A new Smokehouse has popped up in Manchester in the form of 3 Twenty One. Located on Deansgate, on top of the Deansgate pub, the promise of ”smoking the finest cuts of meat this side of town!” stood out as myself and my girlfriend (who we shall now call Miss J) were invited down to try out their delights.
Walking through the pub below to the side staircase with the 3 Twenty One logo emblazoned on the wall, you walk up to the double doors which leads into a L-shaped room, bar to the left, open kitchen to the right and outside seating behind. A nice set out, with what seems to be the main dining area full of square tables located to the right in front of the kitchen, and booths and high tables in front of the bar to the left. White wooden paneling adorns each wall, with frames of black and white Manchester hanging above, it gave that feeling of simplicity mixed with tradition. Looking over the cocktail menu, I went for the classic Manhattan (£8) – rye whisky, sweet vermouth and a dash of bitters ‘stirred to perfection’. It was good, but it could have had a little longer stirred. It seemed the vermouth sunk to the bottom near the end. Miss J went for the Apple and Mint Collins (£7) – Hayman’s gin shaken with mint, apple juice, fresh lemon and egg whites topped with soda and dressed with a tree of mint. She made the observation of the mint overpowering everything, and that she just couldn’t taste the gin, the main ingredient she was after. Those two aside, the menu itself looks very gin and vodka heavy, with a couple of rum and bourbon drinks thrown in. The Lemongrass and Vanilla Collins (£7) sounded like a good call though – infused lemongrass vodka, Licor 43, fresh lemon juice, topped with Goslings ginger beer.
The food was the highlight of the night though. Scanning over the menu, you’re treated to 8oz rump burgers, pizza, salads and, of course, from the grill. The starters looked as equally impressive, with a choice including Big Boy Sticky Barbequed Ribs (£5.95) smoked in-house finished in a bourbon glaze and served with house slaw, as well as Mr. Holden’s Manchester Egg (£5.50) which are hens egg wrapped in Bury black pudding, pork mince and crispy bread crumb, served with Manchester caviar and maple streaky bacon crisp. I though went for the Barbequed King Prawns (£7.50) with smoked garlic & chilli butter, served with warm bread whilst Miss J went for Chicken Wings … With a Twist (£5.95) - boneless wings smoked in-house, served with house slaw and blue cheese dipping sauce. The King prawns were juicy, crunchy and went perfect with the warm bread, plus it soaked up any left over juice. The chicken wings seemed to go down a treat too, finishing with two clear plates that had arrived on time with no wait needed.
For mains, Miss J opted for the Salmon (£12.95), a darn which was lightly rubbed with thyme whilst i went for the 10oz Rump (£14.95) , both served with vine cherry tomatoes, field mushroom, watercress and a bucket of both seasoned skinny fries and sweet potato fries. Both well presented, the salmon looking as full and impressive as it could be whilst my rump steak was cooked to perfection (medium rare) with the juices flowing. Bursts of flavour with each mouthful meant I had to reign myself from finishing it too quickly (always a good sign surely), whilst the salmon seemed to be enjoyed with immense pleasure. Again, two clean plates. I’m sure other dishes like the Smoked Goat’s Cheese Pizza (£7.50), Pulled BBQ Pork 8 oz Burger (£8.95) or Swordfish Salad (£9.95) would have had the same effect too.
Leaving just enough room for dessert, Miss J decided for the Baked Blueberry and Vanilla Cheese Cake with berry compote (£4.95) and i had the Cheshire Farm Ice-Cream (£3.95) with chocolate and white chocolate flavours. Fantastic! The ice-cream came in the traditional sundae bowl with chocolate dusting, whilst the cheesecake didn’t look bare on its long plate as she received a hefty slice. Cappucino’s (£2.50) were ordered afterwards as we settled our stomachs and both agreeing we couldn’t eat another drop.
3 Twenty One lived up to its hype since opening last week. The food on all three courses were fantastic, cooked the way you’d expect. The service was good too. Nothing too much of a hassle and everything came within reasonable time. My only concern would be the cocktails. They’re good, but maybe I went into it with high expectations. Although I’ve only tried two from the menu, I’d still go back and see if any others change my view. I’d also have to go on a night of no live music. I’ve never been a fan to be fair, but when I can’t hear the person opposite me, it’s ruins a first time experience.
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