Beating the Burgers at Manhattan Grill, West India Quay:
I didn’t get a chance to do anything special for the 4th of July this year. Then, I discovered that the Burger Challenge to celebrate the 4th of July will run all month at the Manhattan Grill. What better excuse to indulge in a burger and chips!
When we arrived, the restaurant was almost empty. But then at 6.30pm on a Friday evening most of the Docklands set are still in the bars. What that did mean though was that we had the chance to enjoy a comprehensive wine tasting.
The wine list is comprehensive and well priced. And, we learnt through the tasting, that it is well managed too. All too often I find white wines served so cold they are impossible to taste. The Manhattan grill uses an Enomatic wine system. That allows the restaurant to serve a good range of quality red wines by the glass too. If you visit and want to try the wines on offer, you can indulge in a short, informal wine tasting. The staff will let you try a whole range of options, guiding you through so that your wine is matched not just to your food but also to your palate. I REALLY like that concept – it seems to me to marry the best of both worlds. While a sommelier will always make a recommendation for a wine pairing, how can they know exactly what works for you? It always seems a little churlish to say ‘not that’ when something has been opened and poured especially for you to taste.
We started the meal with classic but excellent starters – scallops with a pea puree for me, prawns for my dining companion. The menu at the Manhattan Grill is dominated by contemporary classics. It is somewhere that you might come for an evening out where the company was as important as the food. To achieve that, the food needs to be well cooked and unquestionably good. If not, the conversation will focus back onto what isn’t right. But, both menu and style of food at Manhattan Grill works effectively.
There are three burgers on offer this month to celebrate 4th July. At £15 each (including a side order of chips), you can choose from American (with Monterey Jack, garlic mushroom and onion rings) British (Aberdeen Angus Burger with a fried egg, gammon and tomato relish) or ‘The Other’ – a Lamb burger with a topping of pickled onion, coriander and mint yoghurt. My dining companion was quick off the mark to order the American and I took the recommendation of our waiter and ordered ‘The Other’.
We were really impressed with the quality of the burgers. Lamb in particular can be gristly. Not here though, it was full flavoured and very tender. My dining companion’s burger was pronounced excellent and I was just a little jealous of his brioche style bun. Chips were really crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. And everything was beautifully presented.
Ordering desserts was more for the purpose of checking the menu. And I have to admit defeat by chocolate in the form of a very delicious double chocolate cake with clotted cream. No fault of the kitchen though.
Meanwhile my dining companion was enjoying what he said was a very well executed Key Lime Pie.
All in, we had an excellent evening and particularly enjoyed the wine tasting. We ended up pairing a couple of glasses of Rioja Don Jacobo, Crianza Bodegas Corral 2009 with our burgers – at £33 a bottle, an affordable extravagance.
22 Hertsmere Road,
London, E14 4ED