Even I’d struggle to pad out a full-bloodied review after on-boading just a couple of snacks and a glass of wine, but it’d be daft not to mention a fly-by visit to Climat in Manchester a couple of weeks ago.
It was a reactionary thing given that a) we were heading over the hills anyway, b) yer man Jazzy Jay Rayner’s glowing Observer review had that very morning gone live, and c) I was peckish.
Given that review I half expected there to be no room at the inn but, bar a solo diner getting amongst the good stuff, we were the only ones who had so far made the ascent that day to the top deck of the building in which Climat sits, and as such were able to plonk ourselves at the end of the room-length bar. Any later and it’d likely be a different story.
A small squadron of chefs were prepping for the afternoon’s incoming masses, one rolling sheets of butter laden pastry for the crowd-pleasing vol-au-vents that would be churlish not to order, and another making light work of a Toffee Crisp. I can’t comment on the Toffee Crisp, although if memory serves it’s a decent enough number from the Nestle stable, but I can comment on the vol-au-vent whose bronzed pastry was both sturdy and flaky and its interior liberally packed, on this occasion, with a luxurious prawn cocktail filling. A chintzy champion.
A brace of oysters were lactic and briny, and whatever wine we knocked them back with was a crisp and refined introduction to a Sunday afternoon. They’re big on the booze here. Big on the views too, and next time I hope to bag one of the tables looking out onto the rooftops of Manchester while I make further inroads into a menu that makes all the right noises.
If I’m going to rattle off a couple of paragraphs about a 30 minute stop-off at Climat I might as well chuck in the afternoon visit to Bundobust Brewery, too. I’ve done the rounds at the Leeds and Manchester sites before – who hasn’t? – but this was the first stop-off at their newest spot, down there on Oxford Street.
Should the occasion arise, Bundobust’s Vada Pav might just find itself headlining my death row meal. It’s deceptively spiky, heat-wise, and a moreish bastard of a thing. Pints of pilsner, brewed on site, are on hand to assist.