WE only meant to pop in to Alabama’s All American Eatery to check out what’s in store there for Pancake Tuesday. Because if there’s one place in town where you’re guaranteed a substantial wedge of batter heaven (not some weedy crepe) it’s the NQ brunch specialists now reopened after last summer’s fire.
How they’ll be celebrating Shrove Tuesday is still a work in progress (unlike the stylish refit), front of house man Mickey Day told us. He also solved our puzzlement over why there’s a proliferation of Bill Murray images. “Our owner (Bradley Parkins) is a big fan of Wes Anderson films. When we did our Cafe Bama pop-up in Afflecks that Bill Murray pic was propped up there.”
Apparently his fave Wes movie is ‘The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou’. ToM’s is ‘The Royal Tenebaums, though ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ is a grower. Whatever, this cineaste whimsy is part of the charm of the reborn Alabama’s. As in a different way is the random sprinkling of beetroot dust over many of the plates for savouries.
Of course, none of this would matter a jot without a menu also scattered with stardust. They seem to have guaranteed that by hiring as head chef Charlie Hadley, who previously ran the kitchens at Deaf Institute and Gorilla. We stayed on to inspect her changes.
Charlie has introduced a stronger vegan element to the menu. We shared a substantial £8 plate of pan-tossed forest mushrooms on sourdough, smothered in a vegan cream, presumably a soy bechamel. Neither the texture or taste of the latter was to our liking, but the tangle home-made onion pickles was a treat. As was, as requested, a fiercely spicy Double Drago Bloody Mary, featuring hoisin and wasabi. More my thing than the Shakes roster, though reports on that are enthusiastic.
Being brunch-central there must be a big outlay on eggs. For an Eggs Royale (£10.50) two poached free range beauties met a substantial of smoked salmon with hollandaise and parsley.
That’s a perfect light option. Steak hash (£12) is fuel for gilet jaune construction workers, not feeble lap-top Instagrammers like yours truly. Ample rump, ham hock, a skip’s worth of potato hash, eggs naturally and smoky chipotle mayonnaise. So no room for pancakes this time.
Alabama’s All American Eatery, 10 Newton Street, Manchester M1 2AN. 0161 236 4666. All-day brunch from 9am until 3pm on weekdays and 9am-5pm at weekends.