Neighbourhood

12 Jan

Old habits die hard, no? Particularly in January, when your average diet lasts as long as the use by date on that optimistically appropriated fruit and veg, and New Year’s resolutions wax and wane with the advent of your first full week in work. The food trends of last year have been mulled over and found wanting, and no matter how much you try to convince yourself you’re in the market for something new, your overstretched belly wants comfort. This, my friends, is why I found myself hauling ass to Neighbourhood, the latest American inspired eaterie from the good people behind Southern Eleven.

Neighbourhood, Manchester

Neighbourhood, Manchester

As one of the staunchest food trends of 2012, Americana was going to be a hard habit to shake. Having gorged myself silly on burgers and barbecue in the name of feeding this blog, (cough), you’d think I’d have had enough, but the grim winter weather inspired in me the need for a good hearty feed and familiar cuisine. Now, New York aficionados will know that as food experiences go, big apple eating is much in the same vein as Christmas, so following in the heavy-footed footsteps of the past few weeks, I took myself off in anticipation of a gut-busting lunch.

Much like the city that never sleeps, Neighbourhood’s food offering covers all hours, thankfully meaning that much like its inspiration, it has something to tempt at any time of day.* Breakfast buttermilk pancakes with pancetta, a reuben sandwich for lunch and everything from oysters to chateaubriand on the dinner menu, this is one (pretty extensive) menu to explore. Sadly though, I’ll have to wait for a return trip. Whilst never one to bandy the dreaded ‘D’ word around, like most of the population, the purse strings are pulled tight post-Christmas, so one course and a cocktail was as far as I could stretch.

The desired indulgence came in the form of a lobster roll. Light, fragrant lobster in a pale pink sauce, heady with lime and fresh parsley, it was truly delicious, and perfectly presented on top of a sweet brioche bun. Granted, it wasn’t the heavy load I was looking for, but the high quality and freshness of the ingredients elegantly put together more than made up for it, even distracting me from tackling my friend Aoife’s plate of prosciutto and red onion pizzetta. Enjoyed with one of the most intensely moreish Bloody Mary’s known to man, with a mean pepper kick, it was the loveliest lunch I’ve enjoyed in a long time.

Lobster Roll at Neighbourhood, Manchester

Lobster Roll at Neighbourhood, Manchester

Prosciutto and Red Onion Pizzetta at Neighbourhood, Manchester

Prosciutto and Red Onion Pizzetta at Neighbourhood, Manchester

The stunning surroundings no doubt contributed. Having spent the last twelve months frequenting burger bars and back street dives in the name of scoffing street food, rocking up to an actual restaurant, where waiters wear bow ties and napkins are provided took a while to adjust to. Matte white brick walls framing a grandiose bar, polished mirrored tables and booth seating, not to mention quaint tea tables set out with roses, it took a good half hour to stop me gawping, though once I relaxed into the experience and enjoyed the professional (to the point of being invisible) service, the conversation easily flowed.

Booth Eating at Neighbourhood, Manchester

Booth Eating at Neighbourhood, Manchester

Tea Tables at Neighbourhood, Manchester

Tea Tables at Neighbourhood, Manchester

This place is an altogether classier rendering of the American food trend; the perfect step change in breaking old habits and embracing the new. It’s an ideal place to bring friends still chasing down mac and cheese and the like, though topped with lobster, even I’d consider giving the dish another chance. The menu is reasonably priced for the quality of food plated up, and with a fun cocktail list drawing you in for after work drinks and a dairy heavy dessert menu that cries out for late night visits, Neighbourhood might be just be the thing to ease me into 2013.

* Though sadly not the 2am take away crawl. Crap sticks. Even I would feel no shame waking up to a half eaten Neighbourhood pizza come morning.

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