Food review - Wolf At The Door, Manchester
PUBLISHED: 00:00 17 October 2019
We went to review the newly opened Wolf At The Door during its brief incarnation as the Wilderness Bar and Kitchen. Although the name has changed, the dishes and decor remain the same at as the time of the review.
The metaphorical paint had just dried on the just-opened Wilderness Bar and Kitchen when we turned up for lunch one sunny Saturday afternoon. (Before the hasty name change six weeks later, as explained in the above Instagram post).
We were in Manchester's Northern Quarter - still the fashionably indie part of the city. And although the restaurant didn't need the ubiquitous hipster studiously peering at his laptop to signify how cool it is, it had at least one of the species perched on a stool in the window. We were not deterred.
So what is Wolf At The Door, we mused afterwards. Possibly casual dining is the best way to describe it, although there's nothing casual about truly excellent cooking thanks to former Manchester House chef, James Lord. His modern, savvy, small-but-perfectly-executed menu is yet another fantastic talent to emerge on the city's dining scene.
The venue occupies the space vacated by the much-loved Odd and relatively short-lived vegan hang-out Folk and Soul. But I'm not sure the downstairs area where we ate quite does this brilliant cooking justice. The food is really what counts here and I can't praise it highly enough.
Most dishes on the menu are of the small plate variety and really quite enough. Although I am sure my other half could have quite happily eaten several big plates of the BBQ lamb skewers, £5, that had been glazed in miso and yeast flakes, a kind of gold-standard doner kebab, featuring unctuously rich lamb breast.
We ate toasted malty sourdough, £4.50, slathered with a whippy butter laced with a whiff of onion, a bowl of fresh peas and broad beans, £4, ramped up with a hint of mint and a good dollop of creme fraiche. This conjured up summer in a pottery bowl while umami flavours were outstanding in a spectacular dish of roasted cauliflower, £7. The wine list is nothing short of brilliant. All wines are 'natural' we were informed and there are some eccentric choices to wow oenophiles, such as an elegant, herbaceous Clos Bagatelle, Saint Chinian, £28, which we drank with lunch.
The pudding list was small but both choices - a treacle tart and roasted peach (£6 each) -delivered flavour and texture in spades. Brilliant.
Wolf At The Door, 30-32, Thomas St, Manchester M4 1ER | 0161 660 7177 | www.watd.co.uk