Tasting Notes: Avalanche, Booth Street, Manchester
PUBLISHED: 13:52 11 August 2014
Kate Houghton visits Manchester Italian restaurant, Avalanche
Describing themselves as the ‘best authentic Italian restaurant in Manchester’, Avalanche has set up shop in the building that housed Manchester’s first ever Italian restaurant, giving themselves much to live up to on more than one level!
Luckily neither the décor or the food disappoint, (apart from a slightly schizophrenic dangling of stringed garlic, chillis and lemons over the Pass, which clashes colourfully with the otherwise highly contemporary and elegant interior design!)
As you’d expect, service is friendly and helpful – go with the Maitre D’s wine recommendations, he knows what he’s talking about – but never over-whelming. We were allowed to peruse the menu to our heart’s content before placing our order…and what a perusal it took!
Talk about decision stress. If you’re a fan of all things piscatorial you’ll love this place, it’s swordfish, clams, prawns and monkfish, dover sole, sea bass and halibut till you’re almost dizzy with looking. Priding themselves on their skill with all things sea, the daily specials are a pean to the wide and varied delights of seafood and fresh fish and made even a committed carnivore like me wish I had a broader palate!
It’s probably a good job one doesn’t do fish however, as deciding which of the mouth-watering non-fish options to select was an experience in itself.
To save ourselves for the onslaught of steaks to follow, we started with salad: a fresh and vibrant mozzarella and tomato for me and a goat’s cheese with beetroot purée and tapenade. Both were generously portioned, filled with fresh flavours and wholly satisfactory.
My husband had plumped for the Steak Rossini and I opted for Veal with Chorizo, and side-orders of Cavolfiori Fritti (Deep Fried Cauliflower) and Spinaci all’Aglio (Spinach with Garlic and Chilli) completed the meal.
The steak was fabulous; soft, rich, perfectly cooked and topped with a slice of chicken liver paté. Simply delicious; no pretensions, just good honest Italian cooking. My veal was perhaps a little under-seasoned, but that’s easily corrected and the sauce accompanying it was perfect – rich, dark and unctuous. Side-dishes rarely make a review, but on this occasion I simply must insist you have the cauliflower. Astonishing. I had no idea that this particular, often bland, vegetable could be quite so fabulous. I’ll definitely be having that again!
Finally – the wine list. Extensive and varied: plenty to choose from by-the-glass, which is great if you’re driving, of course. We plumped for Nero D’Avola; a lesser known but very delicious rich and spicy red from Sicily and the perfect accompaniment to the meal.
A day out in Manchester isn’t complete without ending with a visit to the Italian Quarter, where there are many restaurants to choose from, but if you’re seeking some really good cooking, with quiet service, no fuss and attention-seeking, then Avalanche should hit the top of your list.