Winter wonders at The Black Friar: A cosy tavern delight
Built in 1886, The Black Friar was resurrected in 2021 following a fire, which left it derelict for over 15 years. Since then, it has been established as a traditional pub, offering classic cocktails, delicious food, and a warm welcome upon arrival. The pub is located in Salford, which can sometimes feel like it’s ages away. But just hop on the V1 or V2 from outside the Students’ Union and you’ll be there in about 20 minutes.
The initial ambiance of the pub is fitting for the season: the door is framed with a giant wreath and inside, stockings and seasonal plants line the radiators and fireplace. It’s lit dimly with candles. If you’ve seen The Holiday, picture a pub in the village, where Cameron Diaz and Jude Law have their blossoming romance. That’s the vibe of The Black Friar.
When we visited, we sat in the front due to the torrential weather, but if you head to the back they’ve recently opened their Winter Tavern. Despite being closed upon visit, we managed to sneak a look and it’s like stepping into Narnia! There are fairy lights hanging upon every corner and blankets on all the chairs. The perfect place to enjoy some winter scran or even just share a bottle of wine.
The food itself only heightened the Christmassy atmosphere with their two-course £22 Pub Grub menu, which is offered all day Monday and every week day from 12pm-6pm. It’s comprised of dishes such as Chestnut and Truffle soup, Cottage Pie, and Bangers and Mash.
On my visit, we opted to share the three starters offered on this set menu, these included the Truffle soup, Blackfriars Terrine, and Boddingtons Rarebit (positioned in the middle of the three plates). Each was distinct in their taste and, might I add, absolutely delicious. Saying that, sharing is definitely the best option, as the soup portion is very large, and the truffle taste is slightly too rich to have by yourself.
The terrine was voted our favourite starter, as the saltiness from the ham hock combined beautifully with the spice from the curried pickled egg and the beetroot chicory’s sourness. The portion was just big enough to ensure there would be enough room for a main dish. The rarebit was a nice sized portion and the poached egg on top was cooked to perfection, complimenting the oozing cheese from on top of the sourdough toast. Overall, the starters were all tasty interpretations of classic pub winter dishes.
For the main dishes, we shared both the Famous Black Friars Pie, served with mash greens and gravy, and the Black Friars Burger, consisting of blue cheese, brie, lettuce, tomato, and red onion marmalade. The pie was by far the star of the show, with the creamiest dollop of mash beside it and crispy shortcrust pastry. The current pie on the menu is chicken, pancetta, and mushroom. The chicken chunks were melt-in-the-mouth level and, once drowned in the homemade meaty gravy, were even more delicious.
The burger was a proper burger – none of this Burger King nonsense! It was juicy and thick, and the bitterness of the blue cheese coupled with the sweetness of the caramelised onion to create the perfect mouthful. Also, there is a vegan option available for the burger if meat isn’t your thing! A vegetarian option of butternut squash gnocchi caught our eye as it passed by, presenting an appetising glimpse.
The Black Friar’s full winter menu is slightly more expansive, including a lot more vegetarian options and, of course, a classic steak. They also have a few pescatarian dishes, including Line Caught Halibut Fish and Monkfish Osso Bucco (basically a bourguignon) for mains, and Seared Scallops with risotto for starter.
Although it might sound a bit boujee for student budget, the two-course £22 menu is incredible value for money – we were on the verge of being rolled out! And with a crisp bottle of Rosé, costing around £27, we had a lovely evening of great food and good wine, surrounded by a classic Christmas atmosphere.
Additionally, on weekdays from 4-6pm, it’s happy hour! Now, who doesn’t love a good happy hour? This deal makes their pints only £4 and cocktails just £6. This means you can go early, have a pre-dinner drink, then let yourself be immersed in the Narnia-like Winter Tavern.
- Sun-Mon: 12pm-9pm
- Tues-Thurs: 12pm-10pm
- Fri-Sat: 12pm-11pm
Check out The Black Friar’s website to find out more!