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Monday, 24 November 2014

Bangers and Bacon's Chef's Table at Guerrilla Eats: Street Food Gets Classy

OK, look - I'll keep this brief, as it's essentially me talking about sausages again and I can already hear some of you sighing at the prospect of more of my porcine wittering. I do think I get special dispensation with this one though, as this is no ordinary sausage post - this is the amazing Bangers and Bacon five course Chef's Table feast at Guerrilla Eats, on for four Saturdays only and therefore pretty much the hottest ticket in town.

It seems remarkable that no-one had thought of taking the concept of the Chef's Table - where diners sit alongside the kitchen so they can watch the chef(s) prepare and serve their food - out of the fancy restaurant and into the street food arena before now. It's an idea that makes perfect sense and was even better in practice when it debuted last Saturday night in a drafty Ancoats warehouse, where six of us sat at a proper table with a proper tablecloth and with proper crockery and proper cutlery and had the following:

- Pig, Pickle and Pate Platter. So, the first of five dishes, billed as "slightly smaller than courses" - and a clear indication that, with each board serving two people, Bangers and Bacon have a fairly generous definition of portion size. They bought a couple of new smokers recently and frankly can't leave their new toys alone, hence this generous platter of smoked meats, pate and - best of all - bacon jam. This was quite simply the best bacon jam I've ever had - it had all the flavour you'd expect from the purveyors of the best bacon in Britain, but with a looser, meatier texture than many I've tried. They should take it as a compliment that I left with the half jar we couldn't eat in my handbag.

- "Spaghetti", Pumpkin and Smoked Bacon Chowder. A more sensible portion size this time - a dinky little glass of beautifully smoky, creamy soup that went down a treat. Personally, I would have left out the little chunks of pumpkin "spaghetti"; otherwise, I would happily have this every day (or at least until every single button had popped off my trousers).

- Trio of Snags Du Jour. As the good folks at Bangers and Bacon are also Team Bobby's Bangers, a sausage course was no surprise. What was surprising was the daintiness and finesse of the whole thing - Richard trained at some of Greater Manchester's best restaurants and his fancy-dan background was clear to see in his exuberantly cheffy piping of three different types of mash. The garlic mash came with an equally garlicky Toulouse sausage; the sun-dried tomato mash with a lovely fennelly Italian; the plain mash with my all-time favourite banger (the Christmas one with the bacon, sprouts and chestnut); and the whole lot was served with a punchy red wine jus. Lovely.

- It Mush Pea Love. A pared down version of my favourite Bangers and Bacon dish: fresh, minty peas (I'll overlook the fact that this token healthy element was clearly at least half butter and cream), mixed with bacon and topped with beetroot crisps, served on a crouton. I'm not too proud to admit I ate the leftover mushy peas out the pan; as I already had a half-eaten jar of bacon jam in my bag by this point, pretensions to decorum seemed pretty futile.

- Treacle Bacon and Chocolate Brownie. I wasn't sure whether I would like this - and it turned out to be the highlight of the night. A gorgeously sticky chocolate brownie containing chewy chunks of sweet bacon and served with a fruit coulis and a marscarpone cream, this would have been worthy of any posh restaurant - and once again, the presentation was beautiful (until I mauled it).

The Chef's Table has three more Saturdays to run and is selling out very quickly, despite the fact that they've now put on two sittings to accommodate demand. Future menus will vary slightly, but the price remains at £15 a head - frankly ridiculous for five exquisite courses, so I suggest you handle their tips jar with generosity. And before accusations of blogger bias start up, yes James, Heather and Richard are my friends, but we paid for our places and I wouldn't have written this had I not genuinely loved it. Add the fact that Guerrilla Eats run a pretty well-stocked bar and that the DJ was playing Stone Roses and New Order, and I'm not sure it could be bettered. Keep an eye on their twitter feed @bangersandbacon for links to ticket sales - and be quick about it if you want to bag a seat at the best bargain of the year.

- Guerrilla Eats currently reside at Blossom Street, Manchester M4 5AF.

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