Review: Damson @ MediaCityUK

By Alex Bysouth

Damson MediaCityUK’s impressive location boasts spectacular views to leave you salivating before the charming staff have even laid the fantastic menu upon your table.

Successful restaurateur Steve Pilling had warned me about the gravitas held by his latest instalment in an already bulging portfolio of impressive projects.

But, placed on a table for two looking out over the Quays’ finest assets, as the evening drew on the view from the floor to ceiling window only became more and more appealing.

After preparing our palate with two satisfyingly warm, mini bread loafs served on a slate, we opted for quite different starters but with a shared excitement.

Having chosen from the Working Lunch Menu, our anticipation was not misplaced, my smoked haddock and sweet corn risotto, finished with curry oil, parmesan crisps and cumin salt, came deliciously creamy without lacking substance for £5.95.

A sure fire way of noting whether someone is deeply enjoying their food is the look you’re given before being knocked back at the suggestion of sharing.

I got ‘the look’ from my partner when I proposed such partaking in her veloute of new season Wye Valley English asparagus, spinach and white truffle oil.

‘Possibly the best thing I’ve ever tasted,’ she professed at the £4.95 starter, before reeling off a list superlatives – rich, velvety, intense, but subtle I’m told.

We took a minute to enjoy some house Rose and appreciate the fascinating interior, which lives up to its eye-catching surroundings, encompassing state-of-the-art contemporary features with a comforting ambiance.

The 140-cover restaurant enjoys ample space for a standalone bar, private dining booths and elegant, but understated, decoration.

After much deliberation I decided upon the £13.95 grilled fillet of salmon, kalamata olive crushed potato, sauce vierge, roquette and parmesan.

Admittedly, I was curiously unaware of what exactly a kalamata olive crushed potato was – having sampled the concoction, not mash potato but most definitely not your standard spud, it is something that will live long, and fondly, in my memory.

The crushed potato bore a full-bodied and flavoursome semblance but at no point threatened to overpower the fillet of salmon, sitting proudly atop the kalamata olive and exerting its influence over the dish with every firm forkful.

My better half, confined to fewer vegetarian options on the slightly less diverse lunch menu, was excited by the option of spring vegetable and herb risotto, chervil cream and pea shoots at £9.95, which although enjoyable, was slightly too rich to finish.

However, we were certainly not left disappointed and the sizeable portions we received left us embarrassed at our earlier prediction, as with many a restaurant of this calibre, that the dishes would come looking and tasting pretty, but leaving us hungry and yearning for more.

Feeling pleasantly surprised, and frankly full, we took a few minutes to regain composure, make some room for dessert and once again enjoy the view – which now composed a mosaic of glittering illuminations from the BBC studios, Imperial War Museum et al, waltzing together across the breezy Quays.

Dessert, £4.95 each, continued a familiar theme – substantial, well presented, graciously served and delicious.

The lady’s taste buds were sufficiently tantalised with a warm chocolate tart, butter ice cream, hazelnuts and caramelised banana – her one complaint the tough-to-crack pastry case, albeit what lay inside a richly intense gift from the Gods.

I chose to finish with a flute of macerated strawberries, mascarpone sorbet, toasted almonds and sacristain biscuits.

‘Melt in the mouth’ is an overused cliché these days, but I was literally left drooling as the mascarpone sorbet dissolved over my tongue.

Damson MediaCityUK’s reputation stands before it after the success of the Heaton Moor namesake, but with the exquisite food sitting on par with its unquestionably sensational views, it really is a feast for all the senses.

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