It was 6:30pm on a Thursday night and I’d convinced my housemate to ditch the beer garden in the golden summer afternoon, get dolled up with me instead, and dine out at Manchester’s The Blues Kitchen.
I won’t lie, I did feel like a bit of a tit tottering along in my heels whilst it was still broad daylight as we rushed to make our 7pm reservation. But the moment we stepped through door, my housemate eventually uttered the words I’d been waiting to hear: “Ok you were right, this place is pretty cool.” And that was before we’d even ordered food and cocktails!
If it wasn’t for the neon red lettering which adorns the Quay Street entrance, stepping into The Blues Kitchen would transport any millennial with a yearning for the past into a 1920s prohibition speakeasy. Quirky brass monkey lights adorn the restaurant’s gorgeous tile walls which alongside the stained glass door and ceiling panels makes this place one of the coolest-looking restaurants I’ve ever dined in.
After being shown to our seats, past bustling tables, a live jazz singer and impressively stocked bar, our super friendly waiter took us through the menu, advising us of their recommendations and of new items. At the risk of making a mess of blues, for drinks I opted for the Zombie cocktail (£11) and my housemate Ryan the Sage and Pineapple cocktail (£10). Where cocktails are concerned, the bartenders certainly know what they’re doing and I would definitely recommend it as a great place to impress on date night!
For our starter, we ordered the Buffalo Cauliflower (£7.50) and the Smashed Avocado Tostada (£7.25): a blue corn tortilla stacked with shaved radish, red onion, coriander cress, and of course the gorgeous guac. One thing I will say, the food presentation is topped only by the interior decor.
Whilst both dishes were delicious, especially the cashew nut cream seasoning and lemon zest on the cauliflower, we did both think the price was a bit steep for what it was. We were extremely glad that they’d only been starters, our appetites unsatiated by the small portions. Equally, the cauliflower could have been crisped up for a little longer.
Our main course was brought out next we opted for the Chopped Salad (£10), Crack Tacos (£13.50) and a side order of fries (£4). I must take responsibility for the poor decision of the salad which, whilst nice and healthy, was at the end of the day, just a salad.
We both agreed that the real showstopper was the Crack Tacos. This dish consisted of three mini tacos filled with panko roasted broccoli, BBQ sauce, iceberg lettuce, avocado, pickled onions and green goddess. Ryan and I both took a bite of these tacos and were instantly blown away by their rich flavour and tangy filling.
Genuinely some of the best tacos I have ever eaten in my life. Definitely worthy of their name.
By this point I was feeling very well fed, but that didn’t stop us from ordering the Vegan Chocolate Chip Shake (£5.50) to share. Ryan was very satisfied with our dessert choice, and claimed it was “a pretty decent milkshake that like”. High praise indeed.
Overall I’d definitely recommend The Blues Kitchen, whether you’re stopping by to catch some jazz and indulge in a few cocktails, or to delve into their extensive menu of classic American dishes with a twist. You certainly won’t be left with any downhearted blues, despite what Bessie Smith may think.
If you do go for food, I cannot stress this enough, order the Crack Tacos. I promise every other taco afterwards will be a disappointment, but it’s worth it.