As you all know by now, I love trying out a new menu launch in Manchester. There’s nothing better than finding out about a restaurant or bars food and drink menu being spruced up with some new offerings, especially in time for the Summer season.
The latest new menu I’ve been to check out is no other than the infamous Blackdog Ballroom, who have two venues in Manchester. You’ll find the larger, more open-plan Blackdog Ballroom situated at New Wakefield Street, close to Oxford Road, which has a lovely outdoor terrace and lots of different floors and room.
Then, there is the one I’ve been to more frequently, the Northern Quarter venue. This is a quirkier, underground place popular for it’s pool tables and DJ’s in the evening.
I don’t usually end up in Blackdog Ballroom during the day, so I wasn’t too familiar with the drinks and dining options that Blackdog used to serve up. So it was nice to go in with an open mind.
In all honesty, I wasn’t sure if the options would be fairly limited, but I was happy to see a large, extensive menu of both cocktails and food upon my arrival.
Before even looking in the menus, I asked the waiter for an Aperol Spritz, as it had been a warm sunny day and I was literally more than looking forward to one!
I expected bar service for food and drink at lunchtime at Blackdog – where I would have been more than happy to go up and order at the bar. But having an attentive waiter come over and take our drinks and food order was more than appreciated! A nice touch for somewhere that represents itself as a bar, but looks after it’s diners with table service.
The drinks menus are bold and bright, almost a little retro in styling and list loooooooads of cocktails all in different categories. You’ve got pretty much everything from your Twisted Classics (unique versions of the traditional ones, like the Strawberry Bramble, Banana Colada and the one I can’t wait to try out – the Bourbon Espresso Martini).
They also offer huge sharing cocktails, ideal for 2-4 people. The Passion Punch (which is loaded with rum, apple, pineapple, passionfruit and ginger ale to name a few ingredients!) sounds a real delight for me and my friends!
I could see the menu was fairly reflective of the good old USA, and they had a section dedicated to NYC inspired cocktails. This included the Wall Street Porn Star (think of the traditional Porn Star Martini but with Butterscotch and Pineapple!) and Big Apple Sour (Jack Daniels, Egg White, Apple, Lemon and Sugar).
From 4-8 Sun-Friday, they offer a £4 Fix Me Ups menu, where you can get full strength cocktails for £4 (usually £7.50).
Roughly, you’re looking at around £7 a cocktail, which looks pretty reasonable for Manchester, and with some of these super creations!
So moving on to the food. Again, bold, bright, colour popping menus split into easy to find sections. They keep it simple, but with each section offering more than your average ‘bar food’, with some delicious twists and great meal suggestions.
For your starters and sides, they offer everything from your traditional chicken wings and spicy chicken tenders, to tear and share flat breads you can top with buffalo chicken or veggie options, to a Carbonara Mac and Cheese where you can throw in wild mushrooms or bacon (or both!).
I actually chose my order from the next section – the Nachos section. I usually see Nachos as a sharer or a starter, but Blackdog have really loaded them out and ‘made a meal’ of them, so to speak.
I went for the Bean & Avocado loaded nachos, with 5 bean mix, avocado slides, sweet corn, coriander and melted vegan cheese.
Let me tell you – these came in a huge basket and were piled so high with delicious avocado slices, runny warm vegan cheese and all the veggie extras. I’m not a veggie – I just love anything with avocado – so next time I’d probably try the Spicy Chicken version which comes with buffalo chicken, Louisiana Hot Sauce, jalepenos and mozzarella.
If you like your loaded fries, then this is the place for you. They have an entire menu page dedicated to fries, so think of all the ways you can have your fries, and this place will do it!
They offer House, Sweet Potato, Spam or Halloumi Fries, in which we opted for a portion of the Halloumi. I’m usually a Sweet Potato fries kinda girl, but thought I daren’t go for Spam just yet, and Halloumi is alllllways a good shout.
You can then chose if you want your fries as an individual portion or a sharer, and then go crazy with the toppings! I’ve actually took a screen grab from the online menu so you can see what I mean…
Then there is the burgers and sandwiches section, which gives a good variety of option. For the meat eaters, you’ve got Southern Fried Chicken and Stacked Beef burgers, with all your cheeses and relishes imaginable. You’re looking at £8 tops for the burgers, and those who prefer vegetable options can get hold of one for around £&.
The veggie options actually seemed delicious – I’d like to go back and try out the Curried Chickpea Burger, which is loaded with a chickpea, sweet potato and curried spice patty, topped with halloumi and hot sauce.
The pizza menu was surprisingly large, with a really great array of pizza options listed. There were so many tempting versions, and then right next to the pizzas were SALADS! Who would want a salad when you’ve got this incredible naughty food menu?
My guest did, of course. She actually watched me devour my loaded nachos and halloumi fries whilst enjoying the Superfood Salad. Which I have to admit, was a very large portion of allllll the healthy superfoods packed into one large plate. Avocados (again!), beetroot, pomegranate, etc etc…
In a nutshell, you could come over to Blackdog Ballroom with a group of friends and indulge in a meal and a cocktail for around £15 and still be satisfied and full. Or, you could opt for wines, fizz, beers…
Great service and a fab new menu. But be warned: just don’t be on a diet! You’ll never enjoy the fun it has to offer…