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La Bandera

La Bandera
BOOK ONLINE or Tel. 0161 833 9019
2 Ridgefield, Manchester, M2 6EQ [map]
Authentic Spanish Cuisine in Manchester City Centre At La Bandera they believe Spanish food should be fresh, simple and delicious.
La Bandera

La Bandera Restaurant & Bar Manchester ~ overall readers' reviews
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La Bandera ~ our reviews
Volar La Bandera (September 2016)
La Bandera Manchester

Trusted Reviewer "Spanish restaurants are popping up in Manchester like daisies in the rain as of late.  No matter whether it's the Norther Quarter, Spinningfields, Deansgate, whatever, a new tapas bar style eatery is now within touching distance, regardless of where abouts in the city you may find yourself. 

Generally, the standard is bang on too.  Things have come a long way since La Tasca was a cutting edge Deansgate tapas stalwart, and indeed was the only place to eat tapas in the city, and customers now expect more from tapas than some decent Patatas Bravas which were marginally better than you'd get from a dodgy tourist trap on the main drag in Benidorm. 

Now along with Italian it's arguably our favourite cuisine, and we've eaten some amazing Spanish food lately, both in some of the aforementioned Manchester big boys and also a couple of weeks ago at Barrafina; London based National restaurant of the year for 2015, and yet is a proud, traditional, casual eatery/tapas bar.  Full of Instagram snapping tourists sure, but still, a fine place to eat good Spanish food.  It’s the kind of food which people want to eat these days.  Tasty, accessible, casual, fun, social, with a clear emphasis on the use of fresh, quality produce which is unique to said country.

The menu at La Bandera reflects the cosmopolitan Spanish roots of the staff, with dishes inspired of backgrounds, flavours and stories from all over Spain, including The Canary Islands; a part of the world which holds very fond culinary memories for myself as I once lived there back in my less responsible years

La Bandera Manchester

We opted for the tasting menu to get a glimpse of La Bandera's broad spectrum of delights, so I won't detail every dish as you'd be here all day long, but some of the highlights were as follows.  The good old Gambas al Ajillo, or Garlic Prawns were a great way to start.  Now when you're judging anywhere, for us you do so not only with the more intricate plates of food, but just as importantly with the basics.   There is after all nowhere to hide with a simple dish.  That was the case here, and nothing needed to hide.  Perfectly cooked prawns with great balance of chilli and of course the garlic. 

Next up was the Papas Arrugadas con Mojo, which was baby potatoes, with both green and red 'mojo' sauces, very authentic to the Canaries, using British potatoes and cooked in heavily salted water instead of the traditional ocean water.  They were fantastic, it has to be said. 

Another favorite was the impressive Croquetas do Chiporon, which were traditional style Croquetas but coloured with squid ink. You bit into them expecting the jet black centre to be heavy and claggy, but instead found what was bordering on a sauce like texture.  It was so soft, smooth and light, with the surprising contrast from the outside shell being technically impressive. 

La Bandera Manchester

Next on our favourites list was the twice cooked Octopus with paprika mash, which lent a smoked, BBQ like aroma to the dish, even though the Octopus hadn't actually seen a BBQ.  Mash and Octopus sounded a little like a strange Spanish/Manchester fusion to be honest, but the flavours worked, as did the contrasting textures. 

Lomo de Merluzza; Wild Hake, on a green pea puree with crispy leek was outstanding, and the verdict of our entire table was that this was the star of the tasting menu.  Perfectly fresh and well cooked fish, with creamy puree and great texture from the leeks.  The carrot and courgette cube garnishes were perhaps a little cumbersome alongside such an elegant piece of fish, but purely flavour wise, this dish would proudly sit on any tasting menu in the city. 

One of the two 'puddings' on the tasting menu was actually a cocktail, in this case a La Bandera spin on the Expresso Martini.  It was a pleasant and surprising way to say adios to our savoury dishes, plus anything which is served in a cocktail glass will score points with us.

La Bandera Manchester

On reflection, it was a well varied tasting menu with the chefs' personalities clearly being shown on the plate.  Sure some of the garnishes confused us though, and we didn't really see a place for edible flowers on the plate in most cases to be honest.  They didn’t really add to the flavour, or crucially didn’t tie into the soul of the cuisine, as pretty as they looked on the plate.  Generally though, this was accomplished cooking, using great produce, done in a refined yet traditional manner.  We must admit to not expecting these heights ahead of our visit, but we always love to be surprised.

It's also worth noting that the wine pairings were surprisingly good, with every single one across the board matching well with their edible equivalents, enhancing and working well with the food in every case. So, the damage landed and at £45 for 8 tapas/tasting dishes, plus a sorbet course and also a cocktail, it's also good value in truth.  8 tapas alone in a well-known chain serving frozen food, which I won’t name as you already know the name, would cost you broadly the same, if that’s your bag anyway.  The impressively done wine pairing was just £25, which again is fantastic value for 6 high quality tasting size glasses.
La Bandera Manchester

Service was textbook, and to be honest, all but faultless.  It's sometimes hard to judge this accurately as inherently, you do get treated differently when dining out with a view to writing articles such as this.   However, everybody around us even on the far side of the dining room, was receiving the same charming, attentive, spot on treatment. 

Service wise, we can't think of many places in the city which have been quite this on point in a very long time, regardless of the level.  Only three restaurants which we've ever dined in, anywhere in the world, on any level, have ever noticed that Im left handed, and have then hence set the table in the correct way ahead of every course following the first, rather than following process on autopilot and setting the table for a right-hander.  La Bandera is one of those three occasions, and such attention to detail is very hard to find indeed.

La Bandera Manchester

So La Bandera is, pun absolutely intended, flying the flag for Spanish cuisine in Manchester.  It was also great to hear from the manager that despite the massive growth of Spanish good in the city, there is no culture of competitiveness amongst peers, and everybody supports each other.  It's an exciting time to eat Spanish food in Manchester, and La Bandera is a great example of what good Spanish food can be. Restaurant Of Manchester (6/9/16 - visited on a Tuesday evening)

La Bandera Manchester

La Bandera Manchester La Bandera Manchester
La Bandera Restaurant ~ members' reviews
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