Brunning and Price seem to keep coming up in conversation with publicans these days; so they must be doing something right. It was for that reason I popped out of my hotel for dinner recently at their pub in the Castlegate area of Manchester called “The Wharf”.
To be fair, I had been before and remembered being relatively impressed, but this time, my critical eye was being cast over it.
Anyway, what we have is a newly refurbished (almost) gastropub in a secluded area alongside the canal. It has a large outside terrace and would make a really fine sunny afternoon drinking establishment, especially backed up by its range of well kept local ales (the Weetwood Cheshire Cat was a particularly good one).
But, onto the food; I had the 6 oz bacon chop, thyme rosti, mushroom ketchup, black pudding poached egg with grilled tomato and watercress coming in at £10.95. It was beautifully presented and a very good, tasty combination. The “black pudding poached egg” is deliberately missing the comma though…. the black pudding is enveloped in the white of the poached egg, which is quite novel. That said, my egg was overcooked (no runny yolk) which I would not have expected in this dish to be fair; I am not sure whether the solid yolk was intentional and therefore my observation is simply a disagreement of style, a byproduct of combining it with black pudding or an accident, but other than the fact I felt the portion could’ve been slightly bigger overall (though it would fit nicely in the middle of three courses, which may be the intent), that’s the only criticism.
Inside, the pub is nicely quirky with downstairs alcoves, balconies and a large open bar area. When it’s quiet, this does make it seem slightly daunting and unwelcoming if I am honest, but when it’s busy I am sure it’s brilliant. The Wharf also boasts knowledgeable friendly staff but does possess a couple of moderately vocal locals which may hold the place back from moving further into the full blown gastropub territory it is flirting with.
All in all though, very minor criticisms following two solid visits in the last few months; I would certainly recommend a visit if you’re in the area.