Just over a week ago it was my 21st birthday, which involved plenty of celebrating and food, of course. It was an amazing day, I collected my new car in the morning, I was spoilt by my family, girlfriend and friends, and there was plenty to be happy about. All I knew about the day was that we were going to eat somewhere in the evening and there was going to be a few family members coming along. But I was pleasantly surprised as one of my best friends from primary school, Angus, surprised me at my house with his girlfriend to come along to the meal too.
August is always an awkward time of year to plan birthday celebrations as so many friends go away on holiday and it’s very hard to get everyone together on a particular date. But the one benefit is you get to drag out your birthday, as you regularly find yourself in September, raising a glass for a belated birthday celebration.
Anyway, Angus wasn’t the only surprise. Shortly after his arrival, something slightly larger and with four wheels pulled up outside the house. It was a Hummer limousine!!
All I knew at this point was that we were going to a restaurant in Manchester City Centre and the 16 seater limousine had alcohol onboard, as well as a music selection to entertain us on our hour journey.
After our hour was up, I stepped out the Hummer to discover we had arrived at Grill on the Alley, somewhere I have never visited before! To describe how I felt, excited would be an understatement.
It also has this pretty cool wall feature for you to have your picture taken next to!
If don’t know much about Blackhouse, it’s essentially a steakhouse but is also known for its seafood too. Whether you are looking for ribeye, sirloin, rump or fillet, you’ll be able to find it here! Not to mention you’ll find great quality steak too.
Blackhouse have two restaurants in Manchester – Grill on the Alley and Grill on New York Street. If you aren’t from Manchester, you’re in luck. Well you are if you are near any more of the Blackhouse restaurants:
- Glasgow – Grill on the Corner
- Leeds – Grill on the Square
- London – Grill on the Market
I’m unable to say what the other restaurants would be like but I’m more than certain the quality won’t differ much.
The menu consists of a variety of options, including steaks, seafood, burgers, Sunday roasts, salads, fajitas and more! I do like seafood and the other options listed but steak will always be my preferred choice so my main focus shall be that in todays blog.
All the cuts are minimum 28 day wet & dry aged and are left to breathe for at least 24 hours before cooking to improve quality. To accompany your steak, you have the option of thick cut chips or mash. Whilst that decision is moderately easy, choosing your steak can be quite the opposite. Below, is some information, provided on the Blackhouse menu:
Your cheapest option is the 227g Australian Rump at £17. Whereas the most expensive steak is the 800g Australian Chateaubriand at £105. However, it is a sharing block after all! Your most expensive non-sharing option is the premium Australian Aberdeen black grain fed fillet at £47.
Below I’ve included the full steak menu:
- Australian Rump – 227g = £17 / 280g = £21
- English Sirloin – 227g = £23 / 340g = £29
- Irish Fillet – 227g = £30 / 280g = £38
- Argentinian Ribeye = 280g = £24 / 340g = £28
Single Breed Sirloin / Ribeye – Price per 100g
Himalayan Rock Salt Dry Aged Beef: This is personally selected at the market by the Blackhouse butcher. It’s a British single breed which is later dry aged in Blackhouse’s Himalayan rock salt maturation chamber.
As the breed varies on the day you visit, so does the price, so you’ll need to ask your waiter, should you ask to choose this option.
Australian Aberdeen black grain fed:
- Sirloin – 280g = £36
- Ribeye – 280g = £36
- Fillet – 280g = £47
- USDA Ribeye – 340g = £41
- English Longbone (Tomahawk) – 800g = £49 / 1.2kg = £65 / 1.5g = £80
- Scotch Porterhouse – 800g = £75 / 1kg = £85
- Australian Chateaubriand – 400g = £58 / 800g = £105
But if a Steak isn’t quite enough, don’t forget there are always extras to add:
- Half grilled lobster – per 100g = £5.30 (This would go down a treat)
- Pan fried prawn skewer = £6
- Bearnaise sauce = £2.50
- Peppercorn sauce = £2.50 (My absolute favourite)
- Red wine sauce = £2.50
- Blue cheese sauce = £2.50 (Something I am certainly not a fan of)
The service was excellent. When we arrived we had to wait almost an hour for our table that we had pre booked. Now this has the potential to ruin a visit before it has even began and I think we have all been in restaurants where there has been a long wait, no apology and nothing but a negative review pending on your mind. However, the staff were extremely apologetic and gave our whole group which consisted of over ten people, a free round of drinks which I thought was extremely generous. The staff at Grill On The Alley are very competent and it gives me no doubts about returning again. Many other places should follow such procedures.
Despite also being busy, the staff were attentive but discreet, allowing you to enjoy your meal but never allowing you to have your glass empty. Again, service I wish was carried out across all restaurants.
What you have been waiting for. The main event. The moment I tell you about everything I ate, not leaving a crumb on my plate. That was of course because I had to get help finishing my chips. Poor effort I know but luckily Angus was able to help – who definitely has an issue, finishing his meal and over three portions of chips. That’s a lot of carbs. But who’s really counting calories!
So for starter, I chose:
- Bang Bang Chicken Skewers (Peanut butter & sweet chilli dip) – £7
And boy did they go out with a bang alright. The sauce definitely made this starter too. But you’ll only enjoy this if you are a big fan of peanut butter as it is definitely the stronger flavour throughout.
For my main, I chose the English Sirloin steak.
I had high hopes for the steak but it definitely isn’t the best steak I’ve had and I think it would struggle to make it into my top five. But it wasn’t bad either. My steak didn’t seem to be left long enough to bleed out before being plated, leaving me with a slight trail. Nonetheless, it was still tasty but I would probably be more adventurous next time with my steak choice. I am far from a steak connoisseur though so I would definitely consider opting in for the steak school because I would love to learn more. See below.
Finally, there always has to be room for dessert. It isn’t quite a meal complete without the sweet part. If you are quite the opposite, then I think we would struggle to be friends. I was stuck between two options:
- Espresso Cheesecake – £8
- Orange Crème Brulee – £6.25
Now when stuck, why be stuck? Why not just order both.
So that is exactly what I did – sharing with Amy though as my stomach was ready to burst but I can’t help but want to try everything.
The cheesecake was tasty but a little too crumbly for my liking. But would I order it again? Yes because the flavour was certainly there.
The Orange Crème Brulee lacked the one key flavour… orange. This was definitely disappointing but it really can depend as personal preference as I prefer a really strong flavour as some prefer it to be far more subtle. I wouldn’t go for this dessert again though.
RATINGS AND COMMENTS
Overall rating – 8/10
Value for money – 7.5/10
Service – 9.5/10
Overall I enjoyed my birthday visit to Blackhouse, Grill on the Alley giving it an overall rating of 8. Portion sizes were certainly filling but I don’t think you get great value for money with a drink and three courses is likely to reach £50. Service was great, could have been better if they offered something for those celebrating birthdays with them and if the wait hadn’t of been as long at the start. But like I mentioned, this was rectified very well.
WILL I RETURN
Yes, I’ll be back and hopefully for steak school! We shall see.
|Monday||12:00pm – 11:00pm|
|Tuesday||12:00pm – 11:00pm|
|Wednesday||12:00pm – 11:00pm|
|Thursday||12:00pm – 11:00pm|
|Friday||12:00pm – 11:00pm|
|Saturday||12:00pm – 11:00pm|
|Sunday||12:00pm – 11:00pm|
A discretionary 10% service will be charged to parties of 6 or more. All gratuities and service charges go to the team that prepare and serve your meal and drinks excluding all management.
- All prices include VAT at the current rate.
- Cheese may not be made with vegetable rennet.
- Allergen information is available upon request.
- All weights stated are prior to cooking.