For my birthday this year, Kieran and I decided to go to Aumbry in Prestwich for a tasting menu. I love a tasting menu – it’s typically a meal of at least 5 courses. I’ve had a tasting menu of 13 courses before! Because there are more and smaller courses, the meal becomes an event and more than just your usual dining experience.

I can’t believe we hadn’t made it up to Aumbry before, as it is literally 5 minutes up the road from where we live. As it turns out, it’s one of the best places to eat in Manchester. We were seated at a table so close to the kitchen that we could see the chefs at work on the pass – including Mary Ellen Mctague of Great British Menu fame.

First, we were taken upstairs to a parlour, where we had a drink and some amuse bouche.

We were then taken to our table. The restaurant is a converted cottage, which makes it very small and intimate, with a relaxed yet chic atmosphere. I prefer this type of restaurant to dining in a big, imposing hall.

The bread was served with dripping, which was AMAZING. So much better than oil and vinegar. Actually, the dripping was a highlight for me!

I was delighted to discover that this was the first of many courses that incorporated beetroot. It’s pretty much my favourite vegetable and the pickled version complemented the oiliness of the mackerel perfectly.

Believe it or not, that is not an egg yolk. It’s spherified cocoa butter. Clever, huh?! You pop into it and all this gooey silky liquid came out. This dish was subtley flavoured and perfectly excecuted – and isn’t it beautiful looking?

Kieran HATES tomato of any kind. So he took a polite sip of the broth and then shoved it in my direction. Not a problem for me – the consomme was clear and refreshing with tomato flavour. Plus, I love a bit of goat’s cheese.

Despite my love for beets, the fact that the fish and langoustines were sweet and perfectly cooked and it was all tied together with a well balanced and interesting lapsang souchong sauce, my favourite thing on the plate was actually the greens. They were so tasty, so well seasoned and with the crunch in there it provided a much needed texture to the plate. I was still talking about those greens when I got home.

I loved the sucking pig lollipop and I’d never tried yarrow before.

The first dessert was FANTASTIC.

A nod to the amuse bouche, we got a chocolate and beetroot (yes, beetroot) cake with spherified bee pollen which posed as an egg yolk.

We then had various courses of cheeses, sweets, drinks, things that smelled and of course, more drinks.

Aumbry is well worth the price tag. We were there till gone midnight and the waiting staff couldn’t have been more courteous and helpful. The food was everything I expected it to be – really accomplished and inventive cookery. What else would you expect from a chef that used to work at the Fat Duck?!