Picture the scene, I had arrived in Manchester late one Thursday evening. My friend was on her way down from Edinburgh and would not arrive until almost 9pm. For some reason the British public insist on eating at 4pm every night so the chefs go home early in this country. This was one of my chief frustrations when I moved here, as it happens. I knew time was of the essence. The first choice for dinner was not serving food due to staff shortages (thanks anti-vaxxers). The second, Seven 54, had a whole half hour of kitchen opening left, to my great relief.
My friend Aife, being what one might term a ‘skinny legend’ opted for the grilled prawns, cooked in smoked garlic butter, served with toasted sourdough. Prawns are supposedly excellent. They are semisweet, mildly salty and savoury, and not too calorific. The smokey texture of the garlic butter as well as the richness of the butter added to the prawns’ flavour and left Aife one happy diner.
I went for something a bit more substantial, the chicken schnitzel, with the divine caper herb salsa, garlic aioli, french fries and charred lemon. We were trying to figure out what consisted of the caper herb salsa. I asked the waiter to fix me a jar of it so I could take it home to Matthew but the kitchen was closed at this stage. British dining culture strikes again. The German word for this dish means ‘cutlet’. Often one would find this dish with veal as the central meat but this would not accord with my environmental sensibilities. Thankfully Seven 54 served it with chicken. The chicken was breaded with flour, eggs and breadcrumbs before being fried in lard or oil.
The real star of this dish for me was the capers and the fabulous aioli. The combination of the crunchy schnitzel, skin on fries and salsa was almost too delicious to bear.
Finally I ordered the spiced sweet potato and chickpea pakoras. This was served with something called ‘twisted mayo’ which I dare not espouse a view on. These were quite delicious and unusual. Typically these are filled with vegetables or onions but this one was made with sweet potato which was great for me. The sugary potato mixed with the savoury chickpeas and excellent batter (notice the larger crumbs also) made for a delicious dish.
Overall an excellent meal, which did not break the bank. I would recommend this to you if you are in Didsbury late one evening and cannot find a place which is still serving food. The welcome was great, the waiters were attentive and the environs were beautifully decorated. What more do you want?