It was a blisteringly hot Manchester Day day when I went to the Miller & Carter Steakhouse with the editor of Northern Soul. I could see the crowds and the colourful floats wafting down Deansgate in the far distance. I was horribly late having lost my car keys earlier while trying to be on time. Helen was patiently reading The Observer when I blustered in.
I have to be honest, I was tempted by the name, as it’s my surname, too. I didn’t know much about the steakhouse, but I later learnt that it’s a chain and they have more than 30 other branches at Cheshire Oaks, Liverpool, Leeds and down south.
The steakhouse is situated at the end of King Street where it meets Market Street in the former Lloyd’s Bank building. It’s a listed building so the lovely interior is protected and has been dovetailed neatly with the modern restaurant, all dark glass and clean lines. Helen recalls banking in the place where we had our lunch.
We had home-made nachos to start. They were loaded with cheddar cheese, salsa and guacamole. As far removed from Doritos as you can imagine, you could taste the herbs. And not bad value at £7.95 for two.
Even though it was lunchtime, we went for the chateaubriand for two. Largely because it was the same price (£44.95) as two steaks. Prior to the 16oz hunk of meat arriving, we were served an iceberg lettuce appetizer with garlic and chive mayonnaise with parmesan. It was meant to be a palate cleanser, and it certainly was refreshing ahead of the meat fest that awaited us.
As a reformed vegetarian, I would have liked to have it medium well, but it’s best served medium rare. It was cooked to perfection. Too well cooked (as I usually have it) would have wrecked the delicate texture and flavour of the meat. I had not eaten chateaubriand since my honeymoon in Italy almost a decade ago. It is a rare treat (no pun intended).
The meat is served with a bordelaise sauce, garlicky and dark, but you can choose from béarnaise, peppercorn, five mushroom or different infused butters.
The opening of Miller & Carter six weeks signals a Manchester trend for all things carnivore. Jamie Oliver has a restaurant on King Street, the former banking quarter and business district of the city, and so do Browns, to name but two.
There’s also been an explosion in street food as explored previously by Northern Soul, echoing the dirty dogs and meat fests so beloved by Americans.
The chateaubriand was delicate, melt-in-the-mouth type of delicious, and with the added reassurance that the meat was farm assured and from the West Country. Not local, but well-treated. It came with a rich sauce and a clutch of thin chips.
A glass of Pimms and a mocktail washed down the food. The Pimms had refreshing cucumber and strawberries in it.
For someone who used to be a vegetarian (I know!) it was a meat feast, the like of which I’d not enjoyed for about nine years.
The menu has a varied array of starters from lemongrass and chlli tempura king prawns with sweet chili jam to Bourbon Glazed pork belly bites for £5.95.
A note on the bottom of the menus says: “Our steak and chicken are British farm assured.” It was good to know.
What: Miller and Carter Steakhouse
Where: King Street, Manchester
More info: Telephone 0161 839 2846, www.millerandcarter.co.uk