We’ve all done it. Looked longingly at a menu and thought, “I could eat all of that”. The beauty of this tapas-style feast is, you can.
Lunya in Manchester has been celebrating the best of Spanish cuisine and delivering it to Deansgate since 2015. Owners Peter and Elaine Kinsella are extremely passionate about the tastes of the Catalonian region and have used this for inspiration when developing their new selection of summer dishes.
The collection features items suitable for meat-lovers, vegans and vegetarians and I thoroughly enjoyed sampling their utterly gorgeous fare. Even the snacks were memorable. Fried egg flavour crisps if you please. Currently taking Barcelona by storm, these nibbles taste like those great crispy bits of a fried egg. Where have these been my whole life? I have a feeling a new addiction may have begun and, thankfully, the Lunya deli attached to the restaurant sells them.
As for the dishes, I was impressed by the beautiful combination of flavours, particularly in the sauces that adorned each plate – rich, tangy but not heavy. The stand out dish for me was the Bacalao, a delicious pan-fried salt-cod that was sublimely fluffy and made perfect by a topping of toasted garlic mousseline. As soon as it made it into my mouth it was one of those ‘wow’ moments. I also really enjoyed the tender and delicate beef sliders. Peas are not the most exciting vegetable but there was even a dish of the sweet garden pellets (Guisantes y Panceta) that tasted incredible.
For something a little different, the Salmorejo is well worth discovering. A traditional Andalusian chilled tomato soup topped with ham tacos, croutons and egg. The dish managed that difficult feat of being both refreshing and tasty. Even the British favourite, bangers and beans, has been given a Catalonian makeover. Botifarra amb Mongetas featuring beautiful homemade baked beans and a sausage made with escalivada (smoky grilled vegetables).
As well as that salt-cod, fish lovers can enjoy flaky, pan-fried seabass served on a bed of white beans, peas and chorizo. The vegetable tempura, chickpeas and chicken skewers also went down a treat. Everything was accompanied by some excellent Spanish (of course) wines, sherries and a fantastic vermouth.
If you can’t get over to Spain this summer or are experiencing withdrawal symptoms from a recent visit, you can enjoy that culinary feeling all over again with this more-ish summer line-up.