The Moortop, Heaton Moor Road
The sleepy suburb of Heaton Moor is all of a buzz at the moment – new dining establishments seem to be springing up on every corner and even the iconic Savoy cinema is currently being restored to its former glory, complete with doric columns and a programme of films that people might actually want to see. So it was interesting to hear that in the midst of all the bustle, Damson’s ebullient owner, Steve Pilling, had quietly taken over the Moortop pub, right across the road from his celebrated gourmet restaurant.
To be honest, the Moortop was always a bit of an anomaly here: it had the ambiance of your average Weatherspoons and specialised in the kind of cut price, ‘pile it high’ deep fried nosh that gives pub grub a bad name. To be fair, the latest incarnation is just a temporary stage. In the New Year, the place will be receiving a full upgrade (more of that when we have the information.) For the moment, its been given a lick of paint and offers a small but classy menu with all items reasonably priced – the ‘proper’ Sunday dinner, complete with a tasty vegetable soup comes in at a tenner – pies and pizzas are priced around £6.75. So you don’t have to break the bank to eat here.
The afternoon we called, we presented them with something of a challenge. There were six of us to dine, three of us vegetarians – but after a little uncertainty, we all found things we were happy to eat. Susan opted for the beef dinner and it was indeed everything you’d expect. Preceded by a small bowl of deliciously creamy parsnip soup, the beef was perfectly cooked, the accompanying vegetables just al dente enough and the Yorkshire pudding (always the trickiest thing to get right) light and crispy. The rich red wine gravy came in its own pot and made a perfect accompaniment.
One of the veggies opted for the same meal without the meat, when she was told that the chef could provide a suitably non-meat gravy. The absence of beef was compensated for by the addition of an extra Yorkshire pudding. Good move!
I sampled the Feta Cheese pie (as did two others in our party), which was satisfyingly flavoursome, the pastry crisp, the filling rich and creamy. It came accompanied with chips, a generous dollop of Manchester caviar (mushy peas) and the aforementioned red wine gravy.
The youngest member of the party wanted a Neapolitan pizza and this was provided, even though, it wasn’t supposed to be on the menu that day. It was wafer thin and crispy and big enough to make it a struggle for her to finish. (Luckily, purely in the interests of this review, we helped her out!)
All in all, a satisfying family Sunday dinner at a great value price. Would we go again? Yes, indeed! It will be interesting to see what plans Steve has for the place in 2016. In the meantime, get on down there and enjoy.