What was once a wine bar in an up-and-coming part of Manchester has become one of the city’s hidden gems of fine dining. Blossom Street Social in Ancoats faced a tough opening back in 2020 but has come out the other side fighting, and boy do they pack a punch!
With a regularly changing kitchen staff, allowing local chef’s to showcase their talents and bring their own culture, tastes and skills to the ever changing menu, you can be guaranteed to always be eating something special and never have the same dish each time you visit. Even as I was remarking to my friend that we had to come back in a few weeks, the dainty Caroline Martins, the current resident chef, informed us the menu would be changing in 2 weeks time and we simply had to come back to try it. But what is their current menu like? Well we’ll get to that.
The venue itself is hidden amongst the many winding streets of one of Manchester’s hippest neighbourhood, Ancoats. Where vintage shops lie next to artisan bakeries and new tower blocks appear faster than the local buses. Blossom Street Social is a small room and only allows walk ins so make sure you plan your visit accordingly.
When I visited at 6.30pm on a Wednesday night we were lucky to get a table but there was never a point in which it felt loud or crowded. Dim lighting and background music, that’s quiet enough for you to have conversations without shouting, but loud enough for you to recognise the motown classics being played, sets the perfect ambiance for enjoying a meal with friends, colleagues and loved ones.
The menu comprises what would normally be a tasting menu, a selection of small dishes highlighting the best of the chefs abilities and allowing you to experience their signature style. Caroline Martins introduces a modern Brazilian-British fusion cuisine with her passion project ‘Sao Paulo’ which will be taking residency at a number of pop up venues around the UK. Full of locally sourced ingredients and authentic Brazilian flavours, the entire menu seems too good not to try it all. So of Course I ask for one of everything.
The journey begins with a selection of three canapes which genuinely look like edible art. It’s almost a shame to eat them but then reading the descriptions of what each one is quickly has me salivating with an immediate need to dig right in. The chicken liver and Acai parfait and cabuta gel in a spinach cone is delicious whilst the tartlet of smoked salmon, Brazilian style cream cheese, brazil nut and Exmoor caviar is the kind of tiny mosul that you would happily eat 10 of if there was no one there to stop you.
On to the bread course and having been on a no carb diet for a month I simply could not wait to savour every last mouthful, but as we cut into the soft and shiny brioche buns, inside were pieces of Calabresa Sausage and I knew that this was some next level bread. Paired perfectly with a caramelised onion butter and a beef fat ‘candle’ (it really was a candle, lit and everything!) to dip the warm bread in, we agreed that we would visit for this dish alone whilst enjoying a book and a glass of wine any day of the week.
I always love to see a scallop on the menu, it’s one of those things I never cook at home as I don’t believe you can enjoy them unless they are fresh. Carolines hand-dived scallop with cassava mousseline and heart of palm is beautifully cooked, with enough charred flavour and lashings of sauce to make it light yet incredibly moorish. Having enjoyed our starters we were ready for something a bit more beefy, which came in the form of the butcher’s quarter dry ages picanha. I don’t need to tell you that the beef was expertly cooked and well seasoned but it also came with the perfect accompaniments of lovely soft baroness potatoes, bason and corn cassava crumble and a celeriac and horseradish sauce. The dish was also accompanied by cinderwood salad leaves with the most delicious lime and Manchester honey dressing. For only £12 this dish was of such a high standard and was the perfect example of knowledge of flavour and finesse.
The British cheese selection had four cheeses such as the Cumberland farmhouse and a lovely smoked Lancashire as well as cassava starch biscuits, mango and passionfruit chutney, spiced banana compote and a polypore mushroom relish. I decided to take half the selection home with me as I wanted to save room for the next course which I had seen on Instagram the night before and simply couldn’t wait to try.
Called Romeu & Julieta, this incredible dessert looks like a red toadstool on a bed of soil surrounded by wildflowers. The definition of edible art, every table of drinkers looks round to see when they are brought to us, just as excited to see what’s inside as I am. The red top is full of guava parfait and a layer of guava jam atop of a parmesan genoise sponge whilst the stalk contains Sangiorgio’s Minas cheese surrounded by white chocolate. The soil is dormouse chocolate and lime crumble with Platt Fields Market Garden edible flowers. Don’t be afraid of the sound of cheese and fruit together in a dessert because once you try it you’ll understand why these ingredients are put together so beautifully. It is a joy to eat and full of excitement by combining each and every element and getting a new taste sensation with every mouthful.
We finish the meal with one last treat from Caroline herself who brings us what looks like a snowball with a teeny tiny strawberry on top, she advises us that the fruit is native to Brazil and is meant to invoke the senses and awaken your taste buds. Whilst the soft marshmallow texture and the slight crunch of the coconut is nice, the sensation of what comes next I can only describe as mouth-wateringly amazing and certainly a different way of ending a meal as to my usual unbuttoning of the top button on my jeans and sitting back whilst slowly finishing my wine.
There is of course no shortage of wine at Blossom Street Social and it is well worth taking some time to look through the walls of bottles as you enter in order to choose something special to enjoy. Along with a vest selection of craft ales and beers, the staff are extremely friendly and happy to help you decide which will go best not only for you and your tastes but with the dishes you choose from the ever changing menu.
To conclude, I’d have to say that this is a really special place, one that focuses on the chefs and their ability to choose the best ingredients to develop their menus and highlight their own cultures and cuisines. Even if you don’t fancy the full menu, there are so many stand out courses that any combination will leave you feeling like you’ve eaten in a Michelin restaurant, the standard is that high, and I for one can’t wait to see what the future brings for Blossom Street Social.
Blossom Street Social
51 Blossom Street
Manchester, M4 6AJ