The Refuge has just launched a new Vegan Introduction Menu. I went along with best mate and ‘v-curious’ Andy to see what it’s all about. Here’s what we found…
The Refuge is situated at the Palace Hotel Building at the top of Oxford Street across the road from the old Cornerhouse building. Renovated in 2016, The Principle (the new for the Palace Hotel), has been a huge hit.
New for summer 2018, The Vegan Introduction Menu is great for the indecisive. For just £40 per couple (£5 less than the non-vegan option), the team will choose the dishes for you, allowing you to relax and enjoy your evening. It’s also a great way to try dishes that you may not usually go for.
Whichever way you enter The Refuge, there’s no hiding the fact that this is one of the most spectacular looking bar and restaurants in town – up there with the best of what Manchester has to offer.
The Vegan Introduction Menu at The Refuge
Although I have been to the Refuge many a time, this was going to be the first opportunity to try out the food. If you’ve yet to try the food at The Refuge, or after another excuse to go back, the Vegan Introduction Menu is the perfect excuse.
As well as the six dishes, you’ll get a small carafe of Vegan Wine. Enough for a small glass each (althought I wasn’t dirnking on the night). Andy went with the red, which on the night was Terre di Vulcano Aglianico del Vulture, a wine from Southern Italy.
The first dish to arrive was the Curried Sweet potato, finished with spinach and toasted almonds. It was one of our favourite dishes on the night and didn’t take long before we had cleared the plate.
A quick word on the flatbreads. Now, flatbreads are never going to be the most interesting item served up, but they were exceptionally tasty. They reminded me of the best chapati flatbreads you’d find in top Indian restaurants. I found myself nibbling on them at times in-between dishes :-).
Up next was the Chargrilled Cauliflower, cooked with meridian fennel and pomegranate. Cauliflower is fast becoming one of my favourite ingredients and this dish is no exception. If your opinion on Cauliflower is based on dull steamed veg dishes then you really need to give this a try. The spices added really bringing out the flavours.
Another winning course was the Beetroot Pakora served with Tamarind Ketchup. What really made this dish was the homemade tamarind ketchup served up with the pakora, adding some extra punch.
Next to try was the Daal Makhani. A classic punjabi dish and the ultimate in comfort food. Tasting better with every mouthful, the Daal Makhani was a hit with both of us.
Onto one of my choice parts of the night – the Portabello Mushrooms. Whilst they may not be the most photogenic of courses, for me they were an absolute highlight. Rich, smoky in texture that got better with each bite.
Sadly, I couldn’t convince Andy to try these (he’s not a fan of Mushroom). Which meant more for me! He doesn’t know what he’s missing!
The final dish to arrive was the Fennal and Pear Salad, finished off with this season’s must-have ingredient radish. Maybe it was because I was a tad full by this point but I just was not a fan of the salad. Fresh zesty flavours with a satisfying crunch, I’m sure others would love it.
The Refuge – Second Opinion
Andy Moss Says:
Although I’ve been to the Refuge many times before, I’ve never had the chance to go for dinner. It was great to try the Vegan Introduction Menu too. Otherwise I wouldn’t be sure what to choose. I loved the wine and the lentil course. I would like to go back soon to try more!
Overall the Vegan Introduction was an absolute winner. If you are looking for your next mid-week treat, or want to try some fantastic vegan food, this is the place. Be sure to check it out!
The Refuge Manchester
Oxford St, Manchester M60 7HA
Vegan Introduction Menu
£40 for 2 people – Served Monday Friday 12pm-3pm and 5pm-6.45pm
- Curried sweet potato spinach, toasted almonds;
- Chargrilled cauliflower, carraway, pomegranate
- Beetroot pakora, tamarind ketchup
- Portabello mushrooms, soy, sesame
- Daal Makhani
- Fennel, pear, dill, radish
- A 375ml carafe of vegan wine