Friday, 29 June 2018

Restaurant Review: Pier Eight at the Lowry, Manchester


An unexpected restaurant on the cards today - Pier Eight at The Lowry theatre!

The Lowry is a well-established theatre and arts venue at Salford Quays. Since its opening, the landscape around it has changed so much with the birth of MediaCity, home to huge multimedia companies like the BBC and ITV. In the past few years, MediaCity has become very much its own destination in Manchester, rather than just somewhere you might head to for work.

Despite all the great bars and restaurants that have sprung up in the area (like CAU, Grindsmith Coffee and The Alchemist), it's not somewhere I really consider even though it's super easy for me to get to on the tram.

I've been to The Lowry before but I didn't realise it had its own restaurant! Invited to check out their latest menu*, I was glad I'd chosen such a beautiful sunny day to visit the idyllic waterside location!

Pier Eight Restaurant at The Lowry
The Lowry Manchester Restaurant
Pier Eight The Lowry Restaurant Bread Tomato Butter
Pier Eight The Lowry Restaurant Bread Tomato Butter
Pier Eight The Lowry Restaurant Bread Tomato Butter

Pier Eight is on the ground floor of The Lowry, open to the rest of the building which gives it a welcoming feel. With huge windows overlooking the water and modern colourful accents through the restaurant, it has a bright and airy feel.

The menu is small and focused around fresh, quality British produce, executed with modern flair.

We hadn't eaten much through the day so were eager to get stuck in! We started things off with the home baked breads, served with tomato butter and ordered a lovely bottle of Portuguese Chianti.

Pier Eight Manchester Starter
Pier Eight Manchester Starter Seared Salmon


For the starter, I chose the crispy pork belly, with pickled grapes, pine nuts, carrot vinaigrette, fennel and rye.

The pork belly was lovely and crisp, with really good flavour. There was a lot going on with this dish but it came together really well. I loved the grapes paired with the vinaigrette and puree (though I'm not quite sure what this was!).

Husband went for the seared salmon, with shaved fennel, apple, radish, dill buttermilk sauce - not something he'd usually go for! This dish was really tasty and light - perfect for a hot day!

Pier Eight Lowry Manchester Beef Fillet
Pier Eight Lowry Manchester Salford Quays
Pier Eight Restaurant Lowry Manchester
Pier Eight Lowry Manchester

Main Course

On to the mains!

When we arrived, our waitress told us that there was only one Beef Fillet dish left, so Chris was quick to get this one ordered! The grilled beef fillet was accompanied by braised beef cheek, courgette noodles, spiced aubergine and new potatoes.

I tried some of this dish an can confirm it was great! The beef fillet was quite obviously a quality piece of meat but the real star was the melty, flavoursome beef cheek! The herbed potatoes went perfectly with this too.

Now, my main comes with a bit of a disclaimer. I ordered the gnocchi with pesto, cherry tomato, parmesan and olive oil but had two different versions of it!

I love gnocchi and have it quite a lot. The first image is the first dish I received and I ended up sending it back - something I've never done before! The gnocchi was really hard and the dish in general just tasted bitter and overdone. As I was reviewing our meal, I wanted to let the staff know rather than having to speak negatively about the food.

To their credit, they did quickly get another gnocchi out to me. The chef said that due to it being pan-fried, it was as it should be but they would make the replacement dish without pan-frying it and as more of a 'traditional' gnocchi in their words. The two were honestly worlds apart; my new dish featured soft, fluffy gnocchi and the pesto tasted so much fresher - it was beautifully done! In my honest opinion, the dish is better without being pan-fried. At the least I think they should state this on the menu.

Pier Eight The Lowry Manchester
Pier Eight Lowry White Chocolate Parfait


Dessert was a difficult choice as there were so many good looking options! I eventually settled on the lemon mille-feuille with pistachio ice cream and raspberry meringue. The pastry was perfectly light and flaky, the custard rich and tasty and the raspberry meringue gave it a sweet and sharp interesting element - I loved it!

Chris chose the caramelised white chocolate parfait with toffee apple, oat biscuit and crème fraîche. The parfait was sweet and creamy and the toffee apple accompaniment took it to another level!

Despite the hiccup with the main, it was a wonderful meal. I never expected such quality food from an in-theatre restaurant! The waiting staff also deserve a mention as they were so attentive and lovely.

As there was a show in progress during our visit, I felt the atmosphere was a little lacking as it was so quiet. I would definitely dine here again however if I was seeing a show; the pre-theatre menu is great value too at just £29 for three courses!

Have you considered dining at The Lowry?


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