Good location and good atmosphere, just a shame about the terrible food
At first glance, Manchester Smokehouse — located on Lloyd Street, just off Albert Square — has all the ingredients of a great night out, with an exciting food and cocktail menu, and a very busy restaurant. Unfortunately, that’s where the compliments end.
We booked a table for a Saturday night — essential, as it was really quite busy. By the time we had arrived 5 minutes late, they had already given our table to someone else.
We shrugged this off and went over to their cocktail bar to wait until one became available. The vodka and prosecco cocktail I had was 95% apple juice, which is always upsetting when they suggest they consider their drinks as important as their food.
After sitting down, we ordered starters; Smoked garlic king prawns, and the honey jerk BBQ wings. The food arrived promptly, which was great — by this point, we were pretty hungry. The prawns came with their shells still on – and it has to be said, that must have been where all the flavour was, as there certainly wasn’t any on the meat. The wings were slightly better, but not much superior to those found in a local Wetherspoons.
We moved on and ordered ‘The big smoke; all the best bits for two to share’. If these were the best bits, I certainly don’t want to try the rest. Comprising of a hefty platter of brisket and ribs, pulled pork, and a variety of sides, the only thing that didn’t disappoint was the fancy chopping board it was all served on.
I know this sounds harsh – but the vast majority of the food was inedible – the chicken was so dry you had to gulp several mouthfuls of your pure apple juice cocktail just to get through it. The brisket was tough and flavourless, and the ‘hot links’ sausages were overcooked and unexciting. Don’t get me started on the ribs. The beans and the pulled pork were bang average, and they were the highlight.
What was most surprising was the lack of a smoky flavour. They claim their food is smoked and cooked on an open fire — but if you want a BBQ flavour, you’re better cooking it yourself on a disposable one in Platt’s Fields, or simply having a packet of smoky bacon crisps.
Unsurprisingly, I wouldn’t recommend a trip to Manchester Smokehouse — there are plenty of excellent alternatives in town, for the same price.