The Shoulder Of Mutton Ramsbottom Reviews
The Shoulder of Mutton Jun 16, 2012
The Shoulder of Mutton is a pub in Ramsbottom. It specialises in genuinely exceptional food, but you’d never know that from the outside. It is about my favourite place to eat in Greater Manchester.
To be absolutely clear, this is a pub come restaurant, not a “gastropub”. Gastropubs, for me, conjure up a pub with delusions of grandeur, pretentious decoration and tiny portions of something served with a foam made of something that should not have been foamed. The Shoulder of Mutton, on the other hand, does not serve foams. If all you want is a burger, done as well as a burger should be, then a burger will be served. It doesn’t have pretentions of anything – it doesn’t even particularly have décor. It just has amazing food.
Really amazing food.
Most of the food could broadly be classed as British classic – belly of pork, oxtail pudding (pudding in this sense is a savoury dish, stew cased in suet pastry), pate, scallops and that sort of thing. There are vegetarian options but I can’t comment on them because I find it almost impossible to get past the oxtail pudding/belly pork/ shin of beef part of the menu. Some of the dishes are a little more on the adventurous side – I was impressed by the smoked mash potato despite initial concerns (it came with shin of beef, and I don’t like asking for the sides to be changed unless I have to because you have to trust a chef to know what he’s doing – however strange smoked mashed potato sounds, the chef was right about it).
As a note for foreigners, who are taught to be dubious about British food – the only thing that’s wrong with British food is that for most of the last 150 years most people have cooked it badly. We’re undergoing a bit of a revival at the moment, as a new generation of people who haven’t been put off by overcooked slop in school discover the joys of a decent savoury pudding, or properly cooked stew. With decent quality ingredients and a good cook, British food can compete with anything from Europe. None of this is good for your waistline, but then you’re in the foothills of the Peak district here and it’s easy enough to walk it off afterwards.
In London, you’ll pay a fortune for this sort of cooking. In Ramsbottom, you can sit in the Shoulder of Mutton with a decent cask conditioned ale or a nice glass of wine, and although by no means cheap, it won’t break the bank. Main courses are about £10-15, with starters and puddings reasonable too.
Getting to the Shoulder of Mutton from central Manchester can be a bit of a pain by public transport. There are buses, either the whole way out, or from Bury Metrolink tram stop. Another option is to get the tram out as far as Bury and take the East Lancashire Railway (a preserved line with steam trains) out as far as Ramsbottom, then walk up the hill. Bear in mind that the Shoulder of Mutton is quite a long walk uphill from Ramsbottom centre, so if you have anyone who is wobbly on their feet you might want to book a taxi or drive.
Part of the 2012 - The UK travel blog
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