Conjuring up images of gravy-sodden good stuff, anywhere with a name like Beef and Pudding* sounds like just the place in which to get knee-deep in Sunday Offerings.
The menu makes all the right noises for this type of occasion; from gussied-up traditional pub fodder (plenty of meat; fish and chips; things in pastry), to the occasional cameo from further afield (Lancashire carbonara, a take on risotto, noodles,).
It wasn’t a great start. Nobody expects pyrotechnics for accomplishing the herculean task of entering a restaurant, and we’re not looking for declarations of bezzy-mates-4-evz-ness, but it initially felt a bit officious and brusque. The lad Jack remedied that, though, and was charm school personified once we got sat down; even when, on his fifth fly-by, we asked for ‘2 more minutes’ – again – thus becoming ‘those’ people.
At £8.95, a prawn, crayfish and crab cocktail starter wasn’t cheap, and, although generously studded with nuggets of plump seafood, the dense citrus mayo could have done with a bit more zing. Which is to say; don’t fear the ketchup.
Better, and from the keenly priced set menu, were the cheese bon bons, (Lancashire, o’course,) which were tasty little lactic morsels they should flog by the pint glass.
For just shy of 17 quid you can really give your arteries something to think about with ‘Pudding Love’; three fist-sized boulders of robust suet pastry stuffed with, on this visit, slow cooked beef and gravy (top drawer), beef and black pudding (a tad dense and claggy) and smoked haddock and bearnaise (clashed with the bovine hit from the other two, but would be excellent on its tod).
They came with some sound mash, gutsy mushy peas and a punchy horseradish for added oomph; essential if you’re serious about tackling that suet. But – and call me a stick in the mud/miserable bastard here – I’d prefer to see condiments served in a dish on the side rather than the pipette that this arrived in, which reminded us of a trip to the vet.
Roast shoulder of lamb, aromatic and tender, backed up why the main event has found its way onto local ‘best of’ guides. The usual extras did the job, and they’re not tight with the dark, unctuous gravy.
You will, however, be charged 75p per Yorkshire Pudding unless you get the roast beef, which might not be much for these Mancunians, but over on this side of the Pennines that’s a full night in t’club, raffle ticket and dripping supper included. Do the right thing, B&P people.
The place itself seems a bit at odds with the homely, hearty and wholesome ‘just like mam used to make’ scran on offer. It’s a bit too polished and bright, and could probably do with softening up a bit. Get a pub cat, p’raps, or install a fruity.
Interior design niggles aside, we got what we went for, which at the set menu price of £14.95 for two courses was some good value Sunday Shizz.
*actually a reference to a caricature of the Peterloo Massacre.