According to one definition I found an aumbry is “a wall safe or cupboard that holds blessed bread and wine”
Now, without wanting to cause any offence to the religiously minded and hopefully avoiding eternal damnation for blasphemy – this is kind of a perfect description for this little gem.
Tucked away just off the main drag in Prestwich this converted pair of terraced cottages holds within its walls some fantastic food and wine which, while it may just fall short of being blessed, is certainly heavenly.
No church like reverence or hushed tones as you open the door to a warm and friendly welcome from staff that seem genuinely pleased to be working there but also equally as excited about sharing the food with new visitors.
The intimate dining room allowed for attention to each table from any of the three-woman team that is very often not possible in larger restaurants. However I suspect that in such cosy surroundings if there were a larger group of 8 or so diners on one table they may somewhat dominate the atmosphere in the room.
Having been seated we awaited our first taste from this newly emerging Manchester favourite.
At this point I should mention that there were no photos taken for this post. I left my camera at home and my phone in my pocket. In such an intimate environment it simply didn’t feel right to be snapping away. Well that and the fact that The Hungry Mrs gave me “the look” at the mere mention.
Anyway, I digress. Following a serving of cheese pastry puffs and homemade crisps came the bread.
I remember my mum telling me stories of dripping butties and how nice they were. Now, I put this down to post-war rationing , I mean surely butter just ticks all the boxes here? However, when our waitress removed the lid from the warm pot and declared “….and this is beef dripping” I was immediately keen to try it. It was like having the best roast beef sandwich without the need to chew!! Just goes to show – mother knows best!
But “man cannot live on bread alone”
The amuse bouche of wild garlic and potato soup with English truffle oil did exactly what it should in leaving me wanting more. Next came the beautifully presented starter of wild rabbit terrine with rabbit consomme. liver parfait and sloe jelly. The taste and texture surpassing even the appearance.
With a pause before the main course we were able to enjoy the wine. A Xarel.Lo DO Albet i Noya which was delicious, light and fruity, “I can taste apricots” exclaimed The Hungry Mrs but without being too poncey this was actually one of those wines where you could identify individual flavours.
The main course………
Milk-fed Cumbrian lamb. Now I will be honest. When I read milk-fed my immediate reaction was that there would be a lack of flavour. However I was happy to be proved wrong. Although not the strong taste of lamb that I am used to, both cuts were sweet and melt in the mouth tender. They were also, in keeping with every other dish, wonderfully presented with spring vegetables, white onion puree and pink fir apple potatoes.
On to dessert. What to try? We had both overheard our neighbouring table discussing with relish the grapefruit posset but when our waitress informed us that she had incorporated the treacle tart into her wedding cake we were sold. I mean that had to be some tart and with accompaniments of Earl Grey cream and lemon jelly the sweetness of the tart was perfectly balanced.
Aumbry is now reasonably well established and I regret not having visited earlier. However while chatting to the team we have almost certainly been convinced to return to try the 9 course taster menu.
As stunning as the food was/is, it is the warmth and enthusiasm of the of the staff at Aumbry that will remain with me. Afterall even the most blessed of food could not have me coming back if I did not feel welcome.
Thanks to all at Aumbry for a lovely meal.