Home to celebrated craft-beer outlets like Heaton Hops and The Magnet, as well as the award-winning Foodie Friday market, Stockport is known for its DIY, wholesome approach to food. It’s latest addition is new vegan restaurant, Allotment from chef Matthew Nutter.
Formerly of the two-AA Rosette Brassica restaurant in Heaton Moor, before it closed last year, the team have made the bold move of setting up shop outside Manchester’s city-centre and the established gentrified suburbs of Chorlton and West Didsbury. However, with pals like fine-dining Where The Light Gets In nearby, too, this South Manchester town is positioning itself as a culinary hotspot.
Aesthetically simple, bordering on bare, Allotment is free from pretension and frills – it’s refreshing, if a little draughty when we dine.
The nine-course tasting menu, with two bonus dishes thrown in, is something of a marathon. Wood-smoked beetroot Carpaccio (reminder, here, everything is vegan – but chef is playful with his menu terminology) is as a starter should be, light and delicate. Capers, fermented dill and horseradish yoghurt give the thing zest and crunch.
A savoury serving of wild mushroom parfait with porcini dust is tarted up by an apple and chardonnay compote and pickled grapes: potent by themselves, even better in context of the whole dish. ‘Coq au Vin’ turns out to be cauliflower roasted in rice paper, basted with a sweet baby shallot and Madeira jus with braised fennel and thyme-roasted celeriac, and a sautéed pine nut and sage emulsion. It’s standout.
‘Plum and mushroom’ was a powerhouse of sweet, rice-wine-pickled courgette, crisp nori and charred leek, alongside a rich tamari-fried shiitake mushroom. A clever mix of gluten-free Japanese tamari, soaked up by the sticky rice, balanced by the sharpness of the courgette
The soup of the day, on this occasion, felt like filler. A thick and creamy blend of wild garlic and watercress is balanced but despite the addition of some well-made cornbread, it’s not the kind of statement food that can be seen across the rest of the playful menu.
Rhubarb, whiskey and ginger cake wowed – quite the feat given it’s strictly vegan ingredients list, then there was the ‘cheeseboard’. Cranberry and macadamia, followed by basil flavours are excellent in small doses, as are the astonishingly hot chilli and almond.
An extravagant end to a rollercoaster tasting menu. Allotment presents a motley menu that surprises, satisfies and is most certainly not limited by its vegan stance.
6 Vernon street
Words by Thomas Ingham | April 2017