Featherblade - The Most Talked About Manchester Restaurant Opening In Years
10 Things We Noticed About The £10 Steak
1. So is it a copy?
Unquestionably. Not a shadow of a doubt. From the menus through to the dishes the food is served in - to the prices and the tell-tale knives this is a restaurant that has been directly inspired by Flat Iron in London.
2. Everything is copied these days
From the phone in your hand (Apple and Samsung have billion dollar law suits all the time) through to the features that Facebook and Instagram have directly copied from Snapchat. All the brands copying each other with emotive Christmas ads.
This is how the world works and always has. The same is true of restaurants and chefs who have been stealing or "taking influence" from eachother for centuries.
3. We live in a world where social outrage is the norm
Brexit. Donald Trump. Sports results. Steak restaurants copying each other. We live in a world (Twitter especially) where people constantly want to be outraged by something. I've seen restaurants copy each other all over the world and this has been going on for decades.
Nobody would really have noticed something like this happening 10 years ago but with social media it is the perfect tinder keg for people to go on another moral grandstanding mission. Most of the people commenting have probably never set foot in either venue.
4. But is the food any good in Featherblade?
I thought it was absolutely outstanding when I ate there. The steak was absolutely superb and the sides, service and setting all top notch. People may be talking about it being a copy but I've not had many steak as good as that in Manchester for a tenner and I'll be back on a regular basis.
5. Could restaurants please go back to plates?
This was served on a wooden board (as they are in Flat Iron) but I've had my fill of weird ways to serve food. The sooner restaurants around the world go back to plain old plates which have worked for centuries the happier we'll all be! Time to ditch the shopping trollies of chips.
6. They ARE actually cooking it themselves
As I sat there eating my lunch the owner spotted me on my phone. He wanted to know if I was enjoying the steak (I was.) Later he came back and asked if the pepper sauce tasted nice (it did). He started to explain that since all this had blown up people had been accusing them of using packet sauces and crappy produce. After getting chatting he insisted we walk into the kitchen to see the chefs at work.
Sure enough they were making fresh sauces, steak was resting perfectly and everything was fresh. I could tell that from tasting the food but the mob on social media had clearly put the boot in.
7. Flat iron itself wasn't entirely original
The London steakhouse chain is a wonderful experience but it isn't as if they have a monopoly on the idea of only serving steak and chips with leaves. Le Relais de Venise is just one example that has been around way longer. They have restaurants in Paris, London and New York. Their branding might not be the same but the concept undoubtedly is.
Indeed in Dublin where I spend a lot of time we have our very own restaurant also called Featherblade. Also doing the same thing. There are dozens of other examples of restaurants doing this same concept all over the world.
8. Featherblade really is a wonderful cut of beef
The best thing about all this publicity is that it is bringing one of the most unappreciated cuts of meat to the fore. While many obsess with the Sirloin, Ribeye or Fillet steaks the Fetherblade is an incredible meat when properly cooked (as it was here.) Full of flavour, perfectly succulent and more affordable it makes a wonderful steak.
9. A £10 steak is never a £10 steak
I'm not just talking about this experience but lots of other venues that get you in with an attention-grabbing price. By the time you add sides, sauces and drinks you have a £22 meal. It's just a pricing trick but the reality is I still think it's great value for a piece of meat that good.
10. So should you eat in Featherblade?
Yes. 100%. Forget the people on a crusade on social media and the close branding and just judge it on the food itself. I had a really superb steak with great sides and all at what I thought was a very reasonable price.
If I was a tourist, somebody from out of town or just somebody who didn't happen to read restaurant reviews and I stumbled in here I'd be over the moon with the experience.
The owner clearly went a little too close to the bone with taking inspiration from the London restaurants (I personally think it was the knife that did it) but this happens all over the world.
If you are just a regular punter wanting a good affordable steak then this is a top addition.