Pub food is such a British establishment, but I haven’t really been to eat since my student years (Wetherspoons anyone?). Sometimes I will pop in if I’m waiting at a train station somewhere since there is usually a pub nearby. There is something very comforting about eating pub food, the fact it’s no nonsense. The English Lounge can be easy to miss as you walk by the other side of the road to the Arndale market, heading towards Shudehill. Here, I will let you know what I thought of the place.*
The English Lounge Interior
The English Lounge recently refurbished and I love the greyish navy colour used on the bar. The rest of the interior is kept clean with near white walls, wooden and bronze detailing and very comfy armchairs and wood chairs. I like how the table numbers you are given when you place an order are these mini chalkboard plaques.
My friend and I ordered this Franklin & Sons lemonade and elderflower with crushed juniper. I’ve never tried any of Franklin & Sons’ drinks, but you can’t really go wrong with lemonade and elderflower. Very refreshing to drink.
Starters / snack plates
The English Lounge does starters or sharing snack plates at 3 for £10.95. This can be a pretty good deal as each dish is around £3-£5. The only plates not part of this offer are the salt and pepper squid and the prawns below. You can have them as a starter or as general nibbles with your drink.
Sweet chilli and halloumi
I ordered the sweet chilli halloumi as my starter. It arrived in this bowl grilled nicely but absolutely drenched in sweet chilli sauce. It was good in a way as it meant you got a good amount of sauce with your halloumi, but there was too much sauce wasted. I felt a smaller dipping pot of sweet chilli would have been more economical and would have presented the halloumi in a nicer way. The salad was a little dull, especially as I’ve seen this dressed-up more in other people’s photos of the same dish, so that’s a bit of a disappointment. Maybe it would have been better to do away with this all together?
Crispy coconut prawns
My friend ordered the crispy coconut prawns and oh my goodness, these were good! I’m always hesitant to order prawns in case they haven’t been deveined properly. I also apprehensive about ordering battered stuff in case it’s overly greasy and thick. This was certainly not the case for either as the prawns were beautifully cleaned, butterflied and covered in such a light coating! The menu states it was to come with a sweet chilli dipping sauce, but instead came with tartare sauce. I think this was the better choice if I’m honest, so either they made a mistake on the day we ordered this or the menu is incorrect. Again the salad had the same issues as the halloumi dish. Regardless, I definitely suggest ordering this!
Chargrilled 8oz sirloin steak
We both ordered the 8oz steak, only I asked for my chips to be swapped for sweet potato fries. The chips and potatoes were both nice with a crispy outside and soft inside, the tomatoes were grilled nicely and I was pleasantly surprised by the onion rings as they were just as light as the butterfly prawns. I was also glad to see just the two rings as opposed to the masses that never get eaten in some other pubs. The steak was cooked nicely to request, but the quality of the steak wasn’t the best. There was plenty of sauce in the jug and it was very nice but I’d say there was too much as both my friend and I struggled to use it all, and I’m pretty greedy when it comes to sauces! You could choose between Peppercorn or Béarnaise.
I ordered the vanilla cheesecake which is baked with an oat base and served with fruits of the forest. We were asked if we wanted this served with double cream or ice cream, to which I chose the double cream. The cheesecake itself was heavy and I didn’t enjoy it overly, however, I did like the oat base.
Salted caramel chocolate fudge cake
Again, we had the option of ice cream or double cream with this order. This is served warm and tastes absolutely fantastic. The cake is moist and the salted caramel adds that extra gooey-ness. Perfect amount of sweetness and richness!
Overall rating and comments
7.5/10, -0.5 for the salad on the sharing plates, -0.5 for the unnecessarily huge amounts of sweet chilli in the halloumi plate and the excessive sauce with the steak, not bad if you wanted lots of sauce though. -0.5 for the cut of steak served; just a bit too much cartilage. -1 for the cheesecake, it just wasn’t to my liking.
Would visit again?
I think this place is definitely worth a visit if you want pub food and you happen to be near the Arndale.
Address: 64/66 High Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester, Lancashire, M4 1EA