‘Experience Manhattan in the heart of Spinningfields‘. So says Neighbourhood, a restaurant and bar opened in Manchester by the same people who brought BBQ specialists Southern Eleven to the city. Could they pull it off?
The answer is yes, yes and thrice yes. If you’re familiar with New York dining then Neighbourhood will throb with authenticity. Complimentary reviews have championed the restaurant’s “pimped up American comfort food” and I’m glad to report that it’s all true. Even a glance at the menu demonstrates what Neighbourhood is trying to do: shrimp cocktail, lobster tacos and butternut squash ravioli jostle for your attention, rubbing shoulders with mac & cheese, steak and fries, while the dessert list includes blueberry and apple crumble and a box of doughnuts.
There’s something suitably glamorous about the venue, too. The luxurious nature of some of the food’s ingredients is echoed in the decor, a blingy ambience that doesn’t try too hard yet manages to feel pretty special. This is what struck me as I walked into Neighbourhood on a swelteringly hot day.
While the aesthetics were easy on the eye, the same can’t be said for the acoustics. My god. I know I’m getting on a bit now, I recognise that I’m hardly down with the kids, but this was loud. Thankfully, me and me mum were ushered towards the back, down a few steps and over to a row of sumptuous booths with enough room to accommodate a hen party and then some. I breathed a sigh of relief, as did Ma Nugent.
Now the fun really began. The food was, to put it mildly, fantastic. The aforementioned lobster tacos melted in the mouth, a crab cocktail slipped down like a dream and the salt-dusted brioche (baked on the premises) brought paroxysms of delight. And these were proper portions each costing ten quid and under. Oh my.
The mains were just as impressive and, like their American counterparts, they filled the plate and pleasured the palate. Me mum was dead chuffed with her pot roast chicken thighs, languishing in a white wine, rosemary and chilli sauce; my 12oz Flat Iron steak a snip at £14. When the desserts rolled out both of us were fit to burst, but we kept our shoulders to the wheel. Once again, the portions were embarrassingly generous – a selection of ice cream cones sufficient to feed a family of four and a box of doughnuts equally up to the task. Lip-smackingly good.
Neighbourhood, I pledge allegiance to you.
Review by Helen Nugent
Where: Spinningfields, Manchester
More info: www.neighbourhoodrestaurant.co.uk