New to West Didsbury as of August this year is The Shack, a cocktail and taco bar from the Liquid Art Group.
The Shack’s location is fantastic, settling in well among the other trendy bars, cafés and restaurants for which Burton Road is known.
While the menu is small, there is a great range of dishes catering for more adventurous eaters as well as those who prefer a simpler option.
Last week I had the opportunity to sample some of the menu highlights, and as an avid foodie I was not disappointed.
We started with the steak taco, to open with a more traditional Mexican combination, which was unbelievably good – complete with an excellent citrus guacamole.
After we went for the chicken shawarma taco, served with feta and a stunning aioli, giving an unusual Middle Eastern twist, without feeling like an uncomfortable fusion of cuisines.
Continuing with the fusion theme, we tried the tofu kimchi taco next, which was a much more unexpected combination, yet a really strong pairing which should satisfy meat-eaters and vegetarians alike.
The final taco we sampled was one entitled ‘Comfort Food’, which is effectively a fancy full English with a Mexican twist.
This dish worked well largely because of the high quality of the ingredients, with incredible smoky Boston beans and chorizo throughout.
The standard of the food is why the Shack has proved to be so popular already, as diners looking for something a bit different are not then let down by poor quality.
There also has to be a special mention for the salt ’n’ pepper chicken, which was absolutely exceptional as a side, and owners Oliver Calvely and James Fennell confirmed that this was a customer favourite.
The variety on offer at the Shack cannot be overstated, and is an incredible feat given such a concise menu.
Having opened early in order to be a part of WestFest, West Didsbury’s annual celebration of local business, the Shack is not actually quite finished – although you would be hard pressed to find faults with the either the interior or the menu.
Originally “it was going to be much more traditional” Calvely told me, but after working with their chef, Robert Johnson-Dutoit, the menu became the inventive range it is now.
“Our chef is really talented. He’s been doing it for 20 years. He created the menu and we’ve left him to have his creative flair,” said Fennell.
Calvely added: “You can order anything and it’ll be great food.”
For vegans and vegetarians there is also plenty of choice, “a necessity round here” Fennell confirmed.
As West Didsbury continues to be known for its vibrant food scene, the Shack is certainly going to increase that reputation.