Restaurant review: Baratxuri at Escape to Freight Island, Manchester

Live fire cooking at Baratxuri, Escape to Freight Island

Live fire cooking at Baratxuri, Escape to Freight Island - Credit: Escape to Freight Island

Going for a Sunday lunch is a tradition everyone can get on board with, and I am most definitely one of those people. In my mind, there’s nothing more autumnal than finding somewhere cosy on a cold Sunday afternoon and enjoying a delicious Sunday meal – which is exactly what I did when I went to try Baratxuri’s new Sunday menu.

A table spread with food - steak, potatoes, red wine,

Prepare to be delighted... Sunday lunch with Baratxuri at Escape to Freight Island - Credit: Escape to Freight Island

Baratxuri is a live-fire Basque restaurant, first opened in 2015 in Ramsbottom, Lancashire and famed for its live-fire cooked dishes in the Basque style – think whole fish and big cuts of meat roasted and grilled over the embers, as well as a mouth-watering selection of classic Spanish pintxos (small bar snacks, a size down from a traditional tapa) and luckily for us they opened in Escape to Freight Island to serve their distictive dishes to those of us not within easy reach of Ramsbottom.

They’ve recently launched a new Sunday set menu – so on a cold Sunday afternoon, I took my friend to try it. Walking into Escape to Freight Island is always an experience – no matter how many times I go, I'm always in awe of the huge space, plus there’s always delicious food and drink on offer.

Taking a seat at the bar was a new experience for me, but seeing the chefs cook over flames was interesting to watch. Just how any good Sunday lunch should start, we ordered a couple of glasses of wine. My friend went for a red, and after speaking to the waiter, who ran her through all the specifications and tasting notes of the wines on offer, she went with a simple pinot noir, perfectly matched to the steak.

red wine being poured into a glass alongside a plate of whitebait

An extensive wine list provides for the perfect pairing - Credit: Escape to Freight Island

The new menu features a choice of two or three courses, so we went for the two, opting for a starter and a main.

For starters, I chose figs and Picos – smoked beetroot braised figs, Picos blue cheese and a sourdough tuile. The dish was perfectly balanced, a mixture of smoky sweetness from the figs and the cheese added a nice amount of saltiness. The smoky flavour was a pleasant surprise, and it was a moreish starter I can’t wait to have again. My friend ordered the croquetas – Iberico ham with piquillo pepper jam. The three croquetas looked delicious and according to my friend, tasted just as good. With a delicate amount of spice, the cheese and Iberico ham were a winning combination.

Figs and Picos – smoked beetroot braised figs, Picos blue cheese and a sourdough tuile

Figs and Picos – smoked beetroot braised figs, Picos blue cheese and a sourdough tuile - Credit: Escape to Freight Island

For mains, we both opted for the cut of the day steak – an 8oz Highland cattle steak served with an onion and tomato salad. They also came with roasted baby potatoes tossed in a pesto and onion sauce. The steak was cooked perfectly, medium rare, with a tasty, chargrilled flavour. What was a pleasant surprise was the size of the steak – it was a generous cut, and the salad added a nice lightness to the dish.

Though we were too full to have dessert, the choices were interesting. On offer, you can choose a Basque-style trifle with a rum and orange syrup and the Gâteau Basque, a buttery short pastry baked with vanilla, from the Basque region of France. These desserts were inspired by Baratxuri’s founders, Joe and Fiona Botham’s travels.

Most Read

The Sunday lunch menu is available to book now with a two-course meal at £21 or three-course meal at £25.

Croqueta being broken in half to show melting middle

Croquetas are a melting delight, with Iberico ham and cheese - Credit: Escape to Freight Island

Escape to Freight Island is a huge space of incredible food, drink, music and immersive entertainment, hidden in plain sight at Manchester’s Depot Mayfield and this latest addition, is the perfect place to spend your Sunday.

escapetofreightisland.com