Thursday, 13 September 2018

The Allotment, winner of Best Vegetarian restaurant 2018

Chef matt nutter and Siobahn, of The Allotment restaurant, Stockport, Manchester pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover.com

 The Allotment restaurant, Stockport, Manchester pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover.com

Chef Matthew Nutter and his partner Siobhan gave birth to a restaurant and a baby on the same weekend. I reckon if they can handle that, they can handle anything.

The restaurant in question, The Allotment, has just been voted Britain's best vegetarian restaurant. However it would be more accurate to say it is the best vegan restaurant. It's located in Stockport.

Stockport is a part of Manchester, and has a thriving foodie sector within the old town. Marina O'Loughlin, the Sunday Times restaurant critic, gave rave reviews to another Stockport restaurant, Where the light gets in. There are several food businesses, a gorgeous skylit market place with old fashioned market stalls within, and another food hall about to open. It seems there truly is a 'new northern' food revolution happening. 

The Allotment is housed on a corner with windows side and front. The modern kitchen can be seen from the 30 cover dining room. 
Matt and Siobhan started out as a pop up restaurant in 2015, which was so successful they decided to risk a restaurant, securing the help of enthusiastic backers. Matt, originally from Wigan, is a classically trained chef who worked in France and back in Britain, in restaurants like 'Grenache'. Siobhan does front of house. They met on the internet, clicking after both discovered they wanted their own restaurant and chickens. The Allotment is the result, but, showing their pop up origins, unusually it's only open three days a week at lunchtimes, from Friday to Sunday. This is also helpful as they have a young child.
But why vegan?
'It was after travelling through India I decided to stop eating meat and eventually become vegan,' explains Matt. 'The food I had there was so good, I wanted to make exciting dishes with vegetables.' 
Is there a market for vegan food in Manchester? 
'Oh yes, people travel from all over, it's a huge trend here too.'
Do you manage to making a living with just three days?
'Yes, actually, as we are always full. There is a real appetite for fine vegan food. People are happy to travel to Stockport.'
What struck me is their customers weren't your average middle class hipster vegan types, they were all sorts.  I had the 10 course tasting menu, priced at £65. I didn't have any alcohol as I had to drive to Edinburgh the same day, nevertheless they do have vegan beers and wines.

The cooking was fantastically skilful, you could taste why they have won awards. This kind of deconstructed fine dining so often looks great, but tastes of nothing much. Not the case here. Even clean-eating tropes like courgetti suddenly tasted vibrant, interesting, fresh and spicy. Highlights included the deep fried capers, bursting forth like salty dark green petals; the alien looking battered enoki mushrooms, the deconstructed blackberry and apple crumble. Matt also makes his own vegan cheeseboard selection with raw cracker and home made chutney. This is modern northern British food.

NB: Since I visited them, The Allotment are moving October to Manchester City Centre.
The Allotment restaurant, Stockport, Manchester pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover.com
The Allotment restaurant, Stockport, Manchester pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover.com
The Allotment restaurant, Stockport, Manchester pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover.com
The Allotment restaurant, Stockport, Manchester pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover.com
The Allotment restaurant, Stockport, Manchester pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover.com
The Allotment restaurant, Stockport, Manchester pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover.com
The Allotment restaurant, Stockport, Manchester pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover.com

The historic centre of Stockport

Worth a look around: cobbled streets, vintage shops, bakers, and that architectural gem, the central market.
 Stockport, Manchester pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover.com
 Stockport, Manchester pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover.com
 Stockport, Manchester pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover.com
soup,  Stockport, Manchester pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover.com

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would love to hear what you think of this post! I try to reply to every comment (if there is a delay, I am probably away from an internet connection or abroad)