If you aren’t aware of Kala Manchester, the latest restaurant in the Elite Bistro Group, then where have you been.
The collection of restaurants launched by Chef Gary Usher are hardly out of the spotlight, be it with the rave reviews, or viral posts by Gary on social media, be it how much butter to marmite ratio should you use, how to poach an egg correctly or just a rant with a few C words thrown in, interactions with the chef and his lovers and haters are rife.
However what I really wanted to find out, was are the Sunday Lunches at Kala worth a visit.
As someone that decided to contribute to the Kickstarter project that Gary used to help fund the initial kitting out of Kala, I was in possession of a Voucher to spend at any of the Elite Bistro Restaurants, but with so much in the diary I decided to hold onto it until the restaurant had been opened a short while rather than rush in at first opening.
A Sunday Lunch is something that can be done very well or very badly, with many forgetting the amount or preparation and skill involved in creating a great one.
The Sunday Lunch Menu at Kala is priced at £20 for 2 courses or £25 for 3 courses, with a number of options to choose from.
We headed down on what was probably one of the hottest days of the year – opps! A short tram hop into town didn’t really set us up for a Sunday Lunch with the heat, so the minted water bought straight to the table was very welcome.
Even so, I was still going to work my way through 3 Courses, all for the benefit of you. For starter I opted for the Salmon Fishcake. A warm and crispy outer broke away to reveal a gorgeous mixture full of flavour and texture. The Gribiche was a fine accompaniment. A true example of a dish that could be done easily and badly, but this one was made with love and passion with the flavours a real delight.
With 5 main options I was torn – Beef, Pork or Duck.
India went for the Roast Beef with trimmings, so that left me to choose between the Pork and Duck. Although I was so tempted by the Confit Duck Leg, having had duck just two days before at another restaurant, I finally landed on the Pork option.
Stuffed Pork Belly was definitely the star of the plate, served with Crispy Kale, Roast Potatoes, Caramelised Carrots and Apple Sauce.
The Pork was melt in the mouth tender with my only criticism being that it was burn your mouth hot. I personally prefer my food not to be steaming, but this is from living overseas for many years in hotter climates, but I understand that many disagree and if dishes are served at a temperature I would prefer, some other diners may complain, so I can’t blame the restaurant for this.
Potatoes were nice and crispy on the outside and light and fluffy in the centre, exactly how they should be, with a gravy that was so full of flavour you only needed a small amount. India as always disagreed, blaming having her braces for needing as much gravy as possible. This needs to be ordered for an extra £2.50 which many have moaned about, but I can see why it’s charged for. The dishes are not expensive and the extra work involved in making a gravy with such depth of flavour does actually justify the extra cost.
Another hit on my plate was the crackling on the pork belly – Pulled off and eaten with my fingers, the crunch of this juicy skin drew the evil stare of India, the look said it all. Jealousy of not being able to enjoy something like this with braces just made me enjoy it even more!
The Roast Beef dinner looked just as good, with a perfectly cooked roast beef topping off a plate piled high.
I was stuffed, but I had already committed to a desert. I went for the Creme Brulee and India the Profiteroles.
A glass top of sugar broke open to a sweet and creamy delight. Vanilla flavours were abundant and I was glad I pushed myself for the third course, even though I only managed half of it.
India’s look had changed from one that could kill me for enjoying pork crackling, to one of ecstasy as she broke open the extra large profiteroles stuffed full with cream and sitting on a rich chocolate sauce.
The dishes available at Sunday Lunch are not anything spectacularly different or way out there, but what they are, is a collection of everyday classical favorites, cooked with love and given you a real homemade flavour hit for a price that is incredibly good with the full menu available here.
It has to also be said that the service received really was second to none as well.
Kala is located on King Street, Manchester, M2 4LQ – bookings can be made via their website here