Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Gorilla - Manchester

I always struggle for places to eat in Manchester. It’s either because there is just SO much choice, or that there isn’t anything that inspires me because I can’t find it at home in Leeds. Perhaps it’s a combination of both.

On this trip to Manchester our food choice was based around location, we were going to a gig at Manchester Apollo. Manchester Apollo isn’t that central, it’s a fair walk from Manchester Piccadilly (which doesn’t really bother me) and there isn’t much else round there (save from a park, some grand old townhouses, and a more dilapidated estate). I had to employ the use of Google maps to find someone there wasn’t too much of a walk to find where we could possibly eat. This basically means drawing a mental circle on Google Maps and clicking on restaurant pins that pop up, researching via their website and deciding what would be best bearing in mind that we would be hopping around to music shortly afterwards.

Burgers tend to be our go to food pre-gig, anything spicy would give me indigestion and you don’t want anything too sickly either. I happened upon Gorilla which seems to be in a student area of Manchester, more specifically a music and arts student area of the city (Manchester is huge compared to Leeds).

Gorilla is a bar come restaurant come gig venue situated under a railway bridge. It seemed like an interesting place with an interesting menu. They appear to have an extensive brunch menu but sadly brunch would be over by the time of our visit, the evening menu is a mixed of burgers, hot dogs, kebabs and steaks, pretty standard bar food but each with a little twist on the classics. 

When we arrived it was still light outside, there were many students passing us by with large art portfolios and guitars, the bar was steady with customers, i.e. not empty and not overflowing. It had the tell-tale signs that this was a place that was bustling in the evening, the furnishings looked a little bashed, the staff seemed a little hungover, the tables were a little sticky.

Readable to those intoxicated? 

We wandered in aimlessly, not sure of whether to seat ourselves or wait to be seated. The staff didn’t crack a smile when we walked in so we assumed we’d just have to seat ourselves. A short while after seating ourselves a waitress came up to our table and handed us some menus, she told us she would take our orders rather than us popping up to the bar.

As we’d looked at the website prior D had already made up his mind on what he was going to have, the Steak Frites (£15) that come with black peppercorn, blue cheese or truffle sauce. Something somewhere had implanted in both our minds that the Steak Frites would be like those found at Ox Club in Leeds, i.e. thin steak sliced and place on top of fries. This wasn’t quite what D received.

The steak could either be ordered pink or no pink, standard with a flat iron steak, however, closer review of the menu states that the steak is rump top steak so instead suggests that they don’t have a capable kitchen.

Steak Frites 

The steak was pink, I’ll give them that, however, the level of pink fluctuated throughout the steak. I know it’s hard to get a steak completely medium, medium rare etc but this steak was blue at one end and bordering on well done at the other!

I was being my typical self and struggling to choose between dishes, in the end I opted for the buttermilk fried chicken (£12) at the last minute. Despite being served on a bread board (how can this be hygienic when you can’t put it in a dishwasher without constantly having to replace them?!) I appeared to have made a good choice.

Buttermilk Chicken Burger 
The burger was really good, the batter was crispy and clung to the chicken, there were no embarrassing moments where my chicken shot across the table as I took a bite in to the bun. With my chicken came mayo and lettuce, forever reminding me of the chicken sandwiches (chicken mayo I think it’s official name is) that you can get from McDonald’s and as I did for a short time as a child when I decided that I no longer like beef, namely because my older brother told me that if I ate beef I would get mad cow disease (which didn’t sound good). Clearly, this was much better than the 20% chicken offerings in good ol’ Maccy D’s (I’ve heard they’ve upped the chicken and reduced the salt content since my childhood…).

We had a couple of beers with our meal, Big Wave,  First introduced to me in Solita way back in 2013. It's a light golden ale with a slightly tropical aroma. 

D fancied something sweet following our mains, and probably something to make up for his disappointing steak, so he ordered a milkshake. There are a whole range of differing milkshakes on offer but D decided to go traditional and ordered a strawberry one. It looked impressive and D certainly lapped it down gratefully. 

Strawberry Milkshake 

There are few places I would visit twice in Manchester, namely because there are so many other places to visit before I start making my second rounds, however, should I ever get to that stage I’m not so sure I’d be inclined to visit Gorilla again. Unless of course they happen to be hosting a gig I’d like to go to.

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