Past all the new development full of identikit chains in Spinningfields, it is possible to find a true gem: the Mark Addy, named after a Victorian local hero. It seems initially unprepossessing, but once you walk down the iron staircase to the riverside pub, you’ll find an charming room, which was formerly a passengers’ waiting room for boats that plied the river. We sat in a booth and spent a long time looking over the enticing menu – too many delicious options! While we were there, the clientele included everyone from football fans coming for a pint of one of their many ales to shoppers tucking into amazing fish and chips or incredible value doorstop sandwiches.
We started with one of the signatures of the pub, the Manchester Egg, invented by the chef as a take on the eponymous Scotch egg. It is a pickled egg with a black pudding coating, which even my black pudding refusenik companion enjoyed. It was meaty and hearty, but the egg gave a freshness and tanginess that worked really well with the blood sausage. We absolutely loved it.
For our main, we shared a portion of air-dried ham with fig chutney, which was delicious and sweet, and came with really good homemade bread. We also had a portion of buttered clams, including both normal and razor clams in a deliciously rich and salty sauce. We mopped the juices up with the best chips I have eaten all year – cooked in duck fat and served with tarragon butter.
We were pretty full at this point but couldn’t resist finishing off the meal with a glass of red wine and a cheeseboard. It came with four different cheeses: one smoked, one mild and two blue, which my companion found far too strong, and even I couldn’t manage one of. These were served with grapes and three different types of cracker, although the promised chutney never materialised.
We left stuffed and happy, after an amazing meal and an enjoyable two hours looking out over the sunny river. It made a great destination restaurant, but you could just as easily drop in for a sandwich and some of those amazing chips. I know it won’t be long before I’m craving another one of those brilliant Manchester eggs…
Rabbit with root vegetables, ham hock and chestnuts
Robert Owen Brown, chef at the Mark Addy, has kindly given us a recipe for this delicious rabbit dish. The rich, meaty flavours are sure to help you tackle the bracing Manchester climate.
1 wild rabbit, prepared and jointed
2tsp chopped parsley
125g unsalted butter
60g plain flour
400ml chicken stock
200ml dry white wine
175ml double cream
2 sprigs thyme
1 finely diced carrot, onion and stick of celery
The meat from 1 medium ham hock, cut into small chunks
Toss the rabbit in the seasoned flour, then gently fry in half the butter until the
meat is sealed. Add the root veg to the pan and cook gently until soft, then add
thyme, ham, chicken stock and white wine. Cook gently until the rabbit is soft
and falling off the bone. Strain off the liquid and bring to the boil. Remove from
the heat, add the cream and reduce further until the sauce coats the back of a
spoon. Season, add back the cooked ingredients, the parsley and remaining butter
together with a handful of chestnuts. Stir well and serve.
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