Jonathan Schofield finds the new brasserie/restaurant/thing under starters orders

Written by . Published on January 1st 2013.


Chorlton Green Brasserie Reviewed

SO come on readers, what the hell is a brasserie?

Is it a little restaurant? Will it grow into a big restaurant if carefully nurtured? Is it a more relaxed, easy-going type of a restaurant, and if so what then is a restaurant?

Perhaps 'brasserie' has just become a cutsy name that attaches itself to suburban dining experiences?

Perhaps it's part of that frequently grating tweeness beloved of suburban streets such as Burton Road, Beech Road and anywhere in the boho British backstreets where there’s a shop selling painted teapots and old fashioned (but really made in China last week) clocks?

They need to work forward from the excellent starters. If they do that then Chorlton Green Restaurant/Brasserie/Thing, might have a chance.

One of the presents I got for Christmas was Will Gompertz’ excellent What are you looking at? 150 years of Modern Art.

If I say it's art it isIf I say it's art it isHe makes the point  - one that eludes many people who walk into a gallery and scoff at a modern work - that art is art when an artist says it is. This is even the case when it’s as seemingly crazy as Susan Collis' carpet grips in The Manchester Contempories last year (click here and scroll to the last of the Sleuth stories).  

Applying this logic if Chorlton Green Brasserie wants to describe itself as a brasserie, despite its a la carte menu, then brasserie it is, because it says it is. 

The 'Brasserie'The 'Brasserie'

There that's off my chest. Now, let me just loosen this semantic bonnet and let the bees out, and get on with the review.

What is certain is that Chorlton Green Brasserie provides an attractive dining area in subtle Farrow & Ball shades. It's small but not claustrophobic. It feels a good place for food. 

During the starter courses it felt like a very, very good place for food. 

The mushrooms on toast at £6.25 came on thick, juice soaking bread with chanterelles, oyster mushrooms, morels and girolles. There was a roof of rocket on the dish but my-oh-my under the green, the brown was beautiful. This was as fine and fabulous a collation of fungus you could wish for. I could have eaten twice the large portion.

Gorgeous mushroomsGorgeous mushrooms

The potted crab custard (£6.95) was equally fine, showing art and execution in its rich flavours and yielding cap. Not sure how that custardy yet balanced and delightful top was attained but I'd love the chefs to show me one day. This is a highly recommended dish. 

Potted crab custardPotted crab custard

Maintaining the starter quality was a warm game terrine (£6.95). This came with a clever mulled wine chutney, and with earthy flesh, bound tightly within a beautiful cured bacon. The flavours were strong, wilful and wild - again this is highly recommended.

Properly gameProperly game, but lose the rocket

There was only one problem.

All the starters were rocket-fuelled, literally. All of them were wearing bitter, peppery green leaves like hats. It's excessive.

It felt like out the back of Chorlton Green Brasserie there must have been three or four acres of rocket under glass, and the brasserie needed to use the crop really quickly before it went off. 

The zenith of rockety excess came with the Sunday roast, which also featured arugula as the Yankees call it. Just like grandma never used to cook.

But this wasn't the only problem with the mains.

The Sunday roast (£11.50) looked promising and one of the main attractions on the plate, the beef, was superb; full-flavoured, great texture.

Nice beef but oh that heavy YorkshireNice beef but oh that heavy Yorkshire

But oh dear, the Yorkshire pudding was flour-wrecked, unseasoned and inedible, like stuffing a fist sized ball of Yorkshire clay in your mouth. 

We had two of these roasts and the Yorkshire pudding was a shocker both times. The roasties were ok, nothing more, the parsnips and carrots were good, that bloody rocket pointless. 

We also had a go at the sea bass - a heavy duty £18.50. The fish flesh was very good, pleasantly tainted with the citrus from the stuffing. But the promising sounding smoked bacon, celery and puy lentil bed it came upon, was watery, weak and not the correct temperature. It brought the dish low, if that 'bed' had been right it might have been an 8/10 course.

Sea bass on a sleepless nights bedSea bass on a sleepless nights bed

We only tried one dessert. 

This looked like my favourite artist Pieter Breugel’s Tower of Babel painting. Given the food context I would like to have called it a Tower of Bagel but life is seldom so pliable. Instead, this was a lemon meringue pie reaching to the heavens.

Chorlton Green Brasserie -Brueghal's Tower Of Babel, Maybe Tower Of BagelChorlton Green Brasserie - Brueghal's Tower Of Babel

I threw it to the ground like the vengeful Abrahamic God did with that arrogant tower. But then, unlike Jehovah, I forked it into my mouth.

All the soft bits were delightful, but the pastry base was as limp as the handshake of a Church of England vicar suffering a crisis of conscience. 

Chorlton Green Brasserie -Brueghal's Tower Of Babel, Maybe Tower Of BagelBruegel's Tower of Babel

The winelist shows creativity and is nicely put together in 'Good', 'Great' and 'Brilliant' categories. Take a look below.

WinelistWinelist

Beer drinkers have less choice but coffee fanatics will enjoy the 100% Arabica blends from Cheshire's Marco Ellingham - a double espresso at £3 was excellent.

Lovely espressoLovely espresso

Aside from the ridiculous rocket and the faults in the mains there is clearly potential behind the cooking at Chorlton Green Brasserie. The starters illustrate that perfertly.

But while ironing out the food faults, other major elements need to be urgently sorted. On a fairly quiet Sunday the time taken for the food to get from kitchen to table was way too long, the lads in the kitchen need to halve it. At least.

Also the smiling and very pleasant waitresses need to make sure they're always scanning the room and listening out for the shout of "Service!" And if they see a family come in they should offer the kids menu as standard, especially in Chorlton.

I want Chorlton Green Brasserie to succeed. I want the investment to bring a return to the owners and the diners equally. 

But the owners need to speed up, service up, and never ever produce Yorkshire puddings that bad. They need to work forward from the excellent starters. If they do then Chorlton Green Restaurant/Brasserie/Thing, might have a chance.

If they don't, then no amount of menu-trumpeting about 'British, sustainable, organic, free range, locally sourced' will matter a jot.

People will go once and not come back. 

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter here @JonathSchofield

ALL SCORED CONFIDENTIAL REVIEWS ARE IMPARTIAL AND PAID FOR BY THE MAGAZINE. 

Chorlton Green Brasserie, 137 Beech Road, Chorlton, M21 9EQ, O161 881 7759    

Rating: 13.14/20 

Food: 7.14/10 (bread 6.5, potted crab 8, terrine 8, mushrooms on toast 8, Sunday roast 6.5, sea bass 6.5, lemon meringue 6.5)
Service: 3/5
Ambience: 3/5

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, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20, we get carried away.

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

food for thoughtJanuary 2nd 2013.

Why being so obsessed with rocket? It was a good review , give a chance to small restaurant and let it go....

Kris CullineyJanuary 2nd 2013.

I disagree Rocket can spoil a dish. constructive crticism.Its a good start for a new year review.

AnonymousJanuary 2nd 2013.

We ate here for breakfast last week. There were hardly any people in there and it took ages. The poached eggs came with a rocket hat too.

The breakfast was of a really high quality though. Amazing sausages.

Poster BoyJanuary 2nd 2013.

Rocket, the parsley of the 1990's...

sapphiJanuary 2nd 2013.

I think Yorkshire puddings are all down to personal preference. I am really critical of them and really enjoyed mine at Chorlton Green Brasserie when I ate there a few weeks ago. Maybe it just depends how you like them?!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
GordoJanuary 3rd 2013.

No Sapphi, Yorkshire Puddings are very particular in the making; resting the batter, the batter mix itself, ensuring the fat is spanking hot when the mixture goes in, judging the seasoning, all very important. Then of course, do you like it 'cakey' at the bottom and crispy on top? A bad Yorkshire pudding simply shows a lazy chef is all.

Kris CullineyJanuary 3rd 2013.

Hear Hear!

Culinary MagritteJanuary 2nd 2013.

I note Monsieur Schofield is onto something here. Ever since the relocation of the BBC up north, we find ourselves witnessing the French culture -most likely originating in London- in its footsteps. Further to the latest gastro-pub addition by the name of Beagle (some are inclined to call it...a bar?), we now are baffled by a 'brasserie' without a white linen service. The cosmopolitan mind boggles.

Vincent ThompsonJanuary 3rd 2013.

I had a terrific meal there last night, have to say that I really don't mind waiting 15-20 mins between courses if the food quality is high and ingredients are fresh. The fish pie was divine, served with a couple of scallops on top.

Hero
Jane GrayJanuary 3rd 2013.

i have also enjoyed a couple of meals here, breakfast and supper and will definately be going again. the issue i had was our coffees came in china tea cups, ok for a double expresso but for anything larger you get around 2 sips worth, proper coffee cups please!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 3rd 2013.

If guy want 'proper' super US size coffee cups go to Starbucks or Nero's and drink out of a bucket!!

AnonymousJanuary 3rd 2013.

'guy' should be 'you'.

AnonymousJanuary 3rd 2013.

I think Chorlton Green Brasserie is exactly what Chorlton needs. I've eaten here twice, once being NYE and was not disappointed! Maybe because I'm a big fan of rocket?! Agreed I think they should leave mastering the roasts to The Parlour, they seem to be doing a fine job! Finally, who wants to pay £18.50 for a main and for your whole evening to be over in an hour? Good food is well worth waiting for.

SHED7PETEJanuary 3rd 2013.

maybe the answer to what is "a brasserie" can be deciphered from it's anagram "re: I bare ass", implying an element of emperors new clothes, though i'm sure that couldn't apply to a venture on Beech Road..

Margaret CleggJanuary 3rd 2013.

Recently had their Sunday roast, beef was good quality, cooked as requested. The veg were, well, veg! My first Yorkshire pudding was stone cold; the waitress (not ours) took it away saying she'd bring a new one. A few minutes later she reappeared with the same Yorkshire, now cremated on top, obviously thrown under the grill. BTW, it's more of a popover than a Yorkshire pudding & why were we told it could take 25 minutes as the roasts are cooked to order. I assume the veg are at least partially cooked & a slice of medium rare beef shouldn't take that time. I will rave about the excellent service we received from our waitress, Emilie. It was a good not great meal; don;t get all the twitter raves. A new establishment, hopefully it will improve in time.

AnonymousOctober 3rd 2013.

Local to Beech rd and wanting to support local business I tried the CB twice. Sorry but it's nothing special. Overpriced, lacking in character and average food. There was definitely a niche for a small French brasserie and it could have been achieved with a little more style and imagination. Sad to say that I doubt it will be open this time next year. Sorry.

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