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Geese. Ramsbottom

Gordo goes to Ramsbottom to eat at Geese. New Place with lots of parking and a nice view of the Co-op. Was his roast pheasant worth the journey?

Written by . Published on February 6th 2007.

Geese. Ramsbottom

So, Lyndsey Cessford, Gordo’s ex marketing manager, has moved to Rambo. Gordo at the same time hears that an ex chef from the Restaurant Bar and Grill group and his partner have opened a new restaurant up there, called Geese. Matt Smith and Elisabeth Herbert in fact. They had a backer for a place in Hale, but he dropped out, leaving the plucky pair to cut their pasta sheets according to their needs and get a big fat bank loan for themselves. They chose the new food mecca that is Rambo to open their very own little restaurant.

On the high street it isn’t. It’s in a car park opposite the Co-op. When Gordo arrived in his Bees Knees Mercedes Limousine, after a few false dawns, he was confronted with forty diners on one side of the car gawping at him and forty lager-can gripping youths apparently doing West Side Story as street theatre on the other. Ramsbottom is very progressive these days. To show just how edgy, the local Police arrived in a riot van to chivvy the performers along. All very entertaining. Gordo imagined the diners were taking bets as to whether he would make it into the restaurant without a can of special brew sticking out of his ear.

The restaurant is what can be called necessity driven minimalist, with a vast expanse of unadorned ‘shop front’ style windows along one wall. They could do with those wooden slats that you imagine adorn the windows of Singaporean restaurants; like the ones in The Rib Room in the Carlton Hotel in London. Softer lighting as well. Get rid of Moby to boot and it’ll be rocking.

Gordo was met by a young lad called Scott at the well stocked bar who poured him a useful gin and tonic. Vanessa Neal had made the journey; she was still looking a little pale from having to get out of the car. Lyndsey arrived and we started. A bottle of Trimbach Gewürztraminer was dispatched a little too quickly, so another was ordered. Don’t start looking for Gordo rattling on about ‘a carpet of Alsatian wild flowers on the nose’, he doesn’t go in for that. It was a cracker though. The wine list reads well, the Riesling was £28.

Seared Pigeon Breast and Bury Black Pudding with Sweet Potato Puree, Red Wine Reduction and Piccalilli Oil (£5.95), Chicken Liver and Fois Gras Parfait with Truffle Butter, Jasmine Tea Sultanas, Red Onion Marmalade and Toasted Brioche (£6.95) along with Salt Cod and Prawn Galette with Crispy Shallots and a Sweetcorn Broth flavoured with Basil (£6.50). Well, those were the starters.

The pigeon dish was visually the most interesting. The breast was pink, slightly gamey but ate well; the black pudding crispy, the mash just right. It ticked the boxes for flavours and texture. Good stuff. The parfait was stunning. That’s all Gordo can say. It was a master class and could have come out of a one or two star kitchen.

Gordo’s salt cod galette was built beautifully, spuds light as you please mashed with the cod and prawns, tiny rounds of shallots in the crispest, lightest batter sat on top along with a sweetcorn broth that had spent about two minutes too long on the pass, but really, that’s nit-picking. It was hugely enjoyable.

8oz Fillet Steak, Garlic Mash and Green Beans with Peppercorn Sauce (£18.95 - you had a choice of sauces), Roasted Pheasant, Pearl barley and Savoy Cabbage Risotto with Truffle Mushrooms and Game Juice (£17.95) and Seared Organic Salmon with Beetroot Parsnip, Carrot and Swede Stew, Horseradish Froth and Crisp, Shredded Leek (£14.95). Sides of Thin Cut Fries (£2.50) Buttered Sautéed Spinach (£2.95) and finally, Fine Beans Sautéed with shallots and Smoked Bacon (£2.95).

Readers, nothing in the above list can be faulted in any way. All three dishes were completely outstanding. Gordo’s pheasant was served rare sitting on the bed of pearl barley that soaked up heaven; the heaven in this case being the truffle infused mushrooms and the earthy juice. The salmon nearly made Gordo weep and Lyndsey’s beef was a revelation. It was better than Frosty’s. The Butcher of choice for the best restaurants, he was the master ‘till now. Gordo is going to track the shop down and try some more to make sure it wasn’t a fluke before he tells all. French fries were right, buttered spinach dry and tasty, not sloppy.

Baked Custard Tart with Singing Lily Biscuits (£5.00), Dark Chocolate Mousse with Hazelnut Praline, Burnt Orange Sauce and fresh Raspberries (£5.00).

The jury is still out on the Singing Lily Biscuits. It’s not on the Baked Custard Tart. The pastry was as thin as a penny, crisp on one side, melted by the Custard on the other. The custard as light as cappuccino, whilst being solid, vanilla, slightly sweet and utterly devine. This was an awesome piece of work delivered by a kitchen on a high. What can I say about the Chocolate Mousse? It was even better. The crunchy toffee covered hazelnut bits topped off one of the best desserts that Gordo has had since the ill-fated Wild Berries.

Local Cheese Board with Biscuits and Home Made Chutney (£5.50).

We had Blackstick Blue, a new favourite from a bunch of farmers in the Lake District who struck gold when figuring how to get better value out of their milk a couple of years ago, you can get it on Harvey Nichols food counter; Mrs Kirkham’s crumbly Lancashire, ‘nuff said, and the last one a premiership cheddar. Fresh crunchy celery, good biscuits.

This lot arrived at room temperature, laid out beautifully and with butter you didn’t need a pick axe for. This is great, great attention to detail. We were the last people in by this time; the kitchen must have left this lot out of the fridge on the off-chance we were going to order a plate. We took a large glass of Avanti Malbec red (£4.95). Mmmm.

Every now and then Gordo remembers why he loves his job to death. It’s because of people like this who put their balls on the line.

17.25/20, forget the position. Gordo has.

A Gordo Go.

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

JenFebruary 6th 2007.

My brother lives locally to Geese and for the last couple of times (since the opening)rather than go to the pub we have been to Geese for bar snacks, to which are amazing the smoked trout salad and steak sanwich are brilliant,if I wasn't planning the wedding of my dreams I would have been there several times over for the eveing a-lacarte!When it goes dark & your drinking fine wine in good company-who gives a damm about location !!

Pedro1874February 6th 2007.

Just tried phoning today. "Number not reckognisd" Anyone else know anything?

Robin SkylarkFebruary 6th 2007.

Anyone know if the chef from Geese has opened a new restaurant? One of the best meals I ever had.

AnonymousFebruary 6th 2007.

Has Geese closed down? It's a real shame if it has...the shutters have been down every time I have passed since Xmas..

ChickFebruary 6th 2007.

Closed down months ago Pedro. Shame

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