The Lowry Hotel is posh. As in porter-opening-your-taxi-door kind of posh. It’s probably the poshest posh in Manchester City Centre. And the food is posh too.

Home gin cured salmonIn a five star hotel that’s played home to celebrities, sport stars and the Dalai Lama, you’d expect no less than excellence from the kitchen, so the Northern Soul Editor and I ambled along to The River Restaurant to test the delights of the à la carte menu.

To kick off, we both tried the home gin cured salmon on rye bread, served with mousse, cucumber balls and a cheese crisp. Deliciously refreshing and light, it was the perfect entrée as it didn’t seem to fill you up but whetted your appetite tremendously. The salmon was chunky, not like the usual wafer-thin stuff you usually see in restaurants (and supermarkets for that matter), and worked well with its (only lightly) gin-infused aroma and dill sauce.

Morecambe Bay sea bassI had the wild Morecambe Bay sea bass with clam ragout for main. Again, with two big steaks, the meal was well sized and bigger than the tiny portions that other fine dining venues proffer. The crispy skin complimented the tender fish, and the ragout was flavourful and chocka with diced mixed veg. It felt like a healthy meal so I was rather pleased with myself (as you are when you think you’re being good). The Editor chose a slow cooked fillet of Cheshire beef, with celeriac puree, ceps, marrow bon bons and thyme jus, which was layered artistically and smelt enticing.

There are several small side dishes on offer here but I’d recommend the triple-cooked chips and sugar snap peas with crispy prosciutto, as both were tasty and versatile accompaniments to our dissimilar main meals.

Caramel apple tarte tatinFinally, for pud The Editor had an apple in a Yorkshire pudding. Well, not really, but the caramel apple tarte tatin (served with milk ice cream and apple crisp) looked just like that and went down a treat. On the other hand, my chocolate hazelnut praline financier was a little disappointing. Though beautifully presented with flowers, nuts and chocolate, it didn’t have a very exciting flavour, seeming to me much like chocolate spread on cake. But the accompanying raspberry coulis was sweet and tasty.

The à la carte menu features local and seasonal sourced produce. Sitting in the glass-walled restaurant looking at a great view down the river, there’s little more you could hope for in a quality cuisine experience. A word of warning though – it’s expensive grub.

By Stephanie Alderson

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Where: The River Restaurant, Lowry Hotel, Salford

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