Spinningfields has been the scene of much drama over the last few months. Along with a slew of new openings, there have been a couple of significant closures – Artisan and Manchester House. Then the latter was snapped up by Aiden Byrne and reopened as Restaurant MCR.
One of the openings I missed (thanks to a typically seasonable cold bug) was Banyan Spinningfields. Kindly, they invited me in afterwards, so I could dine, have a look at the new site, and get a good look at the menu.
Unsurprisingly, lots is the same – Power Bowls, brunch menu, and breakfasts, and into the starters. Whilst we were tempted by the breadcrumbed brie wedges (hmmm cheese), and the duck spring rolls, we went a little lighter, with the chicken satay skewers and the panko crumbed king prawns.
The chicken was tender, a little sweet, nutty and slid off the skewers without that elbow flying tug that happens all too often – and always in confined space at risk of hurting you or someone else.
The prawns were crisp on the outside and creamily sweet on the inside, the chilli sauce being everything you’d expect, a little sweet, a little sharp, a little hint of heat.
Though we enjoyed the starters, it was the mains we were excited about. Whereas the Corn Exchange site has a more generic menu, Spinningfields has gone all local. Grandads Sausages are on the menu, along with a personal favourite of mine, the Great North Pie Co. With the Steak & Ale on the menu, and a chicken pie on the specials list, both myself and my date ignored what we ‘should’ eat (to provide you with a broad idea of the food on offer) and ordered pie.
And I’d be sorry, but I’m not really. The chicken and ham pie was everything I’d want it to be, packed full of flavour (and meat), deeply satisfactory. I had mine served with green vegetables, creamy mashed potato and gravy, making me a very happy lady.
My date went with the steak & ale pie, but with chips instead. Lots of rich beef, proper ale laden gravy, crisp pastry. And a little jug of gravy for chip dunking.
Somehow we found room for dessert.
If pudding is less your style, then there are some suitably sweet cocktails on the dessert menu – the Pistachio Espresso Martini is a lovely little twist, or you could go for the Disaronno Sour – think Bakewell tart in a glass.
When it comes to the actual puddings, I went for cheesecake. A dinky but dense cheesecake that did leave me somewhat defeated, featuring a sweet and sharp berry compote.
My date went for the Chocolate and Raspberry Brownie, the crisp dusting of dried berries contrasting with the heavy rich chocolate, and soft vanilla ice cream.
Overall, the new (slightly hidden away behind the Opera House) site is the same but different. The same name, the same level of service, the same standard of menu, with one or two local additions. If I’m honest, I’d love a few more little local touches on there, and maybe in the Corn Exchange site too. It makes it a little more our own.
As an aside, it’s certainly worth noting that the Corn Exchange site is offering a little money off throughout January 2019 too. Book, and quote ‘JAN50’ to receive your discount – or if it’s going to be a big night, they’re also offering to double your bar tab – pay £100 towards your bar tab and they’ll double it.
Not so shabby.