1847 is not your typical veggie joint, banished are the hemp sandals, dahl and that particular aroma. In their place is high concept food in modern surroundings. Located a short walk from Alberts Square and the famous Manchester Christmas markets, both externally and internally 1847 is luxurious and inviting.
Now decked out in (tasteful) Christmas finery, the dining space is open with bright yellow and green colour pops. Everything is chic, even the water jugs are beautiful and I was encouraged to see that they have unisex toilets, a deal breaker for some.
The service was casual and the staff were attentive, talking to us to get a feel for our preferences and making thoughtful recommendations. They were keen to help us navigate the menu which can be a bit daunting for omnivores like us. I’m not put off by complex menus smattered with foreign words and cooking techniques but, for me, it sets the bar very high for what I expect from the food. The menu has something for veggies and vegans and the drinks selection is excellent. The food isn’t ‘meat substitution’ and that’s why it works so well. All the dishes are created to showcase the ingredients rather than trick you into not eating meat.
I usually avoid New World wines like the plague, not because I think they a poor quality but because I feel like when I commit to a full bottle it’s too much of a risk. Our waiter waxed lyrical about the Fram Shiraz and we decided, based on that and a generous tester, to go with his advice. It didn’t disappoint. It’s difficult for a red to compliment all the courses in a meal but the Fram did just that, bringing out different aspects of its flavour from the lighter cherry notes to the deeper liquorice flavour that comes through towards the end. I’ve already looked into nabbing a few bottles for the Christmas period!
As an appetiser we shared the smoked salamanca olives. They were firm, moreish and hit that chorizo flavour (just don’t have them on a first date unless you love a garlicky kiss!) I was tempted to see if I could get some in a doggy bag to take home.
For starters I had shimeji, chanterelle, and girolles mushrooms on top of a rice cake with white truffle foam, porcini dust, and parsley mousse. The combination of textures between the fluff, foam, and proper crisp of the rice cake was excellent. Each of the different mushrooms were a little burst of earthy intensity cut through by the herby parsley mousse. It goes without saying that mushrooms are the star of the show so avoid if you’re not a fan.
My friend chose the soux vide butternut squash terrine with rosemary and chestnut stinking bishop damson gel. The soux vide squash was soft and fruity and contrasted well with the crunch of the chestnut. The stinking bishop brought a creaminess and salty flavour without overpowering. Both dishes were presented beautifully with splashes of colour set on dark slate.
For main course I plumped for the Singapore Tofu Laksa. Our waiter informed us that this dish was liable to sell out and it’s easy to see why. The tofu itself was reminiscent of scallops with a salty fried outside but soft inside this contrasted nicely with the crunch of the rice noodles. The Laksa broth was smooth and hit the perfect level of heat cooled down by the fresh bean sprouts.
My friend opted for the Pommes Anna, another solid recommendation from our waiter. The sliced potato was perfectly cooked and still had a bit of bite in it. The chive purée and douglas fir oil combined to make a really rich and flavourful sauce which was better than any meat gravy I’ve tried! The charred red onion petal not only looked beautiful but added an extra level of texture to what (save for the potato popcorn) could have been a more conventional dish. The tenderstem broccoli was lightly cooked and combined well with the other wintry flavours.
I’m not a sweet tooth, so for dessert I went for the dark chocolate with sour cherry. The flavour was intense the with dark chocolate and coffee but the sharp sourness of the cherries stopped it becoming too heavy. The freeze dried cherry was puffy and the mint cut through the other flavours. The portion size really worked here, I certainly couldn’t eat a full slab, the three mini bites meant I could enjoy the flavour without it becoming stodgy.
My friend couldn’t resist the selection of british cheeses with damson chutney, crackers and candied walnuts. There was a creamy Brie which only improved the gooey-er it became, a great wedge of nostril clearing Harrogate Blue and a personal favourite Cornish yarg. I couldn’t help myself but to help myself to the cheese board! The damson chutney was flavourful and not overly sweet.
1847 is a great introduction to proper veggie and vegan cuisine – even for omnivores like us you won’t feel like you’re missing meat. For those of you who would hesitate to go veggie for a dinner out – fear not! The excellent food, perfectly selected drinks menu and casual atmosphere still give you that special occasion feel.
Chapel Walks, Manchester, United Kingdom, M2 1HN