With its range of hearty dishes and contemporary setting, Pier Eight is the perfect setting for a pre-show meal or special occasion
Since starting Frankly My Dear UK back in 2014, I’ve been lucky enough to review over 100 productions at The Lowry. Yet apart from a few pre-show drinks, I had never actually eaten there. As well as being a contemporary arts centre, The Lowry is also home to a kick ass restaurant: Pier Eight, which I recently discovered when The Lowry kindly invited me to try out their new autumn menu.
Opened in 2015, Pier Eight is The Lowry’s stylish restaurant and bar, overlooking the stunning waterside setting of Salford Quays and MediaCityUK. Named after its address on Salford Quays, the restaurant forms part of the theatre’s £3m extension, with seating for up to 300 guests and an impressive seasonal menu. Serving fresh, British flavours, it is the perfect setting for a relaxed lunch, pre-show meal or a special occasion. There is also a full bar menu in the Pier Eight Bar for those looking for a more casual dining experience.
Upon entering the restaurant, first impressions are positive. With its squishy booths, bold colours and contemporary seating, Pier Eight certainly looks the part. Taking influence from Scandinavia, the large open plan dining room boasts a soothing palette of soft greys, teals and mustards with a striking ‘tree’ lighting feature in the middle of the room. Large floor-to-ceiling windows offer some of the best night-time views in Salford, with an impressive backdrop of the iconic Imperial War Museum North and the twinkling lights of Salford Quay’s waterfront.
Pier Eight’s autumn menu is brand new for 2017, offering visitors new and old something special. Designed by Executive Head Chef Oliver Thomas, the menu focuses on simple dishes using seasonal ingredients, cooked in a modern British style. Alongside hearty roots, brassicas and rich meat dishes, there’s also a good balance of fish and vegetarian options.
Each course offers eight different dishes to choose from. To start, I ordered the Fried ducks’ egg with, chorizo, crispy squid, saffron mayonnaise and garlic butter. The dish was well-presented, cooked to perfection and packed full of flavour, with each ingredient complementing each other. My dining companion ordered the Pan fried sea bass with sticky braised chicken wings, butter beans and red wine sauce, which looked equally delicious and appeared to be a popular choice amongst the other diners.
The mains range in price from £16 to £24, offering a good range of hearty dishes. I ordered the Pan fried duck breast with Boulangère potatoes, blackberries, celeriac purée and chilli jam. The duck was cooked to my liking and well presented, with the accompanying veg and potatoes piping hot. My dining companion ordered the 8oz rib eye steak with fat chips and grilled tomato. This dish also comes with garlic butter although my companion asked for the dish without it and was presented with a side of rich red wine gravy instead. We also ordered two side dishes of broccoli and buttered carrots, both priced at £3 each.
Pudding is a mixed bag with dishes ranging from £6 to £9. I ordered the Peanut butter and raspberry cheesecake with peanut cluster, with was both light in taste and texture making it the ideal final course. My companion ordered the Salted caramel panna cotta with hazelnut crémeux and apricots, shortbread which was well-presented and reported to be delicious but extremely filling.
Alongside the food, there is a wide selection of drinks with a good stock of gins, wines by the glass and beers on tap. On average, a glass of house wine will set you back around £6 and cocktails range from £7 to £10.
Yet while food at Pier Eight was excellent, a stormy night in Salford meant the temperature in the restaurant was a little cold and those in dresses and sleeveless tops were found reaching for something to cover their shoulders. While the restaurant was busy when we arrived, by 8pm it quickly emptied as everyone made their way into the theatre, leaving me and my dining companion, along with the table next to us, very much alone in a 300 cover restaurant.
That said, the menu was superb and the staff were well trained and very friendly. Whether you’re looking a relaxed lunch, a pre-show meal or a special occasion, Pier Eight is sure to impress.
Donna is the Founder and Editor of Frankly, My Dear UK. By day, she works as a digital marketing specialist, by night she reviews film, theatre and music for a wide range of publications including WhatsonStage and The Reviews Hub. Loves Formula 1, prosecco and life.