Don't let my blog header deceive you, i'm a real sucker for a good typeface and logo and as soon as I saw the Volta window I felt pleasantly reassured that this was a place that clearly had good taste - the restaurant looks really (I hate to say it) cool from the outside and a place you wouldn't hesitate to drop into to check out. The website states that they keep some tables free every night for drop-ins but i'd been sensible and booked so was seated pretty quickly. The mirrored back wall combined with my awful eye-site worked like an optical illusion giving the impression I’d wandered into an enormous dining room. In fact it’s about 40-50 covers tops with further seating outside and which gives the whole place a lovely cosy vibe. I sat with my back to the mirror so I didn't send myself mad constantly catching my own eye.
I'm a big fan of the tapas style serving which has become massively popular post-Polpo over the past couple of years, not just restricted to typical Spanish fare anymore. This worked really well at Volta, the menu was broken up into a majority of small plates and with a few meaty mains - the whole process was very laid back with food coming when it’s ready and side plates provided from the start so everyone gets to dig in.
A few of the dishes that appealed such as the lamb chops and crispy squid were unfortunately off for the evening which was a shame as i'd definitely have also tried them.
Sourdough with butter – I can't not order bread, especially when I saw the loaves come from Trove who are baking the best bread in Manchester in my opinion.
Grilled Padron peppers - a generous portion of plump juicy peppers that had been very generously seasoned ahead of grilling. The tiny red peppers were extremely sweet and fruity and were a real hit, as a combination this was a delight.
Smoked feta with beetroot, hazelnuts and dill – this came chilled, the ground beetroot was extremely refreshing, hazelnuts provided a crunch to break the dish up slightly and the smoked feta was a real treat to finish the dish off.
Mushrooms on toast – not something i'd normally have gone for, this was sent out from the kitchen as it’d been marked down on our order incorrectly and therefore wasn't charged for. It was one of the specials and featured mushrooms that had been foraged locally.
Negroni cured salmon on a bed of fennel with orange and pumpkin seed – the salmon itself was perfectly cooked with the negroni cure extremely subtle, but as it often does the fennel just overpowered the whole dish. The juice from the orange made the whole dish very wet meaning the salmon got part soaked and everything ended up overly sweet. An interesting idea that just didn’t work for me.
Battered Cod cheeks on potato hash and chorizo was another of the days specials. This consisted of lovely fat cod cheeks fried in a breadcrumb fish finger style coasting. The batter combined with the potato alone would've been a little too bland taste wise but the chorizo gave everything a good kick and this worked really well as a dish. Personally I prefer a tempura batter with fish and this would've made the cheeks lighter and lifted the whole dish.
The dexter rib on bone steak with béarnaise and chips was superb. Real care had been shown to the meat which was well flavoured, the sauce was pleasantly thick and the chips were wonderfully crispy – proper chips for once, none of this fries lark. The steak was ordered rare and the meat was served pink as requested. This was a very generous amount of food for just £19.50. In the absence of a proper steak house in Manchester this will definitely be my ‘go to’ place when I'm craving a steaky hit.
Brandy and raisin ice cream with coffee ‘affogato’. I can’t ever not order a coffee based dessert when I see one and I had no regrets from this one - it helped that the coffee was dark and strong as hell, gave it such a deep flavour. I also had a separate espresso which I didn't soil with ice cream and which was unbelievably potent, they certainly take coffee seriously here - a perfect end to the meal.
Drinks wise they had a packed cocktail menu covering all the classics and including some cocktail of the day options which sounded interesting enough that I would've tried them if they didn't have such a great beer menu. I went with a pint of Jaipur to start which was an obvious choice and as good as ever, after a brief chat about the options I ended up taking a recommendation from the waitress for my second (a bottle of Brew by Numbers Wai-Tai and Lemon Saison) and it was definitely well received.
Overall it was genuine value for money at approximately £75 for the food above, two cocktails and two beers plus coffee and tip. I absolutely loved Volta and wouldn't hesitate to go back if I find myself in Didsbury in the future, it's definitely a restaurant that I will be making repeat visits to and I would certainly become a regular if I lived locally.