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One dish wonders: Choice, Waterstone's, Tempus

Jonathan Schofield and an occasional series food found while not reviewing

Written by . Published on October 19th 2010.


One dish wonders: Choice, Waterstone's, Tempus

Tuna capaccio (£6.50)
I was dining with the good people from the Castlefield Forum last Wednesday in Choice (0161 833 3400). I only wanted a starter though as it had been a heavy drinking and dining week already, fortunately I stumbled on this stunningly tight dish. Ok it’s a standard: a regular member of the Guild of Menu Items.

But here the cut of sashimi tuna loin, it’s ripe, yet subtle, meaty burst in the mouth, all mingled with a cracking cherry tomato salad lifted with coriander was exquisite. The capers, the pepper, were all additions to delight as well - rather than smother. That was main quality here, the balance with the bold and dainty tuna clearly the headline act. “May I have that again,” I begged. Raw beauty you might say.

The Seafood 2nd View Board (£8)
Waterstone’s, Deansgate, Saturday. Upstairs my son and I stumble on the revamped coffee shop now eaterie, drinkerie and lollerie by the name of 2nd View. Open until 10pm everyday except Sunday (5pm), this is the bookstore’s stab at urbane sophistication, designed to help keep us in store rather than downloading novels onto Kindle or iPad.

It works well, people were drinking Mai Tai cocktails, swigging Sauvignon Blancs and pretending to read Proust – full review when they have their full kitchen. I had the seafood board which was lovely and a picture to look at. Crayfish, peppered mackerel, smoked salmon, crab pate, lemon dill mayo and wholegrain bread. Nothing wrong with any of it, the dill mayo was outstanding as was the peppered mackerel.

8oz English gammon steak (£13, individual price)
The Palace Hotel, Tempus Restaurant, Oxford Road, (0161 288 1111) evening. Sat in the former main banking hall of the Refuge Assurance building is always a delight. An 1890s delight constructed out of shinning terracotta, and flowing drapes. On a menu deal of £19 for two courses, the gammon steak looked the likeliest of a spectacularly predictable selection. That proved the case.

Splendid chips, thick, chunky and timed right, runny egg all over the meat and some juicy flatcap mushrooms and tomatoes. The steak was solid and strong without being tough, bags of flavour, good layer of fat. Presentation was dull, and I’m not a fan of faddy, fussy buckets, but the dish had plenty of fill-you-up virtues. It raises a question about Tempus Restaurant though. At the moment it’s decidedly a restaurant for residents in the hotel, aside from architectural gazing it doesn’t seem to want to cut loose and encourage the rest of us in. Still that gammon steak was handy. (By the way the picture was taken with my phone camera, so apologies all around).

Hotel restaurants in Manchester are all the rage at the moment, The Lowry, Podium, OpusOne, Abode, Malmaison, The Midland, so why not show the food off here?

And the winner is: that tuna carpaccio from Choice. As a food writer, as a diner, the sudden appearance of something which fits the mood, hits the spot and titillates the tastebuds is a joyous moment.

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

NortherngeezerOctober 18th 2010.

My vote goes to the Coquilles et Crevettes Creole served as a starter at Francs in Alty.
You can have it as a main also but the larger portion dosnt seem to work.
Its worth visiting this place for this dish alone, i've had it about half a dozen times now and on each occasion its been sublime.
The tuna carpaccio sounds good too.
I had a beef & lamb carpaccio at a restaurant in Anglesey.............but i cant remember the name of the place tho!.
Not sure if i was too 'inebriated' or not ;-)

VoOctober 19th 2010.

2nd View sounds like the perfect venue for a date when you're trying to portray that air of well read sophistication when in fact your main aim is to get into her panties at the end of the night.

IndeedOctober 19th 2010.

Panties VO, are you American? But certainly seduction through supposed erudition has a noble pedigree. I applaud such endeavours and will be Waterstones at 6pm tonight reading Keats, come on ladies you love a bit of romantic poetry.

MopheadOctober 19th 2010.

That tuna carpaccio, may I have it now. Is it oily as well, moist madam, oh yummy.

VoOctober 19th 2010.

My dad was an American GI.

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