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Restaurant review - The Con Club, Altrincham

PUBLISHED: 09:33 29 August 2017

Goats' cheese and beetroot starter

Goats' cheese and beetroot starter

not Archant

Altrincham is one of those resurgent towns whose dining scene keeps getting better. Helping that to happen is The Con Club, writes Louise Allen-Taylor

The Con Club, AltrinchamThe Con Club, Altrincham

Anticipating this meal out at The Con Club in Altrincham, there were, pardon the pun, certain pros and cons.

The ‘pros’ included a very positive recent review in The Guardian, no less. The ‘cons’ comprised a rash of distinctly tepid Trip Advisor postings. Can a Guardian food critic be wrong, and certain members of Joe Public be right? As if. People are perhaps more likely to commit their thoughts to the internet if they are negative, and you wonder whether some go out for a meal simply itching for some slender disappointment.

What’s not to like about The Con Club? It’s a big, airy, atmospheric, buzzy room with an interesting history, right in the heart of a town very much on the up. It’s full of chatty people enjoying an eclectic menu (modern British jostling with Asian, steaks but also sushi and sashimi) largely well-executed and served by friendly, knowledgeable staff.

The Con Club opened at the end of last year in a 130-year-old building which was once the Altrincham Working Men’s Conservative Club. It’s another enterprise for David Vanderhook of The George Charles pub in Didsbury and Lime at Salford Quays.

Charcuterie platter at The Con ClubCharcuterie platter at The Con Club

Just a few yards away is Altrincham’s Market House and, in among a huddle of other eateries, The Con Club is part of what looks ever more like a foodie quarter.

Like distressed jeans and ‘relic’ guitars, many a new restaurant prefers the worn-in look to the shiny, sprauncy vibe. The Con Club is very much of the worn-in persuasion, with tatty matt white brickwork and exposed metalwork criss-crossing the pitched roof. There’s a bar and a open kitchen, creating a large, busy utilitarian space.

We try a £2 appetiser of cajun spiced crackling pork which turns out to be not very cajun-spiced but a plentiful portion and still lip-smackingly good.

A starter of assiette of goats’ cheese with textures of beetroot (£6.50) has a chunk of baked cheese, a creamy variant and a little deep-fried bon bon, along with beetroot both whole and puréed - lots of work and lots of taste on the plate.

Korean fishcake starter at The Con ClubKorean fishcake starter at The Con Club

Our other starter is a couple of very dense Korean fishcakes (£7) with kimchi and a mango Kewpie dressing - by turns warm, creamy, fizzy sour and heady with coriander. Unusually good.

A main of marinated lamb skewer with burnt garlic quinoa (£16) is lightly minted meat with tomatoey quinoa, a spicy yoghurt which could probably have been spicier and some superfluous hunks of bread.

A little less fussy - and all the better for it - is a great doorstep of maple-cured bacon chop (£16) with charred pineapple and skin-on fries - a kind of Berni Inn remix for the 21st century.

A pud of lemon crème brûlée (£7) proves very tasty, dotted with raspberry meringue and with an orange almond biscotti plonked in it which was too solid to break with a spoon and so had to be picked out with sticky fingers.

So there it is...many more pros than cons. It gets my vote.

The Con Club, 48 Greenwood Street, Altrincham WA14 1RZ, tel 0161 696 6870, conclubuk.com

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