I love mate dates.
I mean, I love dates with my husband, posh dinners, something casual, or hell just a good home cooked meal together binge watching our latest must watch. But mate dates are important too. Especially those you don’t see as often as you’d like, because of diaries, families, commitments, and just the uninteresting bits of day to day. Making the effort for each other. Booking a date in the diary, to spend time together putting the world to rights, or just being an ear over a glass of wine, or in this case a brew and a damn good feed.
Because that’s what The Creameries offers. A good feed. Comfortable atmosphere, a little quirkiness (this is Chorlton after all), and good food. Something me and my date for this visit can absolutely get behind. We are, after all, both powerlifters and have appetites (to be truthful we would whether or not we lift, but you know, bonus), and so we decided to make much of this. We ordered a lot, shared most of it (except dessert) which meant we could try more of the menu that we otherwise would have. We also took advantage of the offer that The Creameries runs on a weekly basis. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights you can have a limited menu supper selection between 6pm and 9pm for just £20. So that’s a nibble, starter and main with a pint (or a glass of house wine, or soft drink). Yes, please, thank you.
This being Mary-Ellen MacTague, there’s a wholesome feel to both the venue and the menu. Sustainability, local sourcing, homely. They have kids clubs, and yoga sessions (with my favourite yoga teacher). You feel comfortable when you walk in and see a big kitchen style table at the front and long bench seating at the back, though even my (*cough* substantial *cough*) bottom may not be a fan of the chairs at the smaller tables.
We began at the beginning. I had a craving for sourdough, so we had that with the cultured butter. Proper bread, tasty, a little chewy, full of flavour with soft salty butter. Then fish crackling – super crispy fish skin. Salty, crunchy, and a little bit addictive. Finally almonds in goat bacon fat with pink peppercorn salt. Salty, fatty, bacony, meaty, then that floral hit of pink peppercorns. All washed down with a pint of Neck Oil for me, and ginger beer for my date.
Next came the split pea chips with mushroom ketchup. I don’t know what exactly what I was expecting, but these deep fried creamy, starchy, cheesy chunks with a pile of umami to dunk them in was not it. But that is no bad thing, and these are now possibly one of my favourite things ever. (And if anyone has a recipe, I need it please, because all I can find are crunchy split peas as a snack from US based sites, who don’t know what a chip actually is).
Then as our final ‘starter’ if you will, the mushrooms on toast. Seared grey oyster mushrooms, St James Cheese, perilla, and parsley oil. Admittedly, this is posh mushrooms on toast, with rich oozy sheep’s cheese, fat juicy mushrooms and proper sourdough toast.
Time for the mains.
As part of my supper, I had selected the mussels. Rope grown mussels from Scotland, with burnt butter, parsley and cider, served with soft foccacia. The bread was just how you’d hope crisp and salty on the outside, fluffy and chewy on the inside, ideal for dunking in the broth in the bottom of the bowl. The mussels were tender and juicy, with just enough bite to mean it takes a little effort to get them out of the shell. Which of course is well worth it.
My date opted for the shoulder of venison, slow cooked until it’s tender and gently sticky, served with dumplings, cavalo nero, roasted carrots and of course, lip smackingly rich roasting juices.
It was here we paused for tea before dessert – and these too are sourced local to Chorlton from Boheas Teas (coffee from the lovelies at Ancoats Coffee).
For dessert, I opted for the poached plums. Whilst as a child I was subjected to several glut harvests (we had three Victoria plum trees in our garden, and what wasn’t frozen, or turned into jam, was gifted or bartered away) as an adult I’ve finally fallen back in love with them, and these ontop of a bay cream, with crisp little tuilles provided by the skins, was the ideal finish to an evening of great food and great company.
It also looks rather pretty too.
My date opted for the apple pie. Which I can describe but sadly not depict as, um, he ate it all before I could take a snapshot. Safe to say, he was more than satisfied with it, and as a consequence I didn’t share my pudding either.
Overall? Consider me a fan. So much so, I’ve booked myself and the husband in for a dinner date this week too.
All food and drink consumed during this visit was paid for by ourselves.