The Fountain House
The Fountain House is the newest lodger of the Gothic-arched Memorial Hall sitting one corner of Albert Square, and its modern old-fashioned surrounds and plentiful portions of proper pub grub – mostly British but with a little European inspiration – do the imposing building proud.
Seasonal is the name of the game menu wise, but expect classics like chicken liver parfait with toasted sourdough starter and mains of lamb shank Lancashire hotpot or fish and chips (cider-battered with triple-cooked dripping chips, pease pudding, tartare sauce and gherkin ketchup). There are traditional ingredients, but done a tad differently, as with the small plates of pan-fried pigeon, which is teamed with goat’s curd, golden raisins, pickled walnuts and pomegranate dressing, or lamb belly fritter with anchovy and caper ketchup (homemade ketchups are a bit of a thing here), and traditional recipes rarely seen these days, such as Charter pie with chicken, ham hock, mushroom and tarragon, served with clotted cream mashed potatoes, charred hispi cabbage and devilled gravy.
Prefer to know what you’re dealing with, then there are steaks – 35-day aged grass-fed Black Angus rump, sirloin and ribeye – and burgers and vegan burgers, but with a twist: bone marrow crumb the former, turmeric bun the latter. Vegetarian options include the likes of agnolotti pasta filled with butternut squash and sage, and topped with roast chestnuts, caramelised Roscoff onions and shallot vinaigrette, or perhaps torched leek hearts drizzled with a dressing and incorporating the many flavours of maple syrup, peanut butter, truffle oil and sherry. Fish courses include whitebait and baby squid and grilled scallops with samphire, or pan-fried sea bass fillet with new potatoes, chorizo, spinach and lemon dressing for more of a summer holiday feel.
Afters at The Fountain House are traditional fayre of the apple crumble and custard or steamed pudding variety, and or course there’s a well-stocked bar, including some good French wines and Didsbury gin.