While Piccadilly Gardens remains a midden, one of the remarkable developments to its north is the rise of the eastern half of the Northern Quarter.
From a brief cameo in Captain America, the Dale Street corridor has blossomed into a full blown star in its own right. Restaurants, cafés, bars and shops pop up with alarming regularity while the fading regulars of the past close without comment. I passed the once glorious Kebabish, home of the finest sheek kebab sandwich this side of Lahore, now sadly empty and gone but not forgotten.
With appetite and memory whetted, I carried on my way to sample the new menu at Tariff & Dale, a relative newcomer to the corner of Tariff and Dale. I liked the sound of it as I imagined some 70s mismatched pairing of an English toff detective and a tough American transgender woman who ‘knows her way round that area’.
Hunger was playing mind games as I crossed from the fresh whitewashed exterior to the dark, exposed brick and wood interior. I was greeted by familiar faces from newly departed Cornerhouse, friends of friends and world weary hacks in search of their next tasting menu.
It turned out to be a jolly afternoon as the lovely staff brought a selection of cocktails to sample, from exotic martinis to fresh Collins and a sparkling Bellini, before the dishes of the new menu began to appear. An anthology of sausage rolls arrived with two types of brown sauce. My favourite was the black pudding; blood and fat textures surrounded with a golden crust dampened only with a schmear of the sauce – it tasted of the North.
Plates of tasty smoked duck breast, poached pear salad and a cool chicken and ham hock terrine followed one after the other in a rich tapestry of flavours as the parade of starters gave way to the mains of pan seared cod loin and flat iron steak. The cod was supplemented with mussels and a sublime lemongrass potage. A rare steak came with an ale reduction and confit potatoes, both substantial plates.
I was achieving repletion when a lemon meringue baked Alaska turned up followed by a dark chocolate mousse. The warm Alaska hid a cold heart of mellow vanilla ice cream. Both desserts finished me off with just barely enough room for coffee and a sumptuous miniature white chocolate cheesecake.
After a serious four hours at table, I tumbled out on to Dale Street in the sure knowledge that the new menu at Tariff & Dale will satisfy the denizens and visitors of and to the ever-blooming Northern Quarter.
What: Tariff & Dale
Where: 2 Tariff Street, Manchester