Chorlton may be known as the land of organic marrows and Crocs but it also has a ton of great restaurants.
Nevertheless, it’s easy to take the place where you live for granted. When I recently bemoaned to a friend that we’d have to go into town to eat because there’s very little here, she replied “you mean apart from the Japanese, Italian, Thai, blah blah blah”. I suppose what I really meant is that Chorlton isn’t exactly a hot spot for new restaurant launches.
So when Mish Mash threw open its doors I was keen to give it a whirl. Housed in an old Methodist chapel on the ever enduring Beech Road, half the work is already done – Chorltonites make regular weekend pilgrimages down this stretch for drinks, dinner or brunch, or more often than not all three.
On opening night, Mish Mash proprietor James Plant discussed his motivation for the restaurant. “We had three weeks to get ready,” he laughed, surveying his new pride and joy. “I always said that I wanted to open a restaurant before I was 40”.
At 39, Plant has done this with time to spare, with an impressive CV that boasts Dinks in Wilmslow, Simply Heathcotes and Jamie’s Italian.
Inside Mish Mash, the décor is sympathetic to the roots of the former church, with modern accents such as graffiti art and a projector. Meanwhile, the food is a refreshing twist on British cuisine (something Chorlton is lacking) and is served beautifully. I started with smoked salmon with earl grey dressing which was refreshing and light; my friend had a pear, pepper and parmesan salad. Both dishes were perfect for the unusually hot evening outside. The sun doesn’t always shine in Chorlton, you know.
For mains, the restaurant really came into its own. My ham, egg and chips were fantastic; an excellently cooked ham hock which fell off the bone as soon as you placed your fork near it. The portions are huge, almost outfacing, but I’m not one to give up on a challenge and so pushed onwards.
My friend had the signature dish mojito chicken, served with a “firecracker of a salsa”.
Although it was a struggle, I felt duty bound to try a dessert and I wasn’t disappointed. A confirmed chocaholic, I had to go for the chocolate and cherry pot. Served in a plant pot with a tiny watering can of cream, it looked a little dry at first but digging deeper revealed a rich chocolate ganache. Sadly it beat me and I couldn’t do it justice.
With outside space to utilise on those rare forgiving Manchester evenings, Mish Mash is a great addition to the Beech Road community and somewhere I will definitely be returning to, if for no other reason than to try the intriguingly-named Cosmopolitan Salmon.
By Chris Park
Photos by Radka Dolinska
Where: Beech Road, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester
More info: www.mishmashbars.com