Saturday 27 July 2013

Sergeant Sausage in Linda’s Pantry

As I was staying two nights in Manchester I had the opportunity for a second fry up investigation.  I was catching a mid morning train and the word on the street was that there was a decent breakfast to be had less than five minutes from Piccadilly station.
With my Frying Squad issue notebook in hand I took a wander to 23 Ducie Street.

The prime suspect

 A breakfast this cheap normally sets the alarm bells ringing

Reminds me of the hatch at the cop-shop, but serving traditional home cooked food

Particulars to be taken down

The word is traditional

A good mug of strong tea

The big breakfast, complete with slice of Spam

 Cooked to perfection

Good Egg

Excellent black pudding, and Spam!

The home cooked pies looked amazing

Upon entering – Not far from Manchester Piccadilly and backing on to a 2nd hand car lot Linda’s Pantry looked very inviting as I approached. An al fresco experience was on offer, but I wouldn’t be doing my duty if I didn’t enter the property. Inside its small but perfectly formed. A large drinks cabinet to one side. Solid formica tables with bolted down plastic chairs just screams traditional café at you.  I knew I was in for a treat and just felt compelled to approach the serving counter   9/10

Service – The lady behind the counter was very welcoming and having spotted the big breakfast on the blackboard my mind was made up.  I don’t think I have ever seen a fry up with a slice of spam on it so I knew I had to have it. The guy behind the counter, who I guess was the owner, then took my order again, just to make sure, and it was really charming.  The place had a great feeling of community about it and the staff seemed to know all the customers and chatted away to them, but as a stranger I didn’t feel at all out of place. Everything was quick to arrive on the table. This was traditional northern hospitality at its best. 10/10

Contents – 2 bacon, 2 sausage, black pudding, Spam (yes I know!) mushrooms, 1 egg, 2 hash browns, baked beans, tinned tomato, toast.   9/10

Presentation – Faultless. It was a lot of content on a big plate. Under the egg the beans and tinned tomato nestled nicely. It just looked exactly right.   9/10

The food – The first thing I noticed is that it was all piping hot, which is exactly how a fry up should be served. The mushrooms were delicious, if a little oily, but this was a fry up with the emphasis on fry. I know the Inspector is a fan of tinned tomatoes and when they are done right I can understand why, and these were done just right, really adding to the beans which they pooled with.  The bacon was a standard cut and tasted good, but the sausages were a bit of a let down, of the same chip shop variety as I had sampled the previous day, all the same they were cooked perfectly. The black pudding actually took me back to my childhood, that’s how good it was, not because it was a super gourmet expensive variety, but the fact that it was also cooked perfectly. Nice egg too, the yolk wasn’t overly runny, but runny enough. 9/10

Value for money – Really, at £4.95 for such a heaving plate of contents including tea and toast you cannot go wrong. N&N Hospital take note!! 10/10

Veggie option – I didn’t see one on offer, so I will have to say no. Chips & gravy?

Overall – The setup and the team running Linda’s Pantry reminded me a lot of Hartys. This was traditional café grub honed to perfection over the years. I’m pretty sure one of the ladies was Linda and the guy was the owner, whether they were husband and wife I don’t know, but the buzz about the place was good. Every order that came in, either on foot or on the phone the guy seemed to get wrong, or have to question, or offer an extra slice of toast instead of an egg, but it was just all done a bit tongue in cheek and was just good honest fun. The fry up was excellent, not your gourmet ingredients, but cooked by experienced professionals who got the best out of the food, at a great price. If I wanted to be brutally honest I would say that perhaps the food was a teeny bit stodgy, and its not cooked in the healthiest of mediums, but this is a traditional northern fry up, and if you find yourself in Manchester, Sergeant Sausage recommends Linda’s Pantry.  9/10

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