Another day of unpredictable weather in Britain’s finest city. Sunshine, rain, sunshine, rain-I began to sense a pattern. Hoping for more consistency on the beer front, we had decided to meet at the newly opened Angel. This was once a famous Manc pub landmark called The Beerhouse. In those glory days it served up to 12 real ales and was nirvana for fledging scoopers. A series of changes meant it fell on hard times and the last incumbents were notorious for crap beer and a very unpleasant pong. It ended up boarded up and seemingly doomed. However, it has been resurrected as a dining establishment under the supervision of a famous local chef.
Renovation is still under way, both in and outside. Indeed, the old signage is still visible over the door. Being on Angel Street, it makes sense to call it “The Angel” and this was, apparently, its original name. Although, that must have been quite some time ago, as I couldn’t find anyone who knew it in that incarnation. The interior is nice and bright and, guess what, no smell. On the bar were two beers. One from Phoenix and one from Dunham Massey. Both were tried and were excellent. Not bad value at £2.50 either.
So far, so good. A look at the Specials Board and we were ready to order. Unfortunately, this is where the wheels came off the wagon. Due to family circumstances there wasn’t any food available. Never mind, we’ll just dine in the Marble Arch. That’s always good, isn’t it? It certainly has had glowing reviews of the new chef. But is it a case of the Emperor’s New Clothes?
First impressions were good. There was a great selection on the bar. So good, in fact, that any idea to move on was washed away with the pouring rain. Phoenix Midsummer Madness, Marble 08’ and Janine’s One were all excellent, with Whim Cascade, perhaps, just shading it as the best. A glance at the menu board revealed a large selection of possible choices. However, on closer inspection these were only available after 5. A much slimmed down lunch menu was now in operation. And a strange selection it was too. Fish & chips only available in the evening? Ok, what about a sandwich? Well the cheese option has disappeared completely: not a sniff of a Ploughman’s, or a simple cheese & tomato.
Usually any decent place would offer a cheese & onion pie option, but the Marble offers a dodgy sounding vegetable pie instead. My scepticism seems well founded as I’ve heard various reports since that this is their worst dish. So, no lunch for me, but how did others fare? Well, the cheese on toast was nice and bubbly, but the steak & ale pie was pretty poor. The top slid off to reveal mostly gravy, leaving the only option of putting the three accompanying potatoes in the mix to try and solidify it. Not a patch on the level of catering I’ve recently experienced in Bury. I did cling on to try the fish & chips, which were served with some excellent monster chips, but I shall be taking my dining custom elsewhere in future.
Back in Bury we staggered into the Trackside and tried Everards Hazy Daze (4.3%) a cloudy wheat beer. This was very much like a Belgium white, with an orangery aroma and a spicy Hoegaarden palate. The only way to follow this up was, of course, with some cider-yes, Saturday night is now officially cider night...