Twisted Med: A whimper, not a bang
The Twisted Med
Tel: 0161 839 7099
Opening hours: Lunch: Tuesday - Friday: 12:00pm - 3:00pm, Saturday - Sunday: 12:00pm - 5:30pm Dinner: Monday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 10:00pm, Sunday: 5:30pm - 8:30pm
YOU know those tales of woe where a rogue sat nav sends an unfortunate motorist into a river? Well our trip to The Twisted Med started out like that, although for “motorist” substitute “hungry couple” and for “river” substitute “fog of confusion.”
Opened in September, The Twisted Med is on the former site of trendy Manchester bar Barca, a venue which I avoided like the plague due to an antipathy to its owner, Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall, a man that gives ginger people a bad name.
By the time we’d worked out that to find the place we had to skirt past the canal and cut through a back street, we’d worked up an appetite, but the cosy restaurant, with a choice of booths or tables by the window was promising. The views are amazing even on a dark winter evening, so the spot must be an absolute joy in summer.
Reading the menu makes the mouth water, and we were expecting a treat. What we got, however, was... ordinary. Average. Unfortunately unthrilling.
In a starter of pan seared scallops (£8.75), the bacon was overcooked and the sweet potato puree almost threatened to overpower the taste of the scallops. Grilled goat’s cheese (£5.50) was advertised as served on a “toasted crostini”, which it turns out translates as “piece of warmish bread” and the dish suffered for the lack of crunch to contrast with the soft cheese.
For mains, it being January and time to tackle the excesses of Christmas, we both ordered fish.
We were told the tuna steak (£13.75) came cooked medium-rare, but slightly uneven cooking meant that appeared to be more of a target than a rule. It was a good cut of fish, but the combination of oily fish, heavy roasted vegetables and a slab of Dauphinoise made my other half’s waistband scream and beg for mercy.
Sea bass with lemon dressing (£16.75) tasted more of mustard than lemon and more of dressing than fish, but there were two huge fillets served that both had a nice texture, and the spicy potatoes were a minor hit, although as they were of varying sizes some were overdone and some a little under. The slivers of cucumber made a refreshing addition, cutting through the spice nicely. One fillet would have been plenty, and there were so many potatoes my own waistband gave a little whimper.
I was excited about the prospect of Eton mess (£5.50), which is my all-time favourite dessert, but after 20 minutes wondered if perhaps they were travelling to the school itself to source it. Once realisation dawned on our waitress that thanks to a lost order we were still waiting (and you could see it play across her face when she looked at our table with a level of expression that would do any soap actress proud) the situation was quickly rectified, but with only around a dozen people in the restaurant doesn’t bode well for the level of service at peak times.
Despite its flaws, the food at The Twisted Med wasn’t bad. But we ate nothing that I couldn’t have just as easily made at home — and I never keep myself waiting for Eton mess. The ideas were good but the cooking itself seemed to lack the finesse which makes eating out such fun.
We were booked in on a voucher which gave us a 60 per cent discount, making the meal amazing value — you probably can’t eat that cheaply in a Toby Carvery nowadays. But £6.25 for a glass of house red is too much and if we were paying full price for the food I would have felt let down.
The January sale has only a few more days to run, so if you’re curious to try The Twisted Med book in as soon as possible. Otherwise, a trip to a decent fishmonger and an hour experimenting in the kitchen will probably provide much the same result.
There’s plenty of choice for vegetarians, with four of the five salads completely meat-free, including the Nicoise, Greek and warm roasted vegetable salads, plus the Twisted Med’s eponymous combination of figs, cherry tomatos, basil leaves, toasted pine nuts, baby mozarella balls and mixed Italian olives. Three hot main options include risotto, moussaka and stuffed peppers, but there is less choice in the starters, with only the goat’s cheese and the homous suitable for veggies. Pescatarians, however, will be thrilled with the fish-heavy menu.