Since returning to Manchester a year ago, I’ve not been to nearly as many Manchester restaurants as I’d have liked.
I seem to live in a perpetual state of knowing I need to reacquaint myself with Manchester’s culinary offerings, while at the same time, never getting around to it.
This past Sunday, however, the gastro gods were on my side.
Ethan mentioned that he was craving a buffet-style carvery, and while I’m always up for a cheap and cheerful carvery, I wasn’t really in the mood to be surrounded by screaming kids, and mentioned that I’d much rather find a nice city centre pub where we could get a roast instead.
As luck would have it, we discovered that there aren’t any Toby Carvery joints anywhere near the centre of town, and so after a brief sulk from Ethan, we found ourselves on our way to Albert Square to try out The Fountain House, which allegedly serves the best Sunday roast in Manchester.
Is This the Best Sunday Roast in Manchester? | The Fountain House Review
The Fountain House is a city centre gastropub, situated in an iconic 155-year-old Grade II listed building in the Venetian Gothic Revival style.
Perched on the corner of Albert Square, it’s in a great central location, although when you step inside, you’ll feel like you’ve entered a cosy village pub, albeit a rather posh one.
We’d chosen a horrible day to leave the house, with fierce winds and the kind of stubborn drizzle that is somehow worse than actual rain, but that just made The Fountain House even more inviting.
With exposed brickwork, brown leather seats with velvet cushions, soft lighting and plenty of dark polished wood (as well as some stunning gilt mirrors that I wanted to take home), the interior of The Fountain House is traditional yet chic.
As nice as the decor is, what really matters is the food.
The Fountain House pride themselves on having a ‘pub menu with a premium feel,’ and their menu, which features fresh and locally-sourced ingredients, changes seasonally.
When we visited, we were set on getting a roast, but I have to admit, there were a few things on the menu that caught my eye, even on the reduced Sunday menu.
From the starters, I liked the look of the braised lamb shoulder spring roll with sour cream and cherry harissa (£7) as well as the wild mushroom parfait with onion chutney, smoked garlic, and truffle sourdough (£8.50).
When it came to the mains, the man at the next table had a great looking plate of fish and chips served with pea liquor, tartare sauce, and salt and vinegar chips (£15.50), and I was also tempted by roasted cauliflower Thai green curry with coconut rice and charred corn (£12.50), that had the option to add grilled tiger prawns (£4) or chicken (£3.50).
However, we were here to sample what could be the best Sunday roast in Manchester, and so we stuck to our guns and didn’t venture off-piste.
After much deliberation, Ethan opted for the roast beef and horseradish cream, served with roast potatoes, maple carrots, garlic kale, mulled red cabbage, Yorkshire pudding, and gravy (£19.50), while I plumped for the chicken version, which also came with sage and onion stuffing and a pig in a blanket (£18), as well as all the goodies that Ethan got.
Now, before we get into the quality of the food itself, I will say that I felt pretty smug about my order; not only was my portion of chicken much larger than Ethan’s beef, but his plate didn’t include stuffing or a pig in a blanket either – something to bear in mind if you have a big appetite!
He did, however, have to admit that the beef, which was thinly-sliced and pink in the middle, was incredibly tender (I can also confirm this!), and my whole chicken leg had wonderfully crispy skin and juicy meat that fell off the bone.
The meat wasn’t the only thing to write home about though.
The triple-cooked dripping roasties were crispy on the outside yet fluffy on the inside, the Yorkshire puddings were huge, and the rich gravy perfectly complemented the flavours of the garlic kale and mulled red cabbage.
To wash everything down, I enjoyed a cold pint of Manchester Union Lager (approx. £5) while Ethan enjoyed a large glass of red from the extensive wine list (approx. £8).
If you have room for dessert, this is where you can get some legendary British puds, including sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and clotted cream ice cream (£6.50), vanilla-poached strawberry Eton mess (£7), and Manchester Tart with banana custard (£7).
Good to Know
The Fountain House is dog-friendly, meaning your pooches are welcome to join you for your dinner.
Vegetarians and vegans are catered for, with a Vegan Wellington making it onto the Sunday menu, and the main menu featuring vegan fish and chips (with curry sauce!), and cauliflower Thai green curry.
Dishes on the menu range from £12.50 (Thai green curry) to £22.50 (sirloin steak), with most coming in between £14-16.
The Fountain House is open Tue – Thu 12:00pm – 11:00pm, Fri – Sat 12:00pm – 12:00am, and Sun 12:00pm – 10:30pm.
You can book a table on their website.
The Fountain House Manchester | Final Thoughts
So, was this the best roast in Manchester?
I’m not sure.
It was definitely very good, but there were a couple of things I’d change.
First, it didn’t seem fair that Ethan didn’t get the pig in a blanket or sage and onion stuffing – you can’t have a Sunday roast without stuffing!
I would have also welcomed some buttery mash or cauliflower cheese (the latter of which was available to order as a side dish for £5.50), but perhaps I’ve been spoilt by the endless options at cheap carvery buffets.
I’d give it an 8/10, which is pretty good, if you ask me.
If you’re looking for other places to eat in Manchester, you might find my guide to the best restaurants in the Northern Quarter useful!
Do you recommend a particular Sunday roast, Manchester?
Let me know in the comments section below!
Until next time,
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