The festive season has officially begun. The Christmas markets are back in full force, the lights are up in the city, and restaurants across Manchester are bringing out their festive menus. West Didsbury’s FOLK is no different, launching its new ‘Christmas at FOLK’ winter menu, priced at three courses for £32 or two for £27. From starter to dessert, the menu was pure wintery perfection: the ideal location for a fancier date night or evening meal with the parents.
To start with, let’s talk cocktails. I may have gotten a tad over-excited about being able to choose whatever cocktails I wanted, and let’s just say I did not shy away from the opportunity. The New York Sour was delicious. Made with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, lemon, and Merlot, I felt like I was a sophisticated mid-30s New Yorker, stopping off for a casual cocktail on the way home from my high-rise-office job. The Espresso Martini was also superb, with just the right amount of sweetness and bitter kick of coffee. Later on, I also tried the FOLK Negroni, which was delicious (and very strong).
For starters, we tried the spiced pumpkin and parsnip soup, and ham hock terrine. FOLK seems to get the balance of sophisticated and plain tasty just right, and the starters proved this from the get-go. The soup was made with traditional winter spices such as cumin, with an added twist from garam masala, which elevated this otherwise traditional soup to something a little more punchy. The crispy parsnip skins on top of the soup, and the pumpkin seeds running throughout added a welcome crunch.
The ham hock terrine was also one of my favourites on the menu. With lots of dill running through it, it paired deliciously with the house piccalilli, which, when combined created the ultimate bite. The toast was also coated in garlic confit. I’m hard-pressed to meet anyone who disagrees that garlic is not the best thing of all time, and this toast would certainly satisfy all of our garlicky dreams.
Next up were the mains. FOLK’s three options on their winter menu each hit the spot. Their vegan beetroot, cranberry, and pistachio wellington was particularly impressive. Savoury but with some sweetness from the cranberries, it was my surprise star of the show. The trimmings were also a delight: with glazed carrots, brussels, parsnips, vegan stuffing, and potatoes roasted to perfection, I felt like it was Christmas day.
The meat option was just as good – the pigs in blankets (the star of every Christmas dinner) were salty and delicious. The turkey, drenched in gravy, was juicy and flavourful (everything unlike those pictures you see of people’s skin-looking, dry, grey turkeys on Christmas Day).
The fish main deserves its own paragraph, maybe even its own article. It was quite literally, amazing. The fish had a beautifully crispy skin which belied an unbelievably tender fish. The sauce was a cider and mussel cream, with basil oil drizzled all over. The sweetheart cabbage was some of the best greens I’d ever tasted. FOLK certainly does not compromise tastiness when it comes to its vegan, veggie, and pescatarian customers, and I’m certainly here for it!
By this point, as you can imagine, I was sufficiently full. But make no mistake, I will never be one to turn down dessert, especially not FOLK’s warm chocolate and amaretto brownie, and its apple strudel. The brownie came with milk ice cream, which offset its richness perfectly, combining to make one of the most unbelievable mouthfuls ever. For me, the apple strudel was the epitome of Christmas. Spiced with Christmassy flavours and floating in a sea of hot cinnamon custard, I’ll be dreaming about this dessert for weeks.
Head chef Michael Moroney previously worked in Manchester’s Albert Schloss, before he and his friends decided to create their own restaurant, FOLK. With its 70s-style interior and jazzy soundtrack, FOLK is classy but cool. The staff were very friendly, and the service was great.
Wanting to impress your parents with your knowledge of Manchester’s best spots in the suburbs? FOLK is your best bet. Cool, classy, independent, and delicious: get yourselves down to FOLK this winter.