“Eat your betting money, but don’t bet your eating money” – Gambling Proverb
Sage advice indeed. Especially if you happen to be in a restaurant that is located within a casino.
And if you didn’t know – that’s where you will find Linen; nestled in the upper reaches of the Manchester235 Casino.
I’ve wandered around this casino on a few occasions, usually a little late in the evening and not uncommonly a little worse for wear. That being the case the only food that was on my mind on previous visits was generally spicy and usually kebab flavoured.
However, after visiting this little gem, discovered hiding away behind the bar, I may have to reassess the time at which I visit. Getting here early (and sober) may help me make better decisions on those inviting tables that you have to pass (or not) on the way out.
According to the blurb Linen “pride ourselves in sourcing the finest of local ingredients to bring you a modern contemporary British menu featuring dishes bursting with seasonal flavours”
Okie dokie – bring it on.
The Hungry Mrs and I joined Mr and Mrs Liz as we sampled some of the dishes on the new winter menu. We were invited guests and as such did not pay for our meal – that does not mean I have to be nice. I should also point out that the sample dishes were the size that you would expect for one person but we shared them between the 4 of us, even I might have struggled with 9 full-sized dishes.
We were treated to samples of 3 of the starters, 3 of the mains and 3 of the desserts. There is a full menu below so I won’t go into too much detail but the starters were the pigeon breast, smoked salmon and pork terrine. Main courses: Cumbrian lamb chops, wild boar steak and fillet of bream, these were accompanied by a bowl of chips and a bowl of cauliflower cheese. Desserts: baked Alaska, toffee apple creme brulee and the cheesecake. All the dishes were good, however the jus on the Boar dish had been reduced to such a degree that it left the dish just a little on the dry side and the cheesecake cried out for a stronger chocolate and/or baileys taste.
That said if I was limited to choose from just these samples I would have been a very happy diner and I would have opted for the terrine, lamb chops and baked Alaska - a retro classic brought right up to date. However in and among the menu were other options that I’ll certainly be investigating further: the T-Bone steak, the 3-bird roast and somewhat surprisingly one of the veggie options of Pumpkin, sage and dolcelatte risotto.
Just a short note on the sides – they were very tasty and couldn’t complain when, after what could be described as a Mexican standoff between Liz and I, the kitchen supplied us with extra cauli-cheese. However all the sides were priced at £3.95 per portion and it struck me as a little on the expensive side for a small bowl of chips.
A big thanks also must go to head chef Jarda (formerly of Smoak) who came out from the kitchen to introduce each dish and discuss his interest in keeping as many of the ingredients as possible as local as possible. Also for providing extra toffee apples dipped in popping candy after Mr Liz and I had so gallantly stepped aside to let the ladies enjoy the first batch. Or the pair of them jumped on them so fast we had no time in which to voice any objection! Definitely one of those two.
Thanks also to Sophie who hosted our table.
I will definitely be visiting Linen again and I am slightly annoyed at not having been before. I am also led to believe that there is an alternative entrance which means that you do not actually have to pass the gambling area.
So in response to the original quote – don’t eat your betting money and don’t eat your eating money. Instead head on past the tables and eat the food. It tastes so much better.
Apologies for the lack of photos – camera was on the blink.