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[Manchester, city centre] Michael Caines at Abode

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Harters Feb 16, 2012 08:58 AM

Lunch at Abode comes via its “Amazing Graze” menu (geddit?) – a mini-tasting menu, if you will, where you pick your 3, 4 or 5 courses from the list of six savoury and three sweet dishes. A bit of discussion between us meant we were able to sample all six savouries (in the event, passing on dessert). That meant we were on four courses at the very reasonable price of just £19 – a bargain for this quality of food. My partner took them up on the offer to match a wine to each course – small 75cl glasses of pretty good stuff, adding a further twelve quid.

There was a very good bread selection, followed by a pumpkin and parmesan soup – the cheese perhaps overpowering the sweetness of the pumpkin. A few pumpkin seeds and small dice of the veg gave some texture.

Ham hock terrine was a decent example of this almost ubiquitous starter. A couple of bits of soused carrot and onion again gave texture and might have benefitted from a tad more sharpness – not for nothing does this dish often come with piccalilli.

A millefeuille of smoked eel was lovely. The leaves coming as thin Parmesan crisps which worked really well with the very smoky, very delicious, eel. There were a few lentils offering an earthiness. A dab of indeterminate herb puree didn’t contribute too much, but a quails egg and horseradish foam brought some welcome moistness. I really liked this a lot.

There was a ballotine of chicken leg, which managed a good crisp skin and was stuffed with a little duck liver mousse. Boulangere potatoes were excellent. Another belter of a plate.

Roasted Pollock was the least successful dish. Slight underdone and with an underwhelming parsley risotto, it just didn’t seem to work as well as everything else.

Our final dish, which we both ordered, was an open raviolo of roasted root vegetables. Well prepared pasta, with a slice each of parsnip, courgette and something else now forgotten. This was never going to set the world alight but, with another light foam forming the dressing, was nice enough.

We then had good strong espresso and OK petit fours.