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The North on a Plate

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Did any other Chowhounders see this on BBC 4 last night? Has anyone been to Maggie May's in Liverpool and sampled the Scouse? is it worth a trip. Ditto the Wigan Pies ( looked like they were in Wigan market, opinions and directions gratefully recieved). Fascinated by the story of tripe - has anyone been to the gastropub in Manchester mentioned and tried the featured dishes?

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    1. I missed the programme, but I've lived in Liverpool for 30 years and never been to Maggie May's - I've walked past it many times, but it never struck me as being a place to go to for a good scouse, but that doesn't mean that it isn't ... but somehow I doubt it is worth the trip (but it depends where your trip is from - it's all relative). Does anyoone know if there will be a repeat of the programme ( or maybe I can check it out on iplayer).

      8 Replies
      1. re: Theresa

        I've just watched it on iplayer and have mixed feelings ...

        I didn't like the look of the Scouse from Maggie Mays - too thick for my liking - and I believe it should be made with lamb (which is why the pickled cabbage or beetroot goes so well with it - it cuts through the richness of the lamb). It may be good though - it was hard to tell. It was lazy reporting though - especially as he is a scouser - as it is on Bold St, not Hope St as he said.

        I don't know much about Wigan pies, but I'm willing to bet that there are an awful lot of really bad pies out there, and I thought he should have tried to celebrate who was making the good ones.

        Again, with the market at Bolton, I got no sense of what was good stuff there and what wasn't -
        many markets like these across the north (and probably the country as a whole) sell stuff which is cheap, but often mass produced or poorly farmed.

        The section on curry houses was a bit thin, and, again, very uncritical of the sh**e most places churn out for British palettes.

        The angle on terroir and class was an interesting one, but it would have been good for him to look more at the quality of the food eaten by working class northerners, and what access there is to trditionally made and/or free range produce etc. A bit of a missed opportunity maybe.

        I too would be interested to hear Harters' point of view on the programme, as (I think) he knows more about deepest Lancashire than I do - are you lurking out there somewhere ...?

        1. re: Theresa

          I was quite intrigued by the thickness of the Scouse, actually, cos I grew up in north wales and my mum made a lamb stew more along the lines of some of the plates shown. We never ate red cabbage with it though...just plenty of salt, pepper, vinegar and brown sauce(!)

          Agree with you re the curry though - the place didn't look very appetising, but have to say it didn't give you a very good look at the food. There must be some great curry places in bradford though ---off to look them up elsewhere here.....

          1. re: DietStartsTomorrow

            I think brown sauce would work really well with it - does the same job of cutting through the lamb fat. I'll try it next time.

            I haven't been to Bradford, and I guess there will be some places serving good Indian and Pakistani food - you need to find the small cafes catering for local Asians. The best place I've found in ages is in Preston - they have a tiny menu and serve what seems like proper home-cooked Pakistani food, and it's delicious.

            1. re: Theresa

              Theresa, whats the place called in Preston?
              Thanks.

              1. re: spotthedog

                Wierdly, it's called Lunches and Brunches - It;s on Church St at the end of the block after the junction with Manchester Rd/St I've since found out that they are Indian Muslims, not Pakistani, but I guess you could say that the food is North West Indian.

                Another place which isn't bad at all is East z East - opposite the Church on Church St/Fishergate. It's part of a small NW chain, is a restaurant as opposed to a cafe and I have only been once, but I thought it was a damn sight better than the usual "curry house" standard - some different dishes, not the same base suace for everything and some decent cooking.

              2. re: Theresa

                "you need to find the small cafes catering for local Asians" - I don't really understand this comment. My experience of North(Eastern) English cities like Bradford, Sheffield, Leicester, Nottingham, and Brum (at a stretch, I know I am really in the midlands) is that you often get really great curry in some of the big restaurants that cater for the large local populations of people of Asian descent. There is quite a lot of money in these communities and the restaurant scene has responded accordingly.

                1. re: PhilD

                  I was just basing it on my experiences in Manchester and Preston. It seems that the places in Rusholme are not/no longer the real deal, while the cafes in the Northern quarter are pretty good, and I haven't heard of any decent places in Preston - except for the two I mentioned - which is really surprising, considering the size of the Asian population. East z East is maybe more the kind of place you are talking about - I don't know what the other branches are like, but the Preston one seems pretty good.

                  1. re: Theresa

                    It is many, many years since I had a curry in Rusholme, IIRC this was quite a cheap and cheerful student area, yes big "famed" restaurants but not aiming high. What I saw on more recent visits to the towns I mentioned was that there are now high quality Indian restaurants appearing that are aimed the local Indian community as much as others. Lasan in Brum is a great example.