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Pointing Dog, Cheadle Hulme, Reviewed

Hungry Hoss thinks finds himself embroiled in 'kidneygate'

Published on March 5th 2012.

Pointing Dog, Cheadle Hulme, Reviewed

DESPITE an invasion of Slugs and Lettuces, the most common pub names in Britain remain The Red Lion, The Crown and The Royal Oak. So a quality of the name Pointing Dog is that it’s straight in at number one when Googled. 

Just a bit of gentle advice, and coaxing from the Pointing Dog kitchen and ‘kidney-gate’ could have been avoided.

It’s also Cheadle Hulme’s very own ‘gastropub’. The place has been given a new lease of life by the owners of the mini-group Felicini and the city centre Grinch wine bar. The refit cost in excess of £1.5 million. 

Dining RoomDining Room

Impressed by my visit soon after the pub opened last July, I’ve been back a number of occasions. Often I’ve been pleased to observe one of the owners on hand looking after his investment: straightening place settings, chairs and adjusting the heating. This attention to detail pays off and the venue is always spotlessly clean and well-presented. 

Service has consistently been very good too and my most recent visit was no exception. Greeted warmly, I was promptly seated and informed about the specials. Despite occasional niggles, I have generally had decent meals - the fish and chips is a particular favourite. 

Sometimes things don’t work out. 

On my most recent visit - the Manchester Confidential review stop-off - I opted for the daily set lunch, offering a starter and main for £12.95. 

Baby steak and kidney pudding, creamy mash with chicken gravy, to start sounded just the ticket. Before it was brought to the table, I could smell the intoxicatingly richly scented jus. It was delivered like a dish for a king, carried and placed with care to avoid slop. 

It looked as good as it smelt. 

The dinky pudding and mash topping the large plump kidney kromeski was a picture, and the flavour and texture of the pudding and mash were excellent. 

Cutting into the kidney though, looked carnal, a festival of blood. I usually have steaks rare and even enjoy raw liver but not being knowledgeable about kidney I beckoned over the waitress. 


“Could you check with the chef to see if he’s happy with this being so bloody?" I asked. “I’ll happily eat it, if the kitchen feels it's right.” 

The waitress went away, she came back. I was promptly informed of the kitchen's decision to prepare a replacement dish. 

'Would have been better to explain to me about kidneys,' I thought, but I saw no reason to view it as a real problem. (Subsequently I’ve learnt that pink kidneys with a little blood is considered correct - and that’s all I’d needed to be told.) 

The replacement dish was maybe making a point.

It was a third the size of the first one and the kidneys were cooked through so that no pinkness remained whatsoever. The pudding had also suffered. It wasn’t pert like the original but appeared to have been pushed into the mash. 

Hopefully my main would fare better. This was the pan fried monkfish, grilled caper and shallot sauce and grilled vegetable pavé  - see main picture above. 

Starting with a positive, the pavé of aubergine, tomato, potato and courgette was very attractively done – sliced thinly and flecked with fresh herbs. More negatively, I found the accompanying caper and shallot sauce to be insipid. But the small size of the monkfish for the price had me shaking my head in disbelief. I got two decent bites from it, followed by a flat dry end. 

Fat chipsFat chips

The impressive fish and chips, being enjoyed by the two businessmen seated at the next table, reminded me of previous good experiences.

Thankfully, the fat chips for £2.75, served in a camping mug were up to their usual high standard. As was the 'warm chocolate fondant with runny chocolate middle, peanut butter ice cream, salted peanut brittle' for £5.50. This seemed a good reflection of the level of cooking I've encountered before at the Pointing Dog. 

Good puddGood pudd

If a pub is man’s best friend it should be welcoming, friendly and reliable. Sadly, based on this disapPointing Dog experience, there is a question mark over the last of these. 

Or rather there’s a lesson to be learned that stems from the brutal nature of catering. Unlike so many professions those cooking and providing our food and drink are under permanent examination, especially if they are making the food the main feature of the establishment. 

Just a bit of gentle advice, and coaxing from the Pointing Dog kitchen - maybe one of the brigade could have popped out for two minutes, or at least the chef could have told the waitress what to say - and ‘kidney-gate’ could have been avoided.

Still taking all my visits together - and it would be artificial not too - then this is a cracking boozer and one of the best in the area for food. With that huge terrace it should be a summer favourite as well. 

Let's just hope, should you visit, that you don't get the kitchen on a surly day. 

Hungry Hoss is a man who likes his food. We may be seeing a lot more of him. And his nosh. You can follow him @HungryHoss

Pointing Dog, Grove Lane, Cheadle Hulme, Greater Manchester, SK8 7NE, 0161 485 6031

Rating: 12.5/20
Food: 5/10 (I have rated my most recent meal. although, for an average over previous visits you could easily add 2 to the food.)
Service: 4/5
Ambience: 3.5/5

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.


Bar areaBar area


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

AnonymousMarch 5th 2012.

Good to see Hungry Hoss on Man Con, always loved reading his blog; the man knows his stuff

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 6th 2012.

He really knows his stuff eh? Doesn't know kidneys should be served pink....boy to do man's job

AnonymousMarch 6th 2012.

Whoops, several typos here... rogue capitals, missing letter, extra letter, random punctuation... sort it out please ManCon.

1 Response: Reply To This...
EditorialMarch 6th 2012.

Not sure we spotted all those Anon. Soz if we're still missing a few.

Christine WheatcroftMarch 6th 2012.

I think this is balanced and fair review from Hungry Hoss. The Pointing Dog is a local pub for me and I have had some cracking meals in there. Unfortunately though, as summed up, get the kitchen on a surly day and the meal can be be under-par. I had a really bad meal in there and it put me off going for a couple of months, which is a shame. However when I did venture back, the meal was great and I couldn't fault it. If you want a 'fail-safe' dinner, opt for the Shepherd's Pie, accompanied with buttery cabbage and bacon. It's delicious!
I also think the service is great and there's one particular young waiter who cannot do enough for you - and is pleasant with it. Gold-dust!

AnonymousMarch 6th 2012.

Whenever I've been here, I've been totally impressed and it's a welcome addition to the Cheadle area. I can't wait to spend long summer days on the terrace and many more sundays in the cosy surroundings with a spot on meal. Keep up the good work Pointing Dog!

acornMarch 6th 2012.

Been here and whilst it looks lovely the quality of the food just isnt there, ingredients yes but cooking is often under par, I live locally so have seen lots of meals being returned. often they get cooked very very quickly indicating that not enough quality checks are done in the kitchen. shame because i think its surroundings should put it at the top of the restaurant scene locally, but although its been established several months now its still well under par.

AnonymousMarch 6th 2012.

I’ve visited the Pointing Dog on a few occasions and to be honest there has always been something which I have found disappointing. The normal menu I consider a little pricey, especially when you consider the actual location (just off the A34, not in Cheadle Hulme itself). The quality and portions of the food does not seem to be consistent and have I have had to send food back twice for being under cooked and once for not being what was detailed on the menu. The building is lovely, high ceilings with wooden beams give the place almost a converted barn feel which will be great in the summer especially with the outside space. However, in winter it can feel a little bare and lacking in atmosphere.

The pointing dog is a real mixed bag which is a shame as I was genuinely hoping for more as there is a real lack of decent restaurants in this area. Unfortunately, due to the unpredictability, I wouldn’t return again.

AnonymousMarch 6th 2012.

I have been twice since the refurbishment, both visits at lunchtime. The food was average and overpriced. Won't be going again thankyou!

AnonymousMarch 6th 2012.

I love the food and the staff have been really helpful... It isn't over priced unless ur used to package food heated and served in" chain pubs". You get what you pay for... Good service and real food not processed crap ...

LottielassMarch 9th 2012.

I live locally and was really looking forward to a good quality, but reasonably priced pub restaurant. How disappointed was I ! Over -priced and pretentious. This isn`t Prestbury or Alderley Edge and if they want local support then be realistic with the pricing. There`s nothing worse than feeling ripped off. Who wants poor food at an extortionate cost ?

AnonymousMarch 29th 2012.

LOTTIELASS, bit confused as to why you feel Prestbury or Alderley Edge are more expensive places to live than Cheadle Hulme / Bramall, have you looked at house prices recently or are you just going off the name?! Cheadle Hulme isn't know as part of the "stock brokers belt" of south Manchester for nothing, there's plenty of people in the area who are happy to pay the prices, every bit as much as AE.

AnonymousMay 25th 2012.

Update: I've been back on 3 occasions since writing this. First time, we had a date label in the tartare - no biggy; mentioned to the waitress and apology accepted. Second time we had a number of complaints. A manager contacted me via my Facebook page to seek further details - my wife took the time to send a lengthy reply outlining the main greviances but no response was received. Today, against my better judgment to return, what was finally acceptable food was followed by having to listen to a waiter 'kicking off' and swearing repeatedly and loudly to his colleagues in clear sight and earshot of customers. This in a place that is supposedly family friendly! DisaPointing Dog bites again!

Hungry Hoss

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