Published on 22nd March 2016

58 Mosley St, Manchester.
M2 3LQ

Rating: *** ½

Named after the year the Vegetarian Society was formed, 1847 serves modern dishes across four menus; á la carte, taster, Sunday lunch and express lunch. Rated 4/5 stars on Trip Advisor, and voted “Best Vegetarian Restaurant outside London” in the Cook Vegetarian Awards 2014, we were really looking forward to a relaxed lunch in this popular Manchester restaurant.

Just a stones’ throw away from the busy shopping centres, theatres and arenas, we thought this would be the perfect place to stop for some lunch, without worrying about any meat in the kitchen!

The summer Spring/Summer menu looked divine, and we struggled to pick what we wanted! Between the four of us, we opted for 6 dishes – both starters and mains, and shared between us.

When we arrived, there was just one other table in the restaurant – quieter than expected. There was one man serving, but as it was so quiet, we didn’t see this as an issue. Our drinks order was taken and before he’d had chance to make them, more and more tables were piling in – within just under 10 minutes and the place was full (which proves how popular this place is!) Unfortunately, it did mean quite a long wait to receive our drinks and place an order, as he was rushed off his feet on his own!

The dishes we ordered were:

Mushrooms & Garlic, Polenta & Tomato Relish with Poached Egg
This was a lovely starter dish – the egg was cooked to perfection, and the mushrooms were perfectly fried with just a hint of garlic. Nothing too overpowering – lovely combination.

Beer Battered Halloumi, Mushy Pea Emulsion, Lemon Curd & Sea Herbs
This was without a doubt our favourite dish from the menu – there was a bit of a fight over the halloumi as there were three pieces between four! This was the ideal vegetarian version of the classic British fish & chips, with creamy mushy pea emulsion, complimented perfectly with the lemon curd. Delicious!!

Creamed Shallot & Leek Crêpe, Spiced Sticky Red Cabbage, Roast Root Vegetables
This was up there with the halloumi with the flavour profile – perfectly thin crêpe with a lovely texture from the creamed shallots and leeks. The spiced sticky red cabbage was hit and miss with us, but overall a tasty dish.

Goats Curd, Salt Baked Beetroot & Mint Pea
This dish was rather disappointing – it seemed that with this option, they were going for a style over substance approach. The tiny discs of candy strip beetroot – while visually appealing; were quite bland. The goats curd had a lovely whipped texture, but again lacked the strong goats’ cheese flavour you would expect. The whole dish felt like it had something missing.

Squash Veloute, Gnocchi, Burnt Leek & Feta Terrine
This sounded delicious on the menu, but we were rather underwhelmed. Presentation wise, this was beautiful. The gnocchi and the butternut purée were very stodgy and heavy; and it was difficult to place the flavours of the terrine. Overall, a relatively bland dish – could’ve perhaps bumped up the feta a little for more flavour.

Mushroom Ragout, Dumplings, Cauliflower & Baby Potato
This was probably the dish we liked the least – visually, the dish was quite dull as the colours were very pale (if you discount the leaf garnish). They tried to keep things simple to appeal more to the masses, but we found this very similar to a bland chunky mushroom soup.

We gave this restaurant a 3.5 out of 5 – while some of the dishes were lovely, we liked the ideas of the rest, but felt they weren’t well executed. It was also a bit of a let-down that we waited so long for things, but we realise that couldn’t be helped as our waiter was on his own. Definitely a restaurant to try if you’re in the area, but be careful which dishes you pick!