Reviewed by Jo Knox
I was invited to a review at Avalanche Restaurant in Manchester. Near to Albert square but set back away from the hustle and bustle, from the outside, it looked like a nice place with the tables neatly set and large open windows.
I took a friend along with me and when we arrived, we were politely greeted and showed to the bar to get a drink. We were asked at this point if any of us were vegetarian. We were offered an option of red or white wine. We sat for a while at tables by the bar taking in the surroundings. There seemed to be many staff buzzing about but not many people. However, it soon became clear that the evening was an event for many reviewers and bloggers. I didn’t know what to expect and wasn’t sure if it was a sit down meal or if we would be getting some form of canapés. The bar area became very busy with all sorts of cool and quirky people. Some were gorgeous and glamorous and others understated but with something interesting.
It was about an hour after arriving before we saw people begin to be seated and felt as though we needed to ask for this as we didn’t get the impression we would be seated otherwise. We were sat in the window in the centre of the restaurant. Shortly after sitting we were offered a glass of Prosecco. There was a set menu with sharing platters for the 3 courses. This was being served on mass to the tables.
The starter was a trio of bruschetta served with fried rice balls and Camembert with a tomato and onion salsa. This was a cold starter but light and tasty. There was some salsa in a separate dish on the starter which had a distinct aniseed taste that was very distinctive.
There was then some time between the starter and main, not far off an hour. A singer who took us back to classical time old songs was a nice touch and kept the atmosphere light and entertaining.
We were the last table to be served our main meal which was described as Surf ‘n’ turf. There was a lovely aroma which left us in anticipation for the main course. A mix of fresh meat and fish, Scallops, prawns, lemon sole, château, T-bone, lamb and chicken. All served sauté potatoes, Mediterranean vegetables, peppercorn sauce and lemon butter sauce. In the words of my friend, the food was ‘divine’. The fish was cooked to perfection and was seasoned to perfection. The T-Bone was rare and looked like it had only been threatened with cooking! I usually have my steak medium to well done so this was a new one for me. It was delicious and I will definitely not be having mine any other way in future. The chicken was the only part of the main which I didn’t feel was anything special. It wasn’t really seasoned and was almost dry. As we were the final table, the food was only luke warm and would have been even better had it been a bit warmer.
Dessert was served almost as soon as the plates from the main were cleared which was a stark contrast from the time between the starter and main. I would have liked a few minutes to let my main go down. A trio of Tiramisu, chocolate cake and cheesecake. All served with fresh fruit. My favourite was the cheesecake but my friend’s was the brownie. All very nice and just the right amount of sweetness.
As the night was set up to serve all the guests a set menu on mass, I don’t think I can really provide an opinion on the overall service. I can say that the waiters were attentive and glasses were never empty and it was just a shame it took so long for us to receive our main meal. However, the food was delicious and I enjoyed all three courses thoroughly. The Avalanche restaurant website proffers ‘We offer palatable Italian cuisine in an elegant ambience.’ I would agree with this and an enjoyable evening had by all.
I would give this an overall 4/5 mainly rated on the quality of the food rather than the service for reasons outlined above.
For more information, to view menus or to make a booking visit www.avalancherestaurant.co.uk.
Avalanche, 2 Booth Street, Manchester, M2 4AT | 0161 237 1101