With its neutral hues and natural foliage, stripped-back bricks and leather booths, The Alan is a tranquil space in which to enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner – the open-plan kitchen serves all day from first thing till late evening – or indeed coffee and cocktails in the bar.
Lunch consists of light bites like truffled mac’n’cheese and sophisticated sarnies such as salt beef, celeriac and dill pickle, a croque madam (sic) comprising Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire cheese topped with fried hen’s egg or sourdough with poached eggs and crushed avocado; as opposed to the smashed avocado of the breakfast options, where you’ll also find a full English plus eggs benedict (bacon), royale (salmon) and florentine (spinach).
Dinner is a moveable feast of oft-changing small plates (think ox cheek terrine or confit Goosnargh chicken thighs with mushroom ketchup and nasturtium) and fayre from The Butcher’s Quarter – on the menu when we checked in, supplies from the NQ and Deansgate meat-eater’s go-to included outdoor-reared free-range pork from Packington, grass-fed Barnsley chop lamb from Great House Farm in Helmshore just 18 miles away in Lancashire and prime 28 to 38 days dry aged sirloin steak from nearby Cheshire.
It’s all about the best of British ingredients currently in season, and the chefs work with independents to source locally from family-run farms and businesses. Veg wise, the winter-into-spring offerings include charred brassicas (broccoli, sprouts, kale), cumin, coriander and pomegranate cauliflower tikka, and salt-baked celeriac given the truffle and sherry vinegar treatment. Pudding? Hell, yeah. Who could resist an Arctic roll done up posh and pretty: vanilla parfait, brambles, red-veined sorrel…
Drinks are also brought in from suppliers a stone’s throw away from The Alan, including speciality coffee roasters Ancoats Coffee, craft breweries Pomona Island and Cloudwater Brew Co., and independent distilleries such as gin experts Ancoats Distillery. When they say local, they really mean local.