Saturday, 25 October 2014


I'm not a vegetarian, however having lived with a pretend one for nearly nine years I've become accustomed to eating many a meat free meal and a lot of my blog recipes are veggie friendly. I do get frustrated that some eateries are off limits due to a lack of veggie options that Jon actually likes (risotto and goats cheese are a no no) so Bistro 1847 is a godsend. Whenever we have visited in the past there has always been top notch meat free farye that is so beautifully presented and delicious that it makes you wonder why you ever need a slab of meat on your plate. With the arrival of their new Autumn menu we decided it would be a great time to see if their new dishes excelled as much as those we had enjoyed so much in the past. Sure enough, it was once again an absolute treat!

Arriving at it's city centre location on the quiet Mosley Street it seems that it' was not only the menu that had been given a revamp. Gone are the dark red tones that once gave the restaurant quite an off putting gloomy interior. Now, with a complete overhaul, the bright, clean and neutral colours give the Bistro a much more urban feel that is much more friendly and inviting and seemed to be pulling in the customers. It was the busiest we had ever seen it. Great to see! Our server for the evening was Rebbecca and upon taking us to our quiet corner table she poured us a glass of cucumber water (can't say I'm a fan but Jon liked it) and explained their brand new menu concept too us.

Back in the day, Bistro 1847 used to do your bog standard menu of starters, mains and desserts. Now you can either choose your own selection of tapas style small plates or choose one of couple of set menus designed to showcase the dishes on offer. For those with bigger bellies or don't like sharing you can order large plates of the sharing dishes however I really advise you go for a selection of small plates so you can sample a variety of the fantastic food. You may be missing out on an absolute treat otherwise!

So we chose our plates. First up was a shallot bhaji served on a spelt naan with labneh, mango and pickled pear. Not only was this a fabulous bhaji for a veggie restaurant but it would sit well in any of the best Indian restaurants I've eaten in. The spice of the bhaji and naan was mild but it complimented the sweet zing of the mango and pear perfectly and the smooth labneh cheese brought the whole tapas together. An absolute stonker of a dish and a really great size for sharing between two. I highly recommend you pick these as one of your grazing choices!

  Next up were these spelt and rye breads filled with smoked aubergine and pomegranate seeds (molasses too I believe). If I didn't know it was a baba ghanoush I would of thought it was a luscious smooth hummus. I can only describe them as little mouth fulls of yumminess. I'm not really a fan of pomegranate but again their sweetness really worked with the smokiness of the aubergine. Two dishes down and I was already bowled over by the Bistro's new direction. They just faced one final test! Could our favourite dish work as a small plate?

The beer battered halloumi and chips that once brought us to the Bistro to begin with has now been transformed into a tapas of three small portions with mushy pea emulsion, gin soaked shallots and lemon curd. Whilst I'll have to be 100% honest and say it didn't wow me as much as the way it used to be served with mint pea puree and home made chips it was still a joy to eat. The gin soaked shallots were the best addition to the new presentation although the halloumi will always be the star of the show. In the beer batter, you do sometimes think you are eating fish!

It's one of the dishes which can be served as a large plate and I do suggest this be the one to choose if you aren't going to go for the sharing options. I'm not normally one to be negative however as I do rate the Bistro I will say this. Innovation is a good thing and it's something the Bistro prides itself but please bring back the old style beer battered halloumi with the peas and chips. It was one of the best meals I've ever eaten and was sorely missed from this visit!

Don't get me wrong - the food is still sublime and I would still recommend it too anyone. It's a pure masterclass on how vegetarian food can be turned into something exciting and inventive. The sharing plates are a triumph too and I think it's a great direction for the bistro to move towards. I look forward to seeing what treats will pop up on next seasons menu!

Time for desserts. There was a brand new selection to choose from. In the past we've enjoyed hemp brownies and gin soaked sponges and so we were giddy to give the new puds a go. I went for these spiced welsh cakes with raspberries and smoked clotted cream. Gone in sixty seconds isn't just the name of a film, it's an accurate description of what happened to these bad boys. I could of easily polished off another three! A perfect dessert if you fancy something small and sweet to finish your meal with.

If your looking for something to really finish you off then Jon's dessert is the one for you. When this chocolate, sea salt and lime brownie was placed in front of him I'll have to admit to a bit of pudding envy. It was incredibly chocolaty but the sharp raspberries and lime cut right through the dark chocolate to make the cake really refreshing rather than simply being heavy and rich. This is definatly the choice for those who love their puds and may of been the stand out dish of the meal! Gorgeous presentation too.

With desserts eaten it was time to head off. Special thanks to Rebbecca who took the time to ask us what we were up too that evening and even offered to order us a taxi before we even ask. Fabulous service as well as fabulous food.

Bistro 1847 gave us another fabulous dining experience. The new menu concept is a triumph and all the new dishes we tried were truly some of the best little plates of pure tastiness that had ever eaten. Then again I don't expect anything less from this amazing restaurant. It has won awards in the past for best vegetarian restaurant and rightly so. Even if you aren't veggie like myself but are passionate about really good food, book yourself a table next time your in Manchester for one of the finest dining experiences of your life!

For menu details and too book tables at both their Manchester and Birmingham restaurants check out their website here!

Square Meal

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