Gastroclub at The Mark Addy

23 Jun

Gastroclub has given me a lot to be thankful for. My first foray into feasting on vermin for one; the squirrel served in a fetching filo pastry case on that first legendary night at The Mark Addy was a surprise success. An unexpectedly crunchy plate of jelly fish and a gnarly dish of fried chicken feet on our second outing at Sweet Mandarin, not so much.

Sure, there have been some non-starters along the way. A puddle of panna cotta at The Market Street Restaurant was quite the damp squib, and a zealously pan-fried piece of liver when The French was rocking its old livery was NOT the thing, but regardless of imagination or execution, the very least that can be said about Gastroclub is that it’s always an adventure (and fine office conversation fodder the following day).

The utmost compliment I can pay to Gastroclub, is that it has brought me together with the finest group of food lovers Manchester has to offer. Almost three years and many a digestive impasse later, I rocked up to my favourite rough-around-the-edges establishment down by the Irwell alone, happily able to name check at least half the room and call a good few of them friends.

It’s helped that these people pop up at every food and drink event the city has to offer, a good portion of which have appeared since Gastroclub brought the supper club experience home to Manchester. Kerstin Roger’s London Underground Restaurant was only just starting to make waves, and other than Monica Sawhney’s (still going strong) Spice Club, our fair city had little to offer in terms of new and unique gastronomic experiences.

Now knee deep in creative chow, Manchester is ruined for events that feed both belly and brain. From the carnivorous educational feast that is Meat Club Manchester to the grass roots, worldwide inspired street food offering that is Guerrilla Eats, it’s becoming as easy to roll out of the city as it is to roll in. Yet, despite being spoilt for choice, Gastroclub’s short break from the food scene had little impact on its popularity if the welcome back hubbub on Twitter is anything to go by.

Robert Owen Brown addresses the room

Robert Owen Brown addresses the room

Gluttons for food and punishment all, the only predictable part of the evening was the wash of familiar faces found around the packed out restaurant tables, back at The Mark Addy where it all began, kicking off with Robert Owen Brown’s rousing speech on the gustatory joys ahead of us, and a round of applause for the club’s brainchild, Katie Brunt, out of sheer gratitude for bringing back Manchester’s most loyally attended food gathering.

Hollandaise Glazed Truffle Pheasant Egg

Hollandaise Glazed Truffle Pheasant Egg

The hollandaise glazed and truffled pheasants eggs were a mini mouth orgasm – delicate, powerfully earthy and easily snarfed, as was the pastry-encased shank of sea robin (read gurnard – big flapping fins apparently) on an unctuous and meaty chorizo and heritage tomato sauce. Moreish and richly flavoured, again, it all too quickly disappeared.

Sea Robin and Chorizo

Sea Robin and Chorizo

Wild Salmon Carpaccio

Wild Salmon Carpaccio

The fragrant, vibrantly hued slicks of wild salmon, elegantly dressed in a splash of lemon oil and smattering of chive kicked the evening off beautifully, but the four (controversially baby only) beast roast of goat kid, piglet, rose veal and salt marsh lamb halted proceedings considerably, requiring too long a wait on account of the (restaurant admitted) underestimated cooking time.

Four Baby Beast Roast

Four Baby Beast Roast

Hard to tell between the various cuts, and served to the table on platters alongside crisp, mustard dressed salads and simply presented root veg, the scrabble to get a decent cut was often uncomfortable, though delicious and filling nonetheless. The onset of the meat sweats was also a bit of a downer, having me bow out after two shamefully sparse dishes, but thankfully recovered in time for dessert.

Childhood Desserts

Childhood Desserts

A smorgasbord of childhood memories and northern favourites to boot, the Vimto jelly was a great success, as was the delectable cream soda mousse. Never a fan of a coke float, this sad looking shot glass went to waste, but seeing Dr Pepper put to good use in a cheesecake, complete with ginger biscuit base and popping candy covering, naturally, I laid it to waste. Small bites, strong memories and great fun. All in all a pretty successful dinner, and a stonking return for Gastroclub.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: