Prior to this, I hadn’t had the pleasure of a visit to the Cotton Factory. Also, I hadn’t had the ‘pleasure’ of being so utterly perplexed by a dessert. But more of that later.
Well aware of previous occupant, El Camino, now a fully fledged resident in the not too distant Didsbury, this was to be my first chance to experience the developed Whitworth Locke. Somewhat foolishly I asked the guy roaming around near the door where I may find the Cotton Factory as on first appearance it isn’t necessarily obvious, however such interrogation was probably unnecessary as the smoke emanating from a nearby area was clue enough. This wasn’t smoke as in an alarming ‘is something burnt/should we call the fire brigade’ type smoke, more an alluring sense that things were being cooked over an open flame there and then, kind of smoke.
Rotation of menus, host chefs and temporary resident brands is no new thing and indeed continues to evolve but there is always that concern for any expectant landlord, supporting PR company or visiting team that, what went before, may have set the bar a little high and expectation is therefore potentially insurmountable. As a diner, I view such a challenge with delight rather than trepidation, plus knowing a menu such as this is imminent, I have no doubt there will always be something that will make me smile. With Peru Perdu, it all did – for various delightful reasons.
The tuna ceviche, beautifully adorned with the perfect plantain crisp slightly overshadowed the sea bass and samphire take on a similar theme – but only just. The excellent no frills salads were soon relegated to fond memories by the tiger milk fried chicken and sublime red prawns. Peru Perdu Beef is Uruguayan Wet Aged (UWA) and was ridiculously tender and cooked to perfection. A side of corn, cream, chilli and coriander, so simple yet brilliant has inspired domestic recreation, yet the result was a poor imitation. The House Pisco Sour, blended with Macchu Pisco, lime, lemon and chuncho amaro bitters perfectly accompanies all of the above and disappeared worryingly quickly.
This 6 month residency will ignite all the feelings and flavours of Peru but will also offer a little intrigue. Now for that dessert. The Sweet Potato Crumble really is an enigma. Shouldn’t work but it does. And well, doesn’t. It tastes delicious yet has the most remarkably strange texture. A fellow diner claimed that this was the highlight of the meal for them. For me, my confused palate has remained in a dilemma of decision ever since.
The Cotton Factory can be found near Canal Street and not far from Oxford Road and has the feel of a restaurant that wouldn’t be out of place in Barcelona yet feels very Manchester, which probably says more about the City and its evolution than it does the venue. With such a competitive market currently in evidence, Peru Perdu will hold its own and some. As the residency continues, whoever is lined up to take its place will certainly have a hard act to follow.
Peru Perdu at The Cotton Factory
74 Princess Street