Last week it was my birthday and as such a celebratory night out was required. My friend Sarah and I decided to go for dinner somewhere I’ve wanted to try for a while – Pier Eight, the rather nice restaurant at The Lowry Theatre in Salford Quays.
We arrived just as the evening performance of the popular show The Addams Family was about to start. Pier Eight had a smattering of people having a meal before the show, but also several busy tables of people like us who had just come for dinner. We were seated by the window which gave us a lovely view of the Millennium Bridge over the Ship Canal. Sarah remarked that having the view over the water felt a bit like we were on holiday. I’m not sure I’d go that far, but it was lovely.
We ordered drinks and a good look at the menu. Pier Eight is a beautiful restaurant; with gorgeous light fittings, comfy but stylish chairs and booths, an open kitchen and all the panoramic views of Salford Quays you could ever want. It was so pretty Sarah and I were snapping away at little details and gathering up some interiors inspiration.
To start Sarah ordered the seared scallop with apple tart, black pudding beignet with red wine sauce (£8) and I opted for the summery sounding tomatoes, Lancashire curd, aubergine purée, Kalamata olives and pickled shallots (£6).
Sarah’s scallop was excellent, she said the dish was well balanced and perfectly cooked. I wasn’t sure what to expect with my tomato dish, but it was a treat. Chunky slices of ripe tomato sandwiched in between thin, crispy sheets of filo pastry with little dollops of Lancashire curd cheese. The olives and aubergine both giving a depth of flavour to each mouthful. Put a little bit of everything on your fork and it was very well put together. I was sad to finish it.
For our main courses I ordered the spinach pancake, Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire cheese, baby beets, onion purée and tomato sauce (£16). Two filled pancakes covered in a rich tomato sauce. It’s quite an old-fashioned dish, but I really liked that. The spinach and cheese filling was well seasoned and tasty and the tomato sauce was about the best I’ve had. The baby beets were a little lost on the plate and seemed more of a garnish than anything else.
Sarah’s lamb rump, hotpot potatoes, carrot purée, broad beans, asparagus, lamb sauce (£21) was a hit. She was thrilled with her perfectly pink lamb (they’ll cook it how you like it if pink is not to your taste). Being a good Northern lass she sung the praises of the hotpot potatoes (always everyone’s favourite part of a hotpot) and the carrot purée was wonderfully vibrant and sweet. She was impressed with the portion size, no mean portions here!
Despite being fit to burst, this was a birthday celebration so we managed to find room for pudding. It was at this point in the evening where we clashed a little. We couldn’t possibly choose the same pudding and we both have similar tastes. We both agreed that the pudding menu was particularly strong and we both regretted we couldn’t just order everything and work through it tapas style.
Nevertheless a compromise was reached, it was my birthday so I got first dibs. I chose the Turkish delight baked Alaska with rich tea biscuit purée (£7). I know Turkish delight is one of those love/hate things, but if you’re a lover then this is the pud for you.
It arrived with a birthday candle on top (thanks Pier Eight, a lovely touch). My baked Alaska stood proud at around 4 inches tall; gorgeous crispy meringue around ice cream peppered with Turkish delight chunks. The plate was adorned with rich tea biscuit crumbs and a rather intriguing rich tea biscuit purée. It was a pudding that I’ll remember for a long time and the prefect way to end a meal.
Sarah ended up with the pudding I would have otherwise chosen – Rhubarb creme brulee, brandy snap, mascarpone cream and rhubarb crisp (£6). Sat on the table next to my Turkish delight extravaganza it did look a little bit modest, but what it lacked in showstopping pizzazz, it made up for in deliciousness.
The dainty little teacup of rhubarb creme brulee was beautifully creamy with a perfectly crunchy top. A pretty and elegant way to end a meal.
Pier Eight has a menu which celebrates the best local and seasonal ingredients from across Lancashire and Cheshire; all beautifully cooked and served in elegant but relaxed surroundings. I have to mention the service which was attentive without being in your face, it was relaxed and friendly and not at all pushy.
Our meal at Pier Eight was excellent. It’s a little bit of a hidden gem despite it’s busy location. I’ve only ever had drinks at the bar before, but we will be back. It’s somewhere we will both return to again and soon.
Find out more about Pier Eight at The Lowry on their website.
Pier Eight, The Lowry, Salford Quays, M50 3AZ Tel: 0161 876 2121
We were invited guests of The Lowry.