Revamped Gastro Pub, The Black Friar, has launched its new Autumn/Winter menu. Celebrating the harvest season, and the abundance of local seasonal produce, chef Ben Chaplin’s menu is also a chance to showcase his team’s cooking techniques and presentation skills.

Although over the river in Salford, the iconic boozer – which reopened in July 2021 after a £1.4M refurbishment – is only a short walk from Deansgate and Spinningfields. With its cosy pub area, refined dining room and enclosed pub garden area, The Black Friar has become the perfect spot to meet up with friends, family and colleagues over warming dishes, fine wines, craft beers and bespoke cocktails.

Chef Ben Chaplin has over 18 years of culinary experience, including his previous role as senior sous chef at 20 Stories and his food recently received a glowing review from national food critic, Jay Rayner.

We went along recently to try some of the dishes on the new menu which utilise the best autumn ingredients whilst providing guests with a bit of upmarket comfort food. Suppliers include Chorlton’s WH Frost Butchers who source their meat from local Cheshire and North West farms, and The Crafty Cheese Man, who provide The Black Friar kitchens with a wide variety of English cheeses.

Autumnal starters include roasted spiced heritage pumpkin soup with a pine nut and seed crumb (£8) and a home-made Venison Ravioli with venison pastrami and a salsify game broth (£15). We loved the luxurious simplicity of foraged mushrooms on toast with cep purée and Parmesan crisps (£11.) Scottish seared scallops were fresh and delicate, slightly bullied by a heavy fruit pigs white pudding (sausage meat with a good PR?) and complemented by a seasonal Pink Lady apple purée (£15).

For the mains, there’s a daily changing pie (£17 – on the day of our visit it was minced beef and onion) but we looked for comfort in a Cumbrian Shredded Lamb Hot Pot served in a mini black iron skillet (£25). We peaked under the signature overlapping layer of crispy sliced potatoes to find a mass of meaty goodness. ‘Eek, no gravy?’, said my friend in a panic (she’s from Lancashire where families can fall out over the ‘correct’ way to make their regional dish.) Turns out chef Chaplin knows what he’s doing. The tender slow cooked lamb shoulder was just fine without the need for extra wet.

Need to give a special mention to hot pot’s long-term partner red cabbage. Here it’s served hot, slightly pickled, and as a hearty wedge rather than the shredded version we’re all used to. Nice touch, really loved that.

Lighter but still as comforting was pan-fried stone bass laid on a dramatic looking bed of curried black lentils, interspersed with cubes of pickled pumpkin and crispy rainbow kale (£19.) Filling, comforting, fresh, healthy and good looking, but just missing one base note…a touch of coconut cream?

The Blackfriars burger (£17) is still on the menu, with a vegan version available too. Seasonal vegetarian dishes include roast Jerusalem artichoke and blue cheese

Risotto with truffle crisps (£16), or there’s the distinctly more carnivorous British Pork Tomahawk (£23) with bubble and squeak, and homemade mushroom and shallot sauce.

There’s also the option to pimp up your plate with a couple of side dishes. Crispy hot truffle fries with a generous sprinkling of grated Grana Padano and a bowl of seasonal greens (both £5) did the trick for us.

Desserts are all made in house from scratch and while you can give it full on comfort with a sticky toffee pudding (£8), we kept it light with a pretty purple poached pear and blackberry trifle with amaretto biscuit and Chantilly cream. We also recommend the wedge of roasted pineapple with silky coconut lime mousse and a home-made chilli sorbet – it works, but it takes your brain a while to get into.

The Black Friar is as justifiably proud of their wine list as they are at keeping a decent pint and there’s a great choice of dessert wines and after dinner cocktails too. Plan your visit on weekdays between 4-6.30pm and you can take advantage of their Happy Hour with great prices on wine, prosecco and a couple of house cocktails.

“Greater Manchester has a thriving food and drink scene, and here at The Black Friar we are always trying to elevate our dining offering by reaching higher levels of culinary prowess and ingenuity,” said Chef Ben Chaplin. “This Autumn + Winter á la carte menu has been crafted with fresh local ingredients, inspired by hearty comforting British traditional dishes with mouth-watering flavours.”

The Black Friar is open Monday to Sunday 12pm – 10pm. See the menus and book HERE or call 0161 667 9555

The Black Friar, 41-43 Blackfriars Road, M3 7DB

Follow @theblackfriarsalford


The Black Friar’s Garden Bar has now been transformed into their new Winter Tavern where guests can escape the chill with fires, frolics and feasting over the festive season. 

The Winter Tavern is taking bookings now. Book online for groups of up to 8 people (4 people minimum booking) or make an enquiry for larger groups. The Tavern can accommodate up to 45 people seated and 55 standing for private parties. The Winter Tavern is equipped with everything you need to get the party going including its own bar, DJ station and bathrooms.  The Black Friar team can help plan your event, and even provide entertainment from their vast pool of contacts. The space is also bookable for New Year’s Eve.

See the menus and book HERE or call 0161667955. (T&Cs apply.)


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