REVIEW: This Seafood Restaurant Impresses With Both It's Food and Interior
A seafood diners delight
Anglo-French brasserie Randall & Aubin opened up last year in the fashionable and vibrant Bridge Street area in Manchester, and it's a place I've been dying to try out ever since.
I finally got myself down there on a Thursday lunchtime, to see what this popular seafood restaurant and bar is all about. I've heard about it's popularity down in London's Soho, but does the Manchester brand live up to expectation?
Firstly, I was wowed by the interior the moment I stepped through the door. It's swish Soho vibe is present, even though we're in another city, and from looking around the restaurant you can sense the grown-up glamour the brasserie boasts.
Although popular for it's seafood offering, Randall and Aubin has an extensive offering whether you're hunting for oysters, looking out for succulent rotisserie meats, or you just want to enjoying a champagne or cocktail at the bar underneath the glittering Disco Ball.
For a midday lunch, the place had a buzzing vibe and a warm ambience, even though it was just past 12. I headed to my table, admiring the dazzling mirrored light fittings and traditional style wall art that framed the walls. It's fairly dark, in which the dimly lit candles give a glow to the bar area and the dining seats. But not too dim to showcase the gorgeous white tiling and stylish leather booths.
Interior goals at it's finest.
The menu is extensive, and I was expecting it to be heavily seafood based, with little else on offer. Although it is tailored to the seafood lovers, you'll find fillet steak, beef, corn fed free range chicken, lamb and all your classic salads appearing on the menu too.
But to truly appreciate this place, you at least need to try either the oysters, the lobster, prawn dishes or at least one of the quality fish plates.
I was torn between the Crispy Lemon Sole, Crab and Lemon Risotto, or the Prime Scottish Cod Steak. I couldn't chose, so I selected at random. Crab and Lemon Risotto it was...
My guests went for the Crispy Lemon Sole (this meant I could try this one, so that worked out well) and the Grilled Sea Bass Fillet. We ordered a bucket of pomme frites to share too.
The risotto came with chopped spring onions and its was a larger portion than I expected. It was thick, creamy, and filled with chunky bits of crab meat and a zesty lemon tang to it. It was absolutely delicious, and I was surprised how filling it was.
For £16.50, it's on the pricey end for a risotto, but they didn't scrimp with the crab, and you could really taste the high quality. And speaking of portion sizes, I was also surprised at how much crispy lemon sole arrived on the plate too, on a huge bed of green beans and veggies.
You're looking at around £15-£18 average for a main course, with the exception of your steak and lobster dishes being priced higher. Half a lobster comes in at £22.50, with a whole priced at £42.
I found out that Randall and Aubin use British Lobster, which is actually quite rare here, as most eateries tend to use imported American Lobster, which I never quite knew before.
I'm not a huge fan of Oysters, so I didn't try out the Oyster offering, but they do look to be the best of their kind. They serve up French Rocks, English Rocks, Irish Rocks, Mixed Rocks and Native Oysters - so it's pretty much an Oyster fans dream.
I wasn't expected anything too amazing from their desserts, mainly as from looking at reviews of this place, it's all about the seafood fish offerings, and desserts are just an add on. But seriously: I ordered the Salted Caramel Cheesecake and it absolutely blew my mind.
It was possibly the best cheesecake I have ever experienced, without exaggeration.
More to the point - it was huge in size. And the serving of salted caramel ice cream was also an oversized portion. It was soft, creamy, and literally melted in my mouth. It wasn't too sweet and sticky like some cheesecakes, and it had a soft vanilla taste that complemented the caramel.
It's what dreams are made of, for sure.
From having a little tour of the restaurant, I can see they offer private dining areas for events or birthdays etc, which are cosy, quaint and smart.
But more so, I'd actually enjoy coming here with the girls for a bottle of Prosecco or a couple of cocktails. The bar area is so stylish and modern, and they even have those 'Press For Champagne' buttons which are always impressive. Although you can actually press for Champagne and Caviar here...
Overall, it's one of those higher end, luxury restaurants, so be prepared for the higher price points. However, I was pleased to see that both the food and interior matched this perfectly.
The staff were attentive, professional and friendly, and I could have easily stayed in Randall and Aubin for an hour longer and just relaxed in it's warm vibe.
A great one for special occasions...