Every so often, a day comes along that is frankly so brilliant that it makes you smile every time you see it written in your diary. Such a day was Wednesday just gone: during the day, I had the honour of being the inaugural student at the Bobby's Bangers Sausage School (more of which next week - suffice to say that I was obviously SPLENDID at sausage making, and that a wonky banger tastes just as good as a shapely one anyway), and then the evening saw dinner with Mr and Mrs Bobby's Bangers at The Mark Addy Gourmet Night. This surely needs no introduction by now (or maybe just a very short one: last Wednesday of every month, £30, six surprise courses, I always eat too much, the things I eat are often strange animal parts), so I'll go straight into this month's menu:
1. Garden Snails with Garlic Butter. Now, at last month's Gastro Club at Kaleido, I physically couldn't bring myself to eat the snails because they looked too much like slugs - the one (rather random) thing on this planet of which I am truly terrified. Robert Owen Brown had chosen to serve his in a hollowed out bread roll, so I simply shut my eyes and stabbed randomly in the vague direction of my plate - a little like a mollusc lucky dip, if you will. Through this method, I successfully consumed all four - they were (not unpleasantly) chewy, and tasted of garlic butter, although I presume this may not be their natural state.
2. Dublin Bay Prawns and Anglesey Lobster Soup. If you know anything about me at ALL, you'll know that I ate all of this and then ran my finger round the bowl when no-one was looking. This was the only course for which the ingredients were not sourced within ten miles, such is the commitment here to local produce - and we can hardly blame ROB for not wanting to serve up shopping trolley soup from the Irwell.
3. Biosphere Project Leaf Salad. This course divided opinion at table somewhat. Mrs Banger and I both enjoyed it - a very simple, plain green salad (made with some of the produce from the Salford roof garden cultivated as part of the recent Manchester International Festival) with mustard dressing which went down a treat after the richness of the soup. Mr Liz and Mr Banger, on the other hand, both felt it could have benefitted from the addition of a meat item - although to be fair, I think they feel this about most dishes.
4. Braised Kid Goat Heart with Madeira and Flash Fried Goat Liver with Courgettes. Twitter was a little horrified by the thought of this course, but (not for the first time) Twitter was WRONG. This was probably the best course of the night and the kind of dish that The Mark Addy excels at - I'm more than partial to a spot of liver anyway, particularly when served pink in a strong, meaty sauce thickened with small morsels of the chopped heart and some simply steamed courgette.
5. Celebration of Summer Berries. Now, thanks to some enthusiastic wine drinking with Mr Banger, I'm not 100% confident I really listened to all the details of this one - and as you can see from the picture, it was right fancy. To the best of my recollection, here we had a Victorian lemonade jelly (lush), a mini raspberry and rosemary margarita (even lusher) and a berry cheesecake (the one minor disappointment of the night - a bit soapy for me).
6. Regional Farmhouse Cheeses. I did say that I wasn't going to eat cheese again after the excesses of the International Cheese Awards, didn't I; oh well, I shall simply pretend that I didn't eat any of this *unconvincing face*
So there we have it - another month, another excellent dinner, even if Robert Owen Brown DID announce to the entire pub that I'd spent the day boning a pig and handling a sausage or two. You'll have to wait until next week to hear that insalubrious story though...
- The Mark Addy is on Stanley Street in Salford, M3 5EJ.