Monday, 1 April 2013

Damson, MediaCity, Salford

On arriving in the new Damson restaurant at MediaCity what immediately strikes you is the view. A sweeping cityscape seen through floor to ceiling picture windows, virtually none of which can be any more than fifteen years old. The area is starting resemble a coherent city quarter, alive with people and not just buildings, which isn't something that can be said about many attempts at large scale regeneration.

The jury remains out on what benefit the regeneration bandwagon brings to the area at large, you don't have to travel far from the shiny new world of the Quays to end up in some of the North's most troubled urban quarters, but whatever your thoughts on this you have to admit it looks impressive.  I just hope that the BBC and other new tenants have at least attempted a local recruitment drive.

Whatever employment policies are at work, there are certainly a whole bunch of media types in situ who categorically weren't here before. Luckily for them the highly regarded Damson (original restaurant across town in Heaton Moor, I've never been) are giving them somewhere better to eat than the chain dross that's occupied the remainder of the restaurant space on site.

Luckily for me and my work colleagues too, as we just happen to have considerably less glamorous premises two minutes around the corner.

We all ate from the pre-theatre menu, a short list of four starters, three mains and four puddings. It's not fixed price, so depending on your choices can range from only £16 up to £27 for three courses.

After some decent bread and very good quality butter I started with white onion and thyme risotto, wild mushrooms with parsley and garlic, smoked pancetta powder. The beautifully made risotto spoke for itself but I'm not sure the pancetta powder added much other than a hint of saltiness.

Grilled fillet of haddock, Asian greens with shitake mushrooms and a lemongrass and coriander broth was an accurate, delicate bowl of food. I usually avoid Asian dishes in European restaurants, because they tend to be a bit rubbish, so this was a pleasing surprise. The rich, fragrant coconut-based broth had the balance of a good Thai curry, just one with the intensity dial turned down a few notches.

Best of all was pudding, and it's not often that I say that. Pistachio financier, chocolate ice cream, sweet and salty popcorn sounded like it needed a dollop of cream in place of the popcorn, and arrived with an unappetising brown smear across the plate. First impressions were completely wrong though as it tasted divine. The vivid, powerful hit of chocolate melded with the nutty financier like a dream and the popcorn was much more than an irrelevance, adding a nice change in texture and that all important, addictive bit of salt. There really is a lot to be said for putting a little seasoning into dessert.

Everyone else enjoyed their meals too, on another day I'd have happily chosen three different courses from the same menu. How does Smoked haddock scotch egg, avocado puree, chorizo and red pepper dressing followed by Slow cooked pork belly, Bury black pudding and Lancashire cheese hash brown, spiced apple puree, honey pickled white cabbage and then Mango and passion fruit mousse, spiced roasted pineapple, poached kiwi and coconut granita sound? Good to me.

Service was excellent throughout our meal. I couldn't tell you how much the bill came to, I wasn't paying and we had a few drinks, but the three courses I ate would set you back £20. Recommended, for both the food and the view.


Damson MediaCityUK
Orange Building

M50 2HF

Damson Restaurant on Urbanspoon

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...