There a lot going on in the Manchester food scene at the moment. Burgers are still popular. As is curry, street food and pizza. And I love all of those things.
But, when Milo from Sam’s Chophouse got in touch to invite me to review their new menu, I was intrigued and delighted to try something a little different.
Sam’s Chophouse (not to be confused with their other two branches, Albert’s Chophouse and Tom’s Chophouse) is tucked away, down a side-street just a short walk from Market Street. Not far from the escalators up into the Arndale food court.
The old building is on a corner, and you enter down some stairs and are greeted by LS Lowry (in statue form) sat at the traditional bar, having a casual pint. This place really is old school.
Sam’s Bill Of Fare menu
Tasting the new Bill Of Fare menu was the objective of the day; each dish tells a story of the history of Sam’s. The menu launched in July and features classic British dishes with contemporary twists. They are currently in their 145th year, so history plays an important role in what they’re all about.
Drinks recommended by George
As we arrived, we were greeted by George, perhaps one of Sam’s best assets! He’s a sommelier who’s worked in the industry for 50 years and has been offering his exceptional knowledge to Chophouse customers for 11 years.
After a stressful commute, which involved missing my first train, I was ready for a glass of wine. Sauvignon Blanc? Perfect. He offered two to try (one French, one from New Zealand). I opted for the fruitier, fuller NZ with a hint of rose. It. Was. Divine.
Light but stunning starters
As I knew we had three hearty courses ahead of us, I decided to keep things light and chose two of the salads. They were stunning! In flavours, textures and presentation.
The Claire Burt’s Blue Cheese Waldorf Salad was accompanied by peppery radishes, lamb’s lettuce, crunchy Granny Smith apple, celery hearts and walnuts. If you haven’t yet tried Claire’s Burt’s blue cheese, then I urge you too. It’s so effing good. Plus, she’s from Altrincham so #supportlocal.
The Heritage Tomato & Fennel Summer Salad is served with goat’s curd, shaved Parmesan-style mature goat’s cheese, torn basil and an elderflower dressing. It’s stunning, just look at it! So vibrant, tangy and the salty goat’s cheese brings it all together.
Both salads are available as main courses too; perfect if you’re looking for a light lunch in the city in the middle of your shopping trip or working day. Very impressed!
The main event
Now the main course options include all sorts of classics, from Sole ‘In Coffins’
to Sam’s famous Corned Beef Hash, Fish and Chips and Bangers and Mash. But we wanted to think outside the box a little.
Having acquainted ourselves with George quite nicely, we opted for ‘George Berger’s’ Steak Tartare’ served up by George himself at the table. Chopped prime fillet of beef (from Yorkshire) seasoned with onions, capers, Worcester sauce, Tabasco and a rich egg yolk. Served with skinny fries.
It is made before your eyes, to your personal taste on a restored vintage trolley!
As one of the dishes contained two of my favourite things (sea bass and scampi!) served with samphire & a tartare butter sauce, my choice was a no-brainer.
We had sides of buttered savoy cabbage and bacon, and some hand cut chips too. What. A. Feast.
I must say, the food at Sam’s was exceptional.
My sea bass was seasoned and cooked to perfection, just look at it! The sauce was light but full of buttery flavour and the scampi was juicy and crispy.
Such a stunning dish and the presentation was faultless too. I think this fish should be available in every pub in the country! But it’s not, so make sure you head to Sam’s to try it.
Always room for desserts
Although we were suitably full and satisfied, we just had to try some of the puddings. If you don’t fancy a cheese board with sweet chutneys and sharp cheeses, then I can’t recommend the hot Eccles Cakes enough.
Squashed Eccles cakes served with Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire cheese on the side. A classic Manchester dish that is just delicious and almost festive in its flavours.
We also tried the Summer Berry Tart (which uses local fruits) served in a pastry tartlet with thick vanilla custard and a very refreshing raspberry sorbet. A gorgeous, generous pudding that was accompanied very will with the Hungarian dessert wine. The presentation of this dish is delightful too.