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[Manchester, city centre] Market Restaurant

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There’s always something of a buzz to the Northern Quarter and the Market Restaurant sits well at its heart. It’s been there for donkeys years, under changing ownership, and it's still doing what it’s always done – serve up decent, well priced bistro dishes. It’s a place we’d sort of forgotten about and haven’t been for a number of years.

In spite of the claim on the website to be serving Modern British food, its menu (changing every six weeks) reaches out across the world. As in Insalata di Arancia alla Siciliana or, if you prefer, a Sicilian style salad of oranges, fennel, rocket, herbs and black olives. Very light, very fresh – maybe a little underseasoned. That was followed by a main course of medallions of beef fillet with caramelised onions. The star here was what was described as a “white pudding hash” but in fact was nothing of the sort. In reality, it was a bowl of pork, vegetable and oat stew. And it was absolutely delicious – they should make it a main course in its own right.

On the short menu, a number of starter and main items are highlighted that they can form a fixed price deal at £17.95. I hadn’t intended to eat the fixed price but my choices meant that’s what I got. And it makes for cracking value. A starter of three ox cheek samosas were rich, with crisp pastry. A mint and coriander raita set them off well. Cod loin was spot on for cooking – nice flakes of fish (although I’d have been happier to have crisper skin). It came topped with a perfectly poached egg and some very decent chive hollandaise. And for seasonality, Jersey Royals and north west asparagus. Really enjoyable.

Service was bang-on. Welcoming, knowledgable about the food, on the ball – what more do you need.

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