Who says students eat badly? Steak and Lobster @ ALTO.

12 Feb

Okay – so we had a bit of a reason to celebrate and after discovering this gorgeous place, who could resist? Nestled in the heart of Manchester’s Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel, we struggled to find our way inside. After lapping the hotel once – with neither hide nor hair of Alto to be found – we considered the possibility that into the exclusive Blu Hotel we must delve and so with trembling boots (oh-so-glad I had cleaned them before setting out), we launched through the high glass doors.

Apparently these were the wrong ones as there was a doorman who came running up to us to hold it open, looking greatly irritated. Having never come across a doorman before, I held the door open for him out of politeness which soon mingled with slight embarrassment when I realised that I was, as it were, ‘cramping his style’.

Onward through the immaculately polished atrium (think pale marble and sofas with perfectly plumped cushions on which no body dares to sit) and head-first into the Alto. Finally we had found it, and we were late. One look at our French Waiter and the other suited clientele told me I should really have worn heels. We were shown to our table and once again I realised too late that in a well-practiced flourish a chair was being pulled out for me (accompanied with traditional smooth smile of proficiency), as I proceeded onto faux pas number two in what seemed to be my debut in offending etiquette – walking straight passed said chair and plonking down elsewhere. Another disgruntled face from the French Waiter.

Alto offers only two choices on its select menu – that of a 10oz rib eye steak and a whole lobster. For the life of me I could not pick between them so (thank goodness) we decided to share. There was the usual – How would you like your steak, sir? Rare – until I was asked, And Miss, how would you like your lobster? A slight silence followed this as in my head I was getting a million, what does he mean how? Does lobster come rare?? The waiter came to my rescue and with intense relief I was prompted with the options of grilled or steamed. Grilled then, jolly good.

Drink choices afterwards and horrified by the nine-hundred pound bottle of champagne (with a white wine coming close second at over eight-hundred) I squeaked that I would pleasejusthavetheSauvignonBlancthankyou, which calmed me down a bit. Able to look around, there was some magnificently crimson art on the walls and we found ourselves giggling over the revolving yet static chairs.

Food arrived quickly, looking fabulous. The lobster on my plate seemed to be accompanied by a pair of fancy pliers which we finally discerned were for the claws (it would have taken us far less time if we have dared ask our amused French Waiter). Being a lobster-virgin, I believe I was overly excited. Diving in, it was buttery and sweet and covered in a garlic and chive butter and it was disappearing within seconds, so I concentrated my energies on tackling the salad. Overjoyed to find this was just as delicious (Parmesan, leaves, onion, pine nuts) I began to slow down and took to the cracking open of the claws, which was great fun, if a bit messy to this inexperienced lobster-eater. Once again I was redeemed by our attentive Waiter who produced two small tablets on a saucer, poured over hot water and before my eyes they billowed into marshmallow-like hand cloths. Magic.

21 month 08.02.2013 1

10oz rib eye; Alto, Manchester

Moving on to try the steak – all I can say, it this was the best steak I have eaten. This is a grand claim, as I have eaten rather a few. The flames had given it the most divine flavour and it was perfectly, perfectly cooked. As it was rare, the fact that it had been well hung came through in the wonderfully tender meat. I have never been more tempted to order another.

21 month 08.02.2013 2

Banoffee pie; Alto, Manchester

For desert (which was included in the price) we opted for the banoffee pie and the English cheese board. The only minor downfall to the evening was this banoffe pie – we asked, how fresh was it? However, having complete conviction in the restaurant’s standards, we agreed that it was just not to our taste. The great chunks of banana were luscious yet the strawberries were hard and under ripe, sour even. The pastry left much to be desired and the cream/meringue mixture on the top was beyond strange.

21 month 08.02.2013 3

English Cheese Board; Alto, Manchester.

My choice was the cheese board… Oh, how pleased I was when three were served up with a gooseberry (a berry incredibly close to my fondest childhood memories) compote. One cheese stood out from the rest and, harassing our Waiter, I discovered that it was none other that a Burt’s Blue cheese. This is, my reader, the absolute King of Cheese. Melting on the board with ripeness, mature enough to make my eyes water (with sheer elation), this creamy blue was like no cheese before. It was staggering indulgence, it was sublime; it has spoiled me for all other cheese. Researching this Cheese King as soon as arriving home, I found it was locally produced and easy enough for me to get my hands on… Cheese lovers, please please try.

With our bill, our French Waiter turned out not to be French but instead a Mr. Dybikowski who, even though we were evidently floundering grandeur, was marvelous. I bid farewell to the doorman on exit and offered a silent apology for my sillies.

I could not have had a better time.

At fifteen pounds a head including a free desert, free refills of chips and that heavenly salad it was superb. I would once again succumb to feeling completely and inevitably bewildered in that pristine, refined environment if only I were not a student who would be panicking at the aftermath in my bank balance. However if in the perfect life I was to return, I would most definitely, most certainly, without fail dress up.



21 month 08.02.2013 4

Llama! in the atrium

Steak and Lobster at Alto on Urbanspoon


One Response to “Who says students eat badly? Steak and Lobster @ ALTO.”


  1. Breakfast at Cicchetti | topnotchfodder - April 6, 2013

    […] We also went for dinner at Alto later in the evening – I’m delighted I went back, it’s just. so. […]

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