The Whitworth Art Gallery - with thanks to Donald Rafferty
We'd planned to have lunch first, before looking round the exhibits, but the cafe was rammed with local workers taking advantage of the great eats on their doorstep (there's not much down that way that's actually good, unless you want a curry!). So we pootled round a bit and then came back. Still rammed, but we managed to get a seat in the atrium - however, eagled eyed, we spotted someone paying and found their just vacated table in the main part of the cafe. Much better as you get the full spirit of the place (and there's no draft from the front door) - but the museum may want to lend a few more bits and pieces to jazz up the place; as it's all white walls, slightly too close tables (it's a very small space to be fair) and the Modern Caterer's trademark giant blackboards proclaiming what's in season and what there is to eat.
The bustling Gallery Cafe
The bruchetta of new season beetroot was massive for the £5.25 we paid for it. There must have been at least four beetroot used (all cut in to wedges) and there was piles of sharp blacksticks blue to cut through the earthy beetroot and the sweet dressing it was wrapped in. A soup of tomato and spring greens was thick and homely, heavy with a good black pepper kick to warm us up (guess what, it was raining) - served with three large slabs of Barbakan bread, this would have been enough for me on my own.
Whoops, we ate all the bruschetta before we could photo it!
Because we're greedy, and because we'd been blown away by it at The Planet Pavilion, we ordered the terrine of local pork. Salty, sweet piggy perfection; the pork was left in large, rustic pieces, giving you a good feel for the texture and flavour of the meat. This was served with a sharp rhubarb compote (last time it was apple, they change the menu to fit the seasons) and more bread, we were stuffed and admitted defeat before we could try any homemade cake - but I did buy some homemade baklava from Peter Booth's son Gabriel, who had a little stall set up selling his own jams and cakes by the door - like father, like son hey?
Tremendous terrine - all products locally sourced, yum!
Manchester University and her various museums seem to have hit upon the winning formula of culture AND food; creating memorable experiences that stimulate all your senses - no wonder the place is rammed most of the time - the food and galleries provide plenty of soul soothing for weary workers, studied out students and cultural tourists alike.
Ps All the food is local, seasonal. sustainable and fair trade - The Modern Grocer is committed to sourcing all the best the North West has to offer and provide wholesome, home cooked food to us all - bless 'em.
Blackboard of seasonality
Price for three small meals and one cup of coffee -
Food - 8/10
Atmosphere - 9/10
Service - 6/10 (it is self-service, but they were rushed off their feet)
Value for money - 7/10 (on the pricier side, but massive portions and quality ingredients)
Total - 30/40
Go again - Yes it's a great place for lunch and a fab little gallery too.
The Modern Caterer at The Gallery Cafe, Whitworth Gallery, Oxford Road, Manchester M15 6ER -
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