The Beagle

16 Dec

Well, as predicted, I’ve already burnt out. Having been in the seasonal swing of things since late November, I’ve had myself a Santa-sized belly full of Christmas already. I lost heart for the Christmas Markets a week back, and couldn’t give a sprout’s fart if I never see a kitsch Christmas cocktail again. Grinchy bitch I may be, but I’m hankering for the easy days of autumn; plainly adorned winter wear, hearty dishes that heal the soul and not a cranberry in sight. Put quite simply, I can’t be arsed.

More miserable still, the yuletide blues have extended to my kitchen, and were it not for the month’s supply of cheese and port I have on the go, I’d truly be in the doldrums. Thankfully, I live in a city full of fine food establishments, and as it goes, Manchester does quite the turn in homely, traditional British food. Spoilt for choice with the new Albert Square Chop House and personal favourite, The Mark Addy, I decided to shake things up a bit and head out to the fine suburb of Chorlton. Top of my wish list; The Beagle.

The Beagle, Chorlton

The Beagle, Chorlton

Now, Chorlton is currently in the grip of a roast obsession, and an ever growing crop of traditional pubs with a ‘modern edge’. And whilst The Beagle is most obliging in the way of Sunday dinner, and very much fits the Chorlton mould, it offers much, much more. All to be expected though, given that the menu has been developed by Laurence Tottingham of Aumbry fame, and the considerable real ale offering comes courtesy of the craft(y) minds behind Port Street Beer House and Common. For me and my friend Aoife, expectations were high, Christmas Eve style.

Christmas came early, folks. The food was divine, in no small part down to the meaty and delicious beef dripping for dunking bread. Whether hot and runny or spreadable and cold, beef dripping should adorn every table in the North. Who gives a shit about calories? Let’s celebrate our food heritage and become fat bastards together. We’d have happily gorged on bread all night, but not with traditional delights like kedgeree whispering my name. Delicately spiced, soft with pearl barley and flecked through with fragrant flakes of haddock, as a starter, it was a delight.

Bread and Beef Dripping

Bread and Beef Dripping

Kedgeree

Kedgeree

Small portions always have me running scared, however, so decided to take advantage of the mid-week menu on offer; a snap at £15 for a main, side and a half of beer. I plumped for the Beagle Best; a smooth, golden and bitter beer chock full of hops to perfectly compliment the clean lines of the Goosnargh Chicken, whilst cutting through the richness of the accompanying faggots and light and airy corn cakes. Aoife has obviously behaved better than me this year though. She struck gold with the pork belly; an unctuous, pillowy parcel of meat topped with crackling and sat on a bed of baked beans. It was THE thing.

Goosnargh Chicken, Faggots and a Corn Fritter

Goosnargh Chicken, Faggots and a Corn Fritter

Pork Belly, Beans and Coleslaw

Pork Belly, Beans and Coleslaw

In the name of belly busting, only truly acceptable in the comfort (and secrecy) of your own home, we gave of our best for the dessert. Chocolate Beer Cake (with a side of vanilla stout) was wrapped up to enjoy another day, whilst I left desolate, unable to finish the pud I have dreamt of my entire life; lemon encased suet pudding, steamed and topped with clotted cream. Hello Sussex Pond Pudding! Pathetic finish aside, it was excellent practise for Christmas Day.

Sussex Pond Pudding

Sussex Pond Pudding

For all the lovely beer and food, both a paired down nod to the offerings and ethos of the collaborator’s original establishments, there were minor disappointments. Rich in local, artisan fare and thoroughly British in inspiration, my dreams of a homely, Christmas-free experience were marred somewhat when they also chose to serve the Great British weather. Moved twice on account of a severely cold draught, we never quite managed to warm up, making for a largely uncomfortable evening.

Equally chilly was the attitude of the manager. Though our waiter was friendly, accommodating and seriously knowledgeable about the beer, he couldn’t quite make up for his Scrooge-like manager, who seemed pissed off to serve us and left the two guys on the floor to deal with twenty plus covers alone. Not to matter though. Fortified against the oncoming festive onslaught, puffed up belly and slightly squiffy on account of the brew, I headed out into the night, with a renewed sense of good will to all men.

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One Response to “The Beagle”

  1. Aunty Em December 31, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    I like the sound of this minus the draft x

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