Finding Refuge in Food.

Happy weekend foodies all! 

Normally my days off are spent cooking food (and there has been plenty of that too!) But this Saturday there was time to squeeze in a girly lunch as well.

My lunching partners and I all live in different places so we have a little rotation, and this time we were in Manchester – My friend recommended newly opened The Refuge by Volta (in The Principal, formerly The Palace Hotel).

It was a lovely setting, blending the modern and quirky Manchester vibe with the pre-existing grandeur and art deco features.

The Winter Garden is where I met my friends, a light and airy atrium with comfy sofas, rattan chairs and trees (alas artificial, but still a nice touch) it’s the ideal spot for gin drinking or afternoon tea.

We were shown to our table in the restaurant by cheerful staff, and our waiter was throughout pleasant and solicitous but quite genuinely so. 

After a lot of deliberation (there were far too many mouth-watering options) we went for the following from the Voltini (small plates).

Smoked Feta and Beetroot Dip

Crispy Lamb Shawarma with Harissa 

Radicchio and Orange Salad

Seabass with Pine Nuts

Mutabal with Flatbread 

Broccolini with Garlic Crumbs

I can tell you now, it was delicious. The lamb was possibly my favourite light and succulent with just the right heat coming through the harissa. The Mutabal and Beetroot Dip were moreish and vibrant.

Even the Seabass which I typically don’t love was perfectly cooked and had me helping myself to more.

Naturally after a very successful first course the only option was to give the desserts a try (we had shared six plates between three, they recommend three per person so although I felt that was enough to satisfy, I did have a little room to squeeze in something sweet). 

We ordered the Pear Tarte Tartin with Espresso Crème Anglaise and the Orange Blossom and Honey Polenta Cake with Pistachio and Ricotta.

Perfection. The Tarte Tatin was crisp, the pears golden with that slight caramel chew and the Crème Anglaise was complimentary not over-powering. The Polenta Cake was moist and flavoursome, a good blend of textures, the citrusey hints an excellent way to round out the meal.

I will definitely look forward to going back again and recommend the place to anyway who is wanting a place to enjoy with a fellow foodie. 

Last but not least I feel like I need to give a little shout-out to the Espresso Martini we finished with, it was spot on, rich, smooth and not too sweet. 

Where have you eaten recently? Let me know your recommendations as I’m super excited to try somewhere as good :).

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