Food Tourist:- The Mash Tun (Manchester)

It’s been a while since I first checked out the marvellous Grafene Restaurant in Manchester, but due to inconsistent bookings and uncertainty, the owners decided to close up and concentrate on Loosehill House in the Peak District

In its place is a completely different concept – a gastro style pub that offers live music on certain evenings and a late night bar, it also includes a large number of beers on tap.

None of the above, all of which make it feel more like a bar in my neighbouring area of Chorlton, are the reason I wanted to try it out.

Like most establishments, it was the menu that caught my eye, with an offering of 1000 different combinations of Sausage, Mash and Gravy. I may not be northern born, but this is a dish that always pleases.

We head down to Mash Tun Manchester, located just off King Street. The street was packed due to the King Street Festival taking place over the weekend, live music, people sitting out in the warm (Sun was hiding as usual) and enjoying Saturday afternoon beers.

With so many people wandering around, I was worried that we may not even get a seat. As we pass Kala (for which I still need to try out as well as use my crowdfunding voucher), I see that’s pretty busy ‘please be a seat at Mash Tun’ I say to myself.

As it turns out, there was no need to worry. There’s 3 tables at the front of the restaurant, with one of them being unoccupied, whilst inside I spot one table being occupied.

We sit down outside and I wander in to see how it works. It turns out its bar service for both food and drink, so I grab a couple of menus and head back outside to choose our combo’s

1000 options sounds a lot, but in reality it means a choice of 10 Sausage options, served with one of 10 Mash options, then finally topped with one of 10 Gravy options.

In theory, this is a fantastic idea. Sausage, Mash and Gravy can never go wrong and at £12.50, its priced about right too.

Ex Grafene Interior still looking upmarket

I go back inside to order. This takes 15 mins, despite there not being a single other person at the bar waiting to be served. During my wait I use the time to ask a few questions. What gins do you serve I ask, to which I’m told Greenalls at the moment. My face must have given away my confused state – 1 Gin in a bar with so much hype around the spirit and World Gin Day taking place in the city next week?

I’m told he can find some premium gins for me if I wish, but I decide to opt for a wine. Only 1 available by the glass, their ‘House’ – I take a look, its a Chateauneuf du Pape at £5.25 a glass, I’m getting confused.

It turns out that when they took over the building from Grafene, they also took control of all their stock and are trying to run it down so they can start to stock their own choices, but for now their offering is limited and all over the place, unless of course you want beers, as for this there is an abundance of options.

Smoked Beef Brisket Sausage is a little dry and very salty

I decide to go for a Smoked Beef Brisket Sausage, with Roasted Garlic and Salsa Verde Mash, topped with a Short Rib and Stout Gravy.

The Sausage – Dry and Very Salty, The Mash – Good Garlic Flavour, not so much Salsa Verde, The Gravy – Thick and beautiful consistency – but very bland.

The Black Pepper and Madeira Gravy stands out on this dish

India choose a Pork Chipolata, 3 Cheese Mash topped with Black Pepper and Madeira Gravy.

The Sausage – No Flavour for me, however India enjoyed it as she wanted something simple, The Mash – Cheesy consistency in that it was stringy but separated, also hardly any flavour, it needs less gooey cheese and more strong cheese flavour, The Gravy – this was the best of both our dishes, great sweetness and gorgeous black pepper coming through, could maybe have done with being a little thicker as was more like a Jus.

I did really like the deep fried potato skins on the top, as well as being tasty, they are a great use of the skins of the potatoes from the mash.

I really wanted to love Mash Tun Manchester, the idea of choosing which Sausage, Mash and Gravy to have excited me, unfortunately the service was lacking and the options we choose need a few tweaks.

Maybe with time these tweak can be applied and this will be a real success, but only time will tell.

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