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Rump'n'Ribs Steakhouse Reviewed

Jonathan Schofield doesn't like the dryness but likes the pluralism

Written by . Published on August 5th 2013.


Rump'n'Ribs Steakhouse Reviewed
 

RUMP’n’Ribs has one of the best locations in Manchester.

The recently opened steakhouse has a vast potential customer base. There's the horde of people passing down Oxford Street towards the station and the universities, and the horde of people passing up Oxford Street into St Peter’s Square with its tram station and the main city centre beyond.

Despite this, when we visited Rump'n'Ribs it was mostly empty. 

This was a dream cut, helped along by my choice of a bizarre but not unpleasant chilli sauce in a side dish, and a really very good garlic mushroom collation

Not that it didn’t attract lots of punters. That foxy, saucy, name, Rump’n’Ribs was proving irresistible.

Rump'n'Ribs

Rump'n'Ribs

Couples and groups rushed in excitedly, yearning for steaks, faces flushed expectantly. Then something remarkable happened. They sat down, spoke with the waiter or waitress for a shade under 43 seconds, stood up and hurried out, wearing the inane grins of the genuinely surprised.

They all had an alcohol problem.

The problem being there was no alcohol.

Rump’n’Ribs might slap and tickle with its title but it’s not budging on its alcohol ban. It won’t even let you bring a bottle of your own stuff. Alcohol is the devil and we ain’t getting in. Get thee behind me Sir Gin.

So alongside the trumpeted Aberdeen Angus prime steaks there’s a choice of coke, diet coke, sprite, water and sparkling water. Grim.

The reason for the literal lack of spirit if not spirituality is religion. Islam has a prohibition on booze: a prohibition not observed particularly well by the restaurant management in Rusholme and the 'Curry Mile' which encourages punters to consume every week a whole Carlsberg brewery of cooking lager. And then some. Alcohol after all usually makes up a large part of a restaurant's profit margin.

At Rump'n'Ribs the alcohol ban is complete, so a reviewer with a grog blossom nose has to lump it. In compensation a reviewer gets the steaks. And they're excellent.

Fillet - a cut aboveFillet - a cut above

The steaks are dry aged Aberdeen Angus numbers. Dry aging is great for quality fatty marbled meats, letting, as decomposition sets in, the minerals to morph and swirl and the meat to be flooded with rich flavours, tenderising it at the same time.

The 9oz £21 fillet came perfectly medium rare as requested and cut beautifully. The flavours were full and the texture was buttery - see the main picture at the top of the page. This was a dream cut, helped along by my choice of a bizarre but not unpleasant hot chilli sauce (£1) in a side dish, and a really very good garlic mushroom collation. 

The description on the menu said the fillet was 'matured and cut by a traditional specialist'. That's the way I like my steak specialists.

A couple of sides of chips were shocking though.

They were horrible oven chips whiffing of McCain's and tasting like the end of hope and the retreat of reason - I was probably missing the wine when I wrote that analogy in my notes. Rump'n'Ribs needs to sort those horrors out.

A 10oz sirloin at £18 also requested medium rare, was apparently excellent too. I say apparently because my dining companion wolfed it down. "Hungry," he said, paused, filled his mouth and then said, "not any more."

A salmon at £12.50 was tangy in a lemon and butter sauce. It was all right rather than good. The same goes for the grilled prawn starter (£6) which came in the same anonymous sauce. Maybe the traditional specialist had been off the day the sauce for the prawns had been made and the shy specialist was in. 

The decor of the place is functional livened by the repeated red logo and big windows. The service was scatty rather than efficient, but the waitress, after she'd been reminded to smile by the manager, eventually came through and was attentive.

Salmon in a sauce of sortsSalmon in a sauce of sorts

Back to Halal food. Meat in particular. This being a steakhouse focuses attention on the abattoir more than say a classic curryhouse would.

We’ve already mentioned Rump’n’Ribs on several food and drink roundup articles on Confidential. Some people have written in to complain about Halal food saying things like ‘don’t give this cruel process of slaughter airtime’. 

The idea of that bright knife applied to the neck of the unstunned beast - the Halal method after a prayer has been said - offends many who belive the principle of stunning before killing seems more humane. Kosher meat is also slaughtered with the knife applied to the neck of the conscious beast.

Where did all the sirloin go?Where did all the sirloin go?

Having read into the subject I personally can't see how animals will be less afraid before the moment they are stunned and then killed, than before the moment they are killed outright.

The issue of pain following the incision and before death is another point of criticism but again conclusions are varied. To my mind a death is a death and as long as the treatment has been as good as humanely possible up to the termination of consciousness, then both methods seem valid. Inspection is the key to ensuring correct processes are pursued in all abattoirs.

Of course the thing about Halal and Kosher is that adherents to those food regulations believe their actions are God's work, whereas government regulations about stunning beasts in non-ritual British abbatoirs are the Food Standards Agency's work.

This compromise is part of what makes the country such a rich and modern culture: a mutli-layered place where secularist and religionist can rub shoulders together. Rump’n’Ribs with its saucily inappropriate lap-dancing club name is part of what makes Britain such a decent place - decent as in aspiring to tolerance, as in allowing people the opportunity to develop how they want, as in the correct application of a flexible rule of law that moves with the times rather than being as inflexible as a dogma written down in ancient books.

That rule of law and its flexibility means that we accept, if conducted hygienically, both the State's notion of slaughter and that of Halal and Kosher. That's the sensible pluralist path to pursue, the exciting one, giving variety to culture, avoiding conflict. Indeed for secularists, an eternal truth might be that while a person may vehemently disagree with another's beliefs, as long as the latter are conducted within the rule of the law, then they should be defended. 

Rump'n'Ribs' adds to the Manchester variety. Despite the loss of income with the alcohol free status it will probably pick up lots of custom from people who from conviction will avoid the demon drink.

The steaks are high, the chips are downThe steaks are high, the chips are down

It needs to expand the drinks range though, there are excellent non-alcoholic cocktails out there, there's lassi, and juices too. The restricted range at present is silly and unimaginative, austere. Meanwhile the menu needs bolstering with a couple more starters and cuts of meat.

Smoak, Gaucho, The Grills do a broader range of steaks and crucially for me, I can also get booze there as well.

I'm pleased Rump'n'Ribs has opened.

I'm pleased it has the confidence to feel it can prosper in such a prominent and presumably expensive location without alcohol. Still I miss partnering a fillet steak with a rich Burgundy as heavy as Marie Antoinette's jewellery box so I'll most likely be taking my custom elsewhere. But that's all part of this nation's happy pluralism. We make our choice and spend where we please. 

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter@JonathSchofield or connect via Google+

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

Rump'n'Ribs, 1-2 Peter House, Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 5AN. 0161 228 2284 

Rating: 13/20

Food: 7/10 (Prawns 6, Salmon 6.5, Fillet 8, Sirloin 8, mushrooms 7, chips 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

 

Prawns with the shy specialist's saucePrawns with the shy specialist's sauce

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

Jonathan MoranAugust 5th 2013.

Hmmm - I refuse to eat Halal meat on account it's a very cruel in my eyes, added to the fact I can not enjoy a fine red with my meal means I would never-ever visit this place. I honestly can not see it being here long, the owners would do well to remember which country/culture they are catering to...... After all how long would my recreation of a backstreet Salford boozer in downtown Riyadh last?!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Trinket OneAugust 5th 2013.

The crucial difference is we are a pluralist society as the article says. Try a bit of this, try a bit of that. Any comparison with Saudi Arabia is absurd.

El TelAugust 5th 2013.

silly remark. greater manchester is home to over 200,000 muslims. i think the owners do know their country and cultural market place. i'd say this place will be packed before long- bare in mind it's ramadan when this review took place and unless the reviewer was dining after 9.30pm, he is unlikely to have seen a crowd in there...

Jonathan MoranAugust 5th 2013.

Yes- very true.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Jonathan MoranAugust 5th 2013.

I Rusholme during Ranadam and it was packed - full of NON muslim's all enjoying a beer and a curry......so I think you could be being a tad optimistic there.

Billy The ButcherAugust 5th 2013.

I can guess which brand those chips are. I don't give a bugger how the beast dies, we all do in the end. Its part of nature. That swift blade does the job quickly ( I am an ex butcher and slaughterman ). Nature for many cattle would be a bloody great big Lion chasing the arse off it for a mile, then getting its claws on its shoulder then the neck ripped to shreds. Quick sharp knife from the blind side anyone? However, there is another good reason why I won't be eating here. If they can't be arsed to make sure the chips are home made and handled with care, this shows to me that they simply don't care and that will leach into other areas. And I don's even mind no booze, there are days for it and days without it. But frozen chips ? Nah.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Richard AthertonAugust 7th 2013.

Sums up my view exactly. Where do you buy your meat Billy boy?

M5 NomadAugust 5th 2013.

In all honesty, Halal or not none of that food looks particularly appetising, it looks bland and unimaginative. I know I can get wine with a better meal elsewhere but, it is great that the owners have done something new and for a clear audience, I wish them well as it does add to the city centre's offering of restaurants, but quality over gimmick will shine through in the end hopefully.

Nickster123August 5th 2013.

I just cannot get my head round the name..... rump 'n' ribs.....they do a rib-eye and that is it on the rib front so why choose a name that alludes to having 'ribs' on the menu yet being Halal no pork is to be served....gaahhhh it is just too much for my brain!!!

DavidAugust 5th 2013.

It's not just Muslims who do not drink.The city centre from around 8 pm when all the chain coffee shops start closing,becomes a place that offers little to those who do not want an evening filled with alcohol.Rusholme does have many curry houses that serves lager,but it also now has many Non alcohol Arab coffee shops that open till 2 or 3 in the morning.It would be great if the city centre could have the sort of glamorous,late opening,coffee shops that you get in Morocco. As well as halal food,it would be great to see Kosher food in the city centre.Contemporary Israeli cooking is totally absent in Manchester for some reason.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan MoranAugust 6th 2013.

you mean the "coffee shops"(shisha cafes) that stick two fingers up to the smoking ban that other law abiding pubs and bars are forced to adhere to yet Rusholme seems exempt from? hmmmmm....

Charlie ButterworthAugust 6th 2013.

David what is contemporary Israeli cuisine. Example restaurant elsewhere please. It's always struck me that Kosher restaurants in Manchester provide terrible food. It'd be great we could add to the scene with a good Kosher place.

HelenAugust 6th 2013.

Heard of a Yotam Ottolenghi and a little place called Nopi? It's a heavily Middle Eastern influenced restaurant (that part of the world including Israel). Israeli cuisine, like any, shouldn't be considered in isolation. Surely it's the transferability and influence of any person or place's cuisine that marks it out as worth eating. Bagels, hummus, pastrami, pickled vegetables and fish... They're everywhere and they're delicious. On which note, pay a visit to any of the amazing Jewish food shops in that part of Manchester. Or even Tesco Prestwich -- or any Tesco! Not strictly Kosher, but definitely winging its way from Israel, via Germany/Austria/Poland/America etc. Because if it's good food, it shouldn't matter if it's halal, or how strictly it hails from one place or another.

IssyAugust 6th 2013.

This restaurant caters for the Pakistani clientele not the Muslim clientele. The chefs have a very difficult time in preparing well done steaks on a daily basis - you'd def need a glass of red to wash that down! Despite the chefs making constant recommendations on improving the menu, the management are not interested as they only want to cater for their friends. Service is dire, I have never experienced anything so bad in my life! The only reason I go back is because Steve and Alan make a mean medium rare steak! These guys run the restaurant as a typical Pakistani joint, it's not about religion, it's all about giving Wimmy Road a bit of competion. The only thing is, they're losing out on the custom on 95% of the general public in Manchester. The chef's talents are wasted here, they will be snapped up by another restaurant before long then these guys can get some cheap labour in to cook their food. Btw The Meat Co in London - very famous steak restaurant serves halal steak as do the majority of restaurants In the UK. It's just not publicised

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Marcus EmadiAugust 6th 2013.

LIKE

Ahmed KasmaniAugust 6th 2013.

service is appalling, they lost my order and never bought us any drinks, even though we ordered them three times. to be told 30 minutes after you placed your order that it has been lost and never bringing any drinks is terrible. the service team needs to be sorted out, keep the chefs but sack the rest is what i say and get in some professionals

AnonymousAugust 6th 2013.

I'll be giving this a miss, since I do not wish to eat ritually slaughtered meat. Seems very clear who this place is catering for. No alcohol? No custom!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Richard AthertonAugust 7th 2013.

Is it comfy sleeping in your blinkers? Or do you take them off?

AnonymousMay 12th 2014.

Is he or she not allowed to have an opinion? Everyone has to see it your way? very Nazi Mr Atherton.

Daniel JonesAugust 6th 2013.

Do you have to book a table in advance?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Ahmed KasmaniAugust 6th 2013.

yes but if there are no free tables available at the time you booked you will have to wait or the other time you are told to wait is if a larger group comes in at the same time

Paul DohertyAugust 6th 2013.

Sadly this is another one of those places you can walk past a couple of times and just *know* it will be gone within 6 months. Like L'Entrecote (surprised that lasted as long as it did, but I guess being part of a group meant it didn't suffer the usual cash flow issues). All people seem to want in central Manchester - judging by the places that close quickly or are always quiet vs thos that are usually heaving, and in particular the planning applictions that have apeared in my letterbox over the past year - is somewhere they can drink a decent beer or cocktail and load up on big portions of meat and carbs before a Friday/Saturday night out. Hence all these burger bars and 'man-food' places.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 7th 2013.

The burger bats and man-food places are aimed at a younger audience than places than L'Entrecote, a completely different market. If the over 30s don't want to come to town then that's upto them, completely different market.

Veronica FredricksAugust 6th 2013.

Wowsers this place looks good.

1 Response: Reply To This...
IanOctober 15th 2013.

Fake ^

GazAugust 7th 2013.

Went in there last week. Fantastic food - best steak I've ever tasted! Strongly recommended.

1 Response: Reply To This...
IanOctober 15th 2013.

Fake ^

Harry BAugust 7th 2013.

Amazing food the t bone was just so yummy and the deserts mouth watering. Top venue top service n top food. Defo recomended. Il b goin again see u soon rump n ribs.

1 Response: Reply To This...
IanOctober 15th 2013.

Fake ^

AnonymousOctober 15th 2013.

New Zealand's animal welfare code, mandates that all animals for commercial consumption be stunned prior to slaughter to ensure they are treated “humanely and in accordance with good practice and scientific knowledge.” John Key, the Prime Minister, is Jewish. No one would accuse New Zealand of not being "a rich and modern culture: a mutli-layered place where secularist and religionist can rub shoulders together". It's a vibrant, forward thinking, country. It's time that ritual slaughter was discussed rationally, without accusations of anti-Semitism or Islamaphobia getting in the way of animal welfare.

AnonymousJune 27th 2014.

I have this on good authority... Non-Halal death: Bolt gun to head. Halal death: Prayer muttered -> long swipe of supersharp blade across neck -> Bolt gun to head. i.e. the halal blade action is 2 seconds (or less) prior to the same bolt gun that the non-halal gets. I doubt many people know that. AND - a lot of your non-halal supermarket/restaurant meat is also halal-killed. It makes it easier for the meat processor to market the product if they killed it halal.

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