The thing that takes a high priority as part of traveling is where I eat, if possible, Ms Buddha and I try to book restaurants within the city where we’re staying; but it is not beyond us to travel 1.5hrs on a train to outskirts of Tokyo for a bowl of ramen. We are the sum of our experiences, and I truly believe that one key reason for my obsession with where I eat during trips lies in bad experience years and years ago of having to resort to KFC in New York because a friend left us stranded by cancelling on us after raving on about a “Korean restaurant you have to try!”
As a result, during our visit to Manchester where we stayed at the INNSIDE Manchester we tried out the La Bandera after the Manchester MatchDay VIP experience and also managed to book Mr Cooper’s House and Garden which is located inside the Midland Hotel in Manchester.
We arrived a bit early and were seated in the bar area for a drink, but before we even had a chance to order, the friendly staff had already organised a table for us, here’s a look at the menu:
As gnocchi is Ms Buddha’s weakness, being the “no waste” carnivore that I am, bone marrow is something that perks my interest, so we started with some Crispy Oxtail with Marrow croquettes to kick off the meal – the croquettes were fried perfectly with a nice crunchy exterior with a nice and soft inside – the mustard also paired well with the croquettes:
Given that I’d done my run for the day and also walked about another 14km on top of the run – I allowed myself another fried dish of the fried oysters and Ms Buddha had the yuba spinach rolls. The oysters were once again fried well and tasted great on their own, I would’ve preferred if the pear slices that came with it were slightly sweeter though.
Next, Ms Buddha selected the smoked eel risotto and I selected the sea bass – Ms Buddha said that the smoked eel was one of the better ones she’s had and the pollock that came with it was fantastic. For me, the sea bass was done just right (where the fish is just slightly rare) – however, the sauce was just slightly too strong.
Maybe it was the running and the walking we did throughout the day, but after the very generous entrees and mains, we still went for a closer each! With “cheese” on the menu, it was hard for me not to pick it. Ms Buddha went for the caramel tart. I was very happy to see blue cheese on the board when it arrived and very pleased with my choice, whilst the mascarpone ice cream that came with Ms Buddha’s dessert was incredible.
Overall, the dinner was terrific, and whilst the service was professional, I do think that the service could be a bit warmer (maybe because I’m an Aussie)!