Man Bites Frog
In a world awash with gastro pubs and trendy hipster drinking holes, it’s a mean feat to find a down-to-earth bar where the food impresses without even a smattering of pretension. But Man Bites Frog does just that – it’s serious about food, but without being all serious about it.
Set in the sleepy suburb of Chorlton, the bar-restaurant serves up humble and hearty food that reflects a modern multicultural France. You need not be a Francophile to be seduced – but it helps. The main menu is homely and comforting: slow-braised ox cheek with creamy mash and pancetta; sausage ragout with grated gruyere and crusty bread; basque chicken with sauté potatoes and green beans.
They also offer an outstanding Sunday Roast. If, like me, you’re a bit of a Sunday Roast Snob (and you probably are if you’re reading this), you’ll sometimes find yourself eating a restaurant roast and asking yourself “could I cook this better myself?” But fear not: the Frog Roast absolutely delivers.
This is Sunday fine dining in a relaxed setting. Ribeye of beef or shoulder of lamb is the main affair, served with an abundance of roast potatoes and gratin potatoes, braised red cabbage, buttered greens, roast carrots, and the elusive Yorkshire pudding that manages to be enormous yet retain that crispy-on-the-top-chewy-underneath texture. Vegetarians can also embrace the sweet relief of not being faced with yet another nut roast (hurrah!), with roasted aubergine and halloumi, sweet shallots, walnuts and a sweet buttery pumpkin sauce.
On another day of the week, the small plates might be just the ticket if you’re just wanting to pick at something whilst you drink (I’ve fallen prey to the baked Camembert with garlic and rosemary and crusty bread many a time after a couple of glasses of vin rouge). You’ve got duck straws with cherry compote; pâté with toasted bread and homemade chutney (vegan option available); moules with fresh bread, and, of course – frogs legs cooked in a garlic and parsley butter. Ooh la la.
By Louise Henderson, Manchester editor
Photos: Man Bites Frog