Tag Archives: Aumbry

New Friends and Old

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song as much as hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world” J.R.R. Tolkein

What a lovely weekend.  Aided by the fact that I had Friday off so it was longer than normal but largely due to all the lovely people who me and @TheHungryMrs bumped into on our travels – most of them food related, which was, as always, a bit of a bonus.

Foodies Festival – Tatton Park
The weather was appalling on Friday but with the day booked off work and tickets bought in advance we were not to be deterred.  Turning up at Tatton it was a little annoying to be charged extra to park but I suspect this was more the Park coining in rather than anything else but added to that was the fact that the over eager money collectors stopped everyone just inside the gate causing a queue out on to the road – perhaps collecting the parking charge at the car park well inside the gates might lead to less congestion? 

Anyhow – since the weather was not going to put us off we were definitely not going to be stopped by this.

Now in all honesty we didn’t try a huge amount of food on offer – largely because there weren’t really samples to be had (in our experience).  That isn’t to say that all we were looking for were freebies, more that I’d have preferred to have been able to sample little bits of what was there instead of having to take full portions.  So instead we took in a couple of Masterclasses.  One from Laurence Tottingham of Aumbry and then a Bordeaux Wine session from Charles Metcalfe

Mackerel from Laurence Tottingham

Having eaten at Aumbry recently I was chuffed to hear from Laurence.  His obvious love of what he does came across superbly and the dish of smoked mackerel fillet with poached rhubarb, rye toast and mustard cream was a picture in itself.  “It’s as easy as that” he declared after creating the plate, and, while not easy I’m sure it is now less daunting to perhaps try something similar at home.

Knowledge from Charles

As for Charles and his wine, again the knowledge on show was very impressive and while not all the wines were to my liking (there was a red loaded with tannins and a very sweet white) the overall presentation was great

A food stall we did stop at was Churros Susannas.  I was heading for pancakes (I always struggle to resist) when I saw the stall.  I’m honest enough to say that I’d never tried these bread based, doughnutty offerings and when someone asks “May I take your Churros virginity?” even in a Brummie accent, I thought it’d be rude to say no.  Sprinkled in sugar and dipped in chocolate they were a lovely little afternoon treat. And a darn site easier to accommodate whilst battling with an umbrella.

Saturday – Heatons &
Peering around the curtain we were greeted with a bright light in the sky.  Rumoured to have buggered off for the year, the sun had decided to grace us with its presence.  So off we went for our first trip to Heaton Moor Market.  A much more intimate affair than Tatton – and for me, all the better for it.  Everyone seemed to know each other and were making recommendations for other stall holders and as a result within an hour we were laden with a selection of goodies from old favourites Levanter Fine Foods, an untried chutney from FatJax, bread and delicious scotch eggs from The Handmade Feast plus cakes and puddings from Pixie Bakery and Glamourpuds respectively. My no carb weekdays quickly disappearing into the mists of ancient history.

Then Northwards, to Huntleys Foods to gather ingredients for Sunday dinner and also to meet Jane at Barrica Wines.  Well even though I’m not the biggest tennis fan in the world if certain players exploits sent Jane temporarily insane enough to sell a gorgeous prosecco for just £7 a bottle I wasn’t about to miss out.  She also made a great recommendation for the wine for Sunday. Cheers Jane.

Long slow mutton
Sunday was a comparatively lazy day.  A quick dash to Booths to pick up a late night Saturday recommended Womersley Blackcurrant & Rosemary vinegar.  Then back to prepare a shoulder of mutton from Cockerham Salt Marsh Lamb  to eat that evening.  If you want to know more, see here.

So all in all a fantastic weekend chatting to people who know and love their produce and their craft. Topped off by trying a meat I’ve not had before.  However, having bought a piece of meat which was clearly too big for the two of us (ooops, silly me) I am already looking forward to a mutton curry.

Thanks to you all and please keep it up




Aumbry – Prestwich

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.