Tim and I had such a lovely night out for our anniversary. Once we poshed up, we took the tram into Manchester. First stop was Harvey Nichols for cocktails. I have never had a Mai Tai before, but I shall certainly be having one again. It was delicious. However, I don’t think I would rush out to have it at the Harvey Nichols Bar and Brasserie. It doesn’t really feel like a real bar – it feels like a glorified canteen that has been temporarily carved out of the store. And the barman didn’t make an effort to make a show out of the cocktail preparation process. I love it when they twirl the bottles around. I must add, though, that the staff were very friendly.
Thereafter, we went around the block to The Modern, a restaurant at the top of the Urbis building. You take the lift up to the 6th floor, and arrive in the bar. I would like to go back to the bar another time, but this time we went straight downstairs to the restaurant.
The food was very good. Tim ordered the winning course: his starter was a mushroom pate with toast. It might not sound like much, but it was fantastically amazing: light, fluffy and so flavoursome. The only word to describe it that truly does is justice, is ‘heavenly’!
My starter was good too, but couldn’t compare to Tim’s. Mine was a beetroot and goats cheese salad. Light and tasty.
The menus are seasonal, and the ingredients seem to be very good local produce. For main course, Tim selected the venison and I decided to try the whole baked mackerel. Tim’s venison was beautifully cooked, served with mash, a rich gravy and a faggot. Now, where I come from, a faggot is not something you’d eat unless you’re a cannibal! But I was keen to give it a go: it looked like some type of meatball. Tim prepared a nice big bite which I popped into my mouth. It was probably one of the most disgusting things I have ever tasted in my whole life! If I had been at home, I would have spat it right out. It’s vile! Only then Tim told me that he thought it was made of offal – and I have never like offal. When we got home, I googled it, only to find that its main ingredients are minced pigs liver and pigs heart! Urrgh.
My main course also delivered a surprise. I love smoked mackerel, but I had never eaten fresh mackerel, so I was keen to try the whole mackerel stuffed with herbs. After the first bite, I noticed that my mouth felt a little numb. Almost like when you eat too much nutmeg. However, I carried on eating. All of a sudden I felt a lump come up in my mouth – a bit like a mouth ulcer, but on the inside of my bottom lip. It happened very suddenly. That felt weird. A few minutes later, another lump formed inside my top lip! Other than that I felt fine. But it was strange. I did eat the rest of my dinner, but avoided the unknown herbs.
In spite of the allergic reaction, it didn’t ruin our evening. However, the allergy did seem to continue when I got home: my face and head glowed red hot, including the back of my head. It was really uncomfortable and I struggled to get to sleep. But once I nodded off, I seemed to be okay.
I have emailed the restaurant to ask them the ingredients of the dish I ate, but unfortunately they have not yet got back to me. I think it is the herbs, but I am a little concerned that it might be the fish, as my brother is allergic to fish. Do allergies run in families? I would absolutely HATE being allergic to fish!! I will have to do a few controlled tests, I think …