Welcome to Manchester Confidential
Reset Password
The Confidential websites will be undergoing routine updates. This may cause the sites to go offline. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience.

You are here: Manchester ConfidentialFood & DrinkModern European.

Superstore Restaurant, Northern Quarter, Reviewed

Gordo really likes this place but says hold the cayenne

Published on January 14th 2014.


Superstore Restaurant, Northern Quarter, Reviewed
 

GORDO has been wondering what the NQ Superstore is. There’s no room in the Northern Quarter for a superstore, so it may well have been a clothes shop? They are pretty sixties with their names and their trends up there, after all.

This is a place to go where you will come out a little taller, a tad happier and a lot dreamier than when you walked in.

Let's be honest, even Gordo gets down with the kids these days and dons a flat cap every now and again. It works well for the Fat One that flat caps have come back into fashion; not that he is trying his hardest to look cool. With his bald bonce, he’s trying his hardest to conquer brain freeze while walking through Spinningfields.

Gordo can't keep up with the beard thing though, for the life of him he can't grow one. 

However, for a time, the NQ Superstore has remained a puzzle at the back of Gordo’s fast deteriorating mind.

Superstore

Superstore


Then someone in the office mentioned it had changed; from what, wondered Gordo? The upstairs area had been turned into a restaurant. Hmm. It was time that Gordo had a look and jumped in a taxi; which these days is always good for testing your knowledge of routes across the city as the taxi drivers themselves haven’t got a clue, most of them arriving in the country only four days ago.

The restaurant turns out to be nearly next door to the NQ stalwart Simple, in the old Love Saves The Day unit. Gordo nips up the steps and walks in.

You know when you meet someone for the first time and within three or four sentences, you’re going to become pals?

Luscious black pudding

Luscious black pudding

Well this was like walking into the equivalent of those first few sentences. It was warm, well laid out, comfortable. Big and square, the room had an open kitchen, just bigger in space that one of those trendy bars in Spinningfields where a beer drinker groans as the girl in front orders five porn star martinis, three cosmopolitans and a negroni.

There were two blokes in that kitchen, chipping away. Front of house a fabulously good-looking blonde who wouldn’t have been here if the Wall hadn’t come down. She walks straight over to Fatty. They didn’t need electric light in here when she smiled.

The team

The team

Marrow joyMarrow joy
Gordo, now aged 26 and madly in love, is led to a table and given a menu. This is one of those cut down sorts, uncluttered, minimalistic. Mostly they are trying so hard to be trendy the contents finish up minimalist and boring. Not this one.

It’s one that has your taste buds tickled so much it’s going to be a while before the order goes in. There is a breakfast menu, which Gordo is going back to eat soon. It does lots of lovely sounding, well-priced sandwiches; additionally there are a few specials on the blackboard.

Small plates look great, with nine choices, each and every one calling, like sirens, to Gordo. And the naughty girlies offered five of themselves for £20. Gordo was tempted, but in the end managed to be unusually conservative and took two into the bedroom.

Roast bone marrow, garlic and thyme, toast (£5). This dish has been placed on menus across the UK, representing all that is good with modern British cuisine. Fergus Henderson has been mainly responsible for this at his now Michelin-starred restaurant St John. He partners it with charcoal-toasted soda bread, very good butter, and a parsley salad.

Here in the NQ, we have five inches, cut in two down the length, perfectly judged in cooking time, with garlic wafting about and a sprinkling of thyme and micro salad. Toast supplied, nice and chunky. It’s really bloody lovely. A small bowl of very good sea salt but Gordo suggests the chef finds the pink stuff.

Highly unusually, the chef makes his own black pudding. Hand-made black pudding, fried egg, turmeric aioli, toasted corn bread and cayenne pepper (£6.50) is mentally good. There is a bit of heat in the black pudding. Gordo would like to try a batch without this. He can’t make up his mind. The turmeric aioli the pudding sits on is delightful, and of course the egg on top is nice and runny. But, sprinkled with cayenne pepper?

Tempura battered cod, chips, wasabi mushy peas and chili tartare sauce (£10) is arguably the best in the North West. Again, cayenne pepper sprinkled over the dish as a whole, which was starting to get on the nerves. Gordo ordered the fries to go with this as opposed to chips. They were excellent. The wasabi mushy peas worked well in picking up the flavour of a tempura batter, handled like a master in Japan. The tartare sauce had been whisked up in-house. It didn’t need, yet again, the heat.

Lovely but why so much red?

Lovely but why so much red?

Pudding. Profiteroles. With warm chocolate sauce, four of them, the size of billiard balls, filled with un-mucked about thick whipped cream. The choux pastry; crisp where it should be, the chocolate sauce, deep velvet, warm and not cloyingly sweet. A couple of raspberries, showing their knickers on the balcony. This was a great pudding, total enjoyment. Simple, but complex in the extreme from a choice of fine ingredients dealt with charmingly. It was the equivalent of Jim Morrison’s ‘stoned immaculate'.

The wine list is fairly shallow but of quality and very good value. The beer list is astonishing and you are invited to have a root through the fridges to see if there is something you fancy that they have missed on the wine list.

As big as billiard balls

As big as billiard balls

Service is lovely. Gordo met the owner’s sister during service, Kumari Morar, who was working front of house. Kumari is efficient, knowledgeable and another honey. The chef is 26-year-old Matt Bailey; Gordo is going to be keeping an eye on him. His email address, delightfully, starts with ‘Chubbyfluff’. Gordo nearly called the police.

It turned out, as everyone but Gordo knew, that this is a sister restaurant to the Banyan Tree, which is situated on the south western reaches of Castlefield. Gordo has never been, so the following day he dragged the Editor over to have a look and see what the differences were.

Chef Matt Bailey at the Superstore

Chef Matt Bailey at the Superstore

The Banyan tree is very popular and probably the closest to North West Indian Raj cuisine, you can see the spices that would have been infiltrating Victorian dishes. To be honest, the menu here at the BT could do with going even further into the Punjab.

As an example, the lamb burger should have dropped the big thick inedible bun and been served with one the many better sub-continent breads, enabling the diner to turn it into mini wraps.

Back at the Superstore, if you are going to the trouble of producing a near-perfect tempura, light, delicate and wonderfully crispy, sprinkling cayenne pepper all over the place is like dressing Audrey Hepburn in leathers.

Weirdly, salt seems to be given too light a touch, or, because of the heavy Eastern seasoning, tastebuds become a little toughened? Discuss.

These are the only negatives.

This is a place to go where you will come out a little taller, a tad happier and a lot dreamier than when you walked in.

Superstore: It’s a very firm Gordo Go.

You can follow Gordo on Twitter here @gordomanchester

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

Superstore, Smithfield Building, Tib Street, City centre, M4 1NB. 0161 834 3303 

Rating: 16/20 (please read the scoring system in the box below, venues are rated against the best examples of their kind) 

Food:  8/10 (black pudding 7.5, bone marrow 8, cod'n'chips 7.5, profiteroles 9)
Service: 4/5
Ambience: 4/5

Note that if the over-use of cayenne pepper was stepped back, this could have been 17/20, a huge score for what is meant to be a neighbourhood restaurant.

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.

Tea will doTea will do

Like what you see? Enter your email to sign up for our newsletters which are chock-a-block with more great reviews, news, deals and savings.

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

AnonymousJanuary 14th 2014.

Strange, all the portions you photographed look about double size the ones I received at the weekend

1 Response: Reply To This...
LooonaticJanuary 14th 2014.

OOOH. That chef, I think he was last cooking in Area 51. something well spooky here anon, well spooky.

AnonymousJanuary 14th 2014.

the chef is gorgeous

AnonymousJanuary 14th 2014.

Too try hard...even for NQ. It doesn't make sense to me.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
IanJanuary 14th 2014.

try hard? ...what?!

AnonymousJanuary 14th 2014.

....?

AnonymousJanuary 14th 2014.

It's a restaurant and bar. Serving food and drinks. What's not to get?

Alan WharrierJanuary 14th 2014.

I really like it, and the portions are fine... 5 dishes for twenty quid.. Breakfast is great too.... Loved this venue since it was LSD ... Best selection of booze for a convenience store ever downstairs too..

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 14th 2014.

Most expensive selection of spirits going

MeJanuary 14th 2014.

I love it. Ive eaten here every weekend since it opened. The food can be a tad slow at times but the quality is excellent, and the service is always great Never had a bad experience.

KTJanuary 14th 2014.

Yes it's an excellent place. Well done

Chris AitkenJanuary 14th 2014.

Love it here, been a few times already. The food is great, as are the portions (couldn't believe the amount of meat I got for £11 when I ordered the hanger steak), and the 5 small plates for £20 is a great value sharer between a few people.

Karen WongJanuary 15th 2014.

Good place. Keep it up.

AnonymousJanuary 16th 2014.

Can't get the image of Audrey Hepburn in leathers out of my head..........

JimtoJanuary 16th 2014.

Looking forward to trying this, Banyan was our old haunt. Can't believe you didn't have the chicken burger in Banyan though. It's the ultimate.

AnonymousJanuary 16th 2014.

Love love love! Homemade black pudding is AMAZING! I had it last night and can't wait to have it again. Staff are really friendly...! Not try hard at all in response to the above comment. Great to be able to see the chefs at work. Will be visiting again soon.

Reader XxxJanuary 16th 2014.

My portion from a large plate option was tiny and felt hungry afterwards! It was nota large plate by any means!

1 Response: Reply To This...
Reader XxxJanuary 16th 2014.

I think Yadgar is calling...

AnonymousJanuary 16th 2014.

Gordo manages to strike a tone somewhere between letchy and a tad racist to perfection. Erm "your knowledge of routes across the city as the taxi drivers themselves haven’t got a clue, most of them arriving in the country only four days ago". But the food looks good.

1 Response: Reply To This...
GordoJanuary 16th 2014.

Gordo no doubt will take that as a great compliment

AnonymousJanuary 16th 2014.

The staff at the Superstore 'Grocer' have always been really sound (especially as so many customers are drunk and I guess most of them don't drink) and have a great choice of stock. Oh and they always play good music!

AnonymousJanuary 17th 2014.

Banyan Tree is my local, and the staff, food and drinks menu is still in my view the most resonable and consistent quality in Manchester. If Superstore goes further then this is my new home in Manchester! Keep up the great work guys!

Andrew JonesJanuary 19th 2014.

Just had an eggs benedict at Superstore. With hard boiled eggs. Not cool.

VictoriaFebruary 24th 2014.

Were the racial digs at Taxi drivers and waitresses + vague sexism really necessary in reviewing this place?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Karl BannisterFebruary 24th 2014.

Is the hypersensitivity really necessary to anything that's vaguely challenging?

VictoriaFebruary 24th 2014.

just don't see what it's got to do with anything- not really what I look for in a restaurant review. Couple of other people have touched on it so wouldn't say hypersensitive. Also is racism "challenging?" or is it just, you know, wrong.

To post this comment, you need to login.Please complete your login information.
OR CREATE AN ACCOUNT HERE..
Or you can login using Facebook.

Latest Rants

Anonymous

Very tasty though.

 Read more
Anonymous

Foie Gras = barbaric cruelty.

 Read more
Anonymous

The provender is the start, the kitchen the art, but then comes the diner. Apart from gazing at the…

 Read more
Poster Boy

Coterie. It's how It works.

 Read more

Explore The Site

© Mark Garner t/a Confidential Direct 2017

Privacy | Careers | Website by: Planet Code | SEO by The eWord