Despite its position as Manchester’s luxury dining and shopping destination, Spinningfields strikes a pleasing balance between celebrated chains and unique independents. Beastro, which officially opened in March (2017), is the latest and from the team behind street food stalwart Bangers and Bacon, who gained national recognition for their porky approach.
Chef Richard Brown teamed up with James and Heather Taylor, aka the sausage makers and butchers of Bobby’s Bangers, in 2014 to create the street food stall and quickly gained fans for their piggy creations – think Cubano sarnies stuffed with mojo pork, house-cured ham, pickled courgettes and shallots, mustard and melted emmental, to ‘pig mac’, cheesy pasta loaded with bacon and sausage, topped with a crisp cheesy crumb. In this new permanent guise, though,
Richard’s culinary flair combined with the cracking produce of Bobby’s Bangers, has taken a sizeable leap-forward to create a refined and confident menu, where meat is ever-present but not the only star of the show.
Indeed, for Beastro’s soft launch the menu was 50% vegetarian, making use of produce from other great local suppliers Noone & Fresh and Manchester Veg People to create Lancashire leek crumble, with savoury custard, alongside an apple, parsnip and potato parsnip soup. However, it was chef’s ‘Manchester calamari’ aka fried pigs’ ears that got us talking most – salty, crispy, potentially the best beer snack ever.
Beastro is inviting and warm – from the glow from the fridge of local craft beers, to the heat of the open kitchen and soul music humming away in the background, it’s a place you want to hang around in.
The menu is split into pots and plates – from Manchester egg with homemade brown sauce to bacon jam with maple and red onion on toast, alongside charcuterie, cheese and fish platters – starters, mains, steaks and sides. A starter of pig cheeks with ham hock bon bon, pear chutney, more crispy pig and crushed roasted roots, and a hearty main of lamb rump with pea purée, crushed new potatoes and asparagus were unmissable. Curried cod, too, with pan-fried scallops, shallot purée and crispy shallots was rich in flavour and served in style.
While satisfied with our own plates, it was hard not to gaze in envy at those with steak – aged on the bone for a minimum of 30 days, chargrilled and served with beef dripping chips and a selection of classic sauces. Such longing was no accident. The décor gets you in the mood: food photography above the pass celebrates both butcher and animal.
For those familiar with the trio’s previous bacon-barm serving incarnation, laying down up to £50 per head for a meal at their hands may come as a shock at Beastro. However, the bill here is more than justified. Mains are generous in size, making the most of the quality of the produce, and desserts are aesthetically appealing, combining classic flavours in a different way (try the deconstructed lemon meringue pie pot).
Whether you sit at the chef’s table “in the belly of the beast” or elsewhere in this charming new restaurant, there’s plenty to make you want to return. And, already, plenty are.
Manchester M3 3AG
Words by Tom Ingham
Written March 2017
Interior photos by Karen Wright
Food photos by Tom Ingham