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CONFIDENTIAL-reading carnivores know their steak, but if they feel the need to test their knowledge and even learn something new about provenance, sourcing, ageing or cooking, there can’t be many better places to do that than at Blackhouse. 

Manchester’s Grill on The Alley has recently launched a confident new menu and cocktail list after ‘spruce and tickle’ refurbishments, with Grill on New York Street set to do the same in the coming weeks.

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What’s so different about Manchester’s stalwart steakhouse?

The much loved Grill on the Alley is now ten years old and the plan was to give it a contemporary look while creating consistency across the restaurants, which are in Leeds, Glasgow and Smithfield, London.

Along with the reopening of the Grills, service has been given a more flexible, personable approach, designed to best suit your needs.

Commitment to good food and drink has stepped up a level with the new, simplified main menu specialising in carefully sourced beef, coming only from countries which have established an excellent reputation for rearing quality cattle.

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Each restaurant will have its own Butcher’s Block - single-breed British cattle, aged for 28 days, with further ageing for 7 days in the brand new Himalayan rock salt fridge, in a special atmosphere which helps to draw out the moisture, and infuse the meat with a naturally intense flavour and unique taste. Classic cuts are air dried for 24 hours in the salt fridge, before cooking to allow for added tenderness.

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As well as signature steaks, there’s a range of new starters, such as the hearty St Louis glazed bone-in pork rib, or the classic prawn cocktail, seafood dishes, like the lettuce-wrapped, stuffed sea bass and beer-battered oysters. There are sauces and sides to bring out the best in your meal, and a range of Blackhouse Specialities, including proper burgers and a roast chicken dinner with stuffing and dauphinoise potatoes.

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What about the Book of Beef we mentioned earlier? For years, this has been a training manual to give the front of house team an in-depth knowledge of the provenance and cut of every steak they serve. As visitors to restaurants become more interested in where the food they eat comes from, Blackhouse realised they need to show their commitment to good beef more. Eventually The Book of Beef will become a printed book for customers to read – but for now, it’s part of the knowledge Blackhouse’s front of house staff must learn intensively before they’re even allowed to serve. 

Along with the reopening of the Grills, service has been given a more flexible, personable approach, designed to best suit your needs.

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If you want to know more about the difference between British Galician beef, Aberdeen Angus Black fillet, Argentinian ribeye; the territory it’s been raised on, the ageing process, or the difference between breeds, then all you have to do is ask. Some steaks are quite specialist in either cut or breed; the magnificent and impressive English tomahawk, finished with a beef dripping glaze, or the premium Wagyu fillet raised in the USA. If you’re pushing the boat out as far as paradise, you may as well top it off with half a lobster for a luxurious surf and turf option.

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Make sure you leave room for something sweet to round off the meal - salted caramel chocolate pot with cornflake Florentine, lemon posset or the classic apple and blackberry pie are all stand-out dishes.

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What about the drinks? Here, the bar is just as important as the restaurant. Cocktails are their strength and the list has been bolstered with some newcomers, which even includes additions specially created to match to your meal.

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If wine is your thing, that’s covered with an extensive list that covers every taste, from sparkling, rose, and various categories of white and red wines by the bottle or glass. There are also beers and non-alcoholic cocktails, but if you fancy something you can’t see on the menu, the bar staff will be more than happy to shake up whatever you desire.

Blackhouse has a decade of understanding what their customers want and have developed a confident, dependable and responsible approach to making sure they deliver it.

Pictures: Georgie Glass