Name your dog after fermented soybeans and you are guaranteed a review here. But please don’t quote me. It was delightful to shake paws in the yard with resident pooch Miso the Shibu Ina pup, but that wasn’t the clincher at the outstanding new Restaurant Örme, I was just in need of immediate canine therapy after an epic trek from my Pennine fastness. Floods had taken out the rail line and I endured nearly an hour on the bus from Manchester centre to Urmston, home to the three young folk who opened Örme here in May. To instant acclaim.
Last month the 30-cover restaurant on Church Road was one of 15 new inclusions in the Michelin UK guide alongside higher profile Manc newcomer Higher Ground. It also garnered two nominations in the 2023 Manchester Food and Drink Awards – for Newcomer of the Year and Best Neighbourhood Venue.
Quite a step up for a suburban site that had previously hosted the likes of The Hideaway, Best Afternoon Tea and an Indian called Theru Kadai.
The name of the latest incumbent, in case you are wondering, derives from the area’s 12th century landowner, one Orme Fitz Seward. Not sure where the umlaut came from. There’s something about four letter leave-you-wondering names for new wave restaurants – Mana, Erst, Kala. Or a chunk of ancient heritage as with Elnecot, which was what Ancoats was called in those misty times before natural wine and designer pooches joined beards as de rigueur.
In truth it hadn’t been my intention to formally review Örme; I just wanted to check what the fuss was all about. The £45 tasting menu isn’t available Saturday lunchtimes; instead it was a pared down £35 four courser, though I couldn’t resist a supplementary dish of cured monkfish for £9 that levelled it all up anyway. That was actually the star turn in a lunch that was consistently impressive from superior snacks through to an indulgent sticky pear, peanut butter custard and ginger ice cream finale.
The monkfish had been sliced so thinly it was diaphanous, dressed with a silky dill emulsion, buttermilk spheres adding freshness and cubes of pickled celeriac a certain punch. Very Nordic. It would have been interesting to see what Örme sommelier Rachel Roberts might have paired it with. I did spot an unusual to find Basque white Txakoli being poured at another table. Rachel (pictured cuddling Miso) offers matching wines at £25 and unusually a British line-up for £35 – for those curious to know what a Welsh red from the Regent grape tastes like. With further Saturday commitments ahead I declined.
Navy blue walls, large front windows, fine cutlery and an indie soundtrack were all factors, but what took my eye was the presence of influential, cutting edge cookbooks on a shelf in the dining space. There was a similar bookish statement of ambition in a young chef at Metamorphica in Haslingden. The Örme collection (think the Noma Book of Fermentation and Josh Niland’s The Whole Fish Cookbook) belongs to Rachel’s partner, Jack Fields; he and his co-chef Tom Wilson have worked in some impressive kitchens before striking out with their own project.
There’s a lovely precision to their work. A tranche of venison haunch came with a faggot sidekick. A splendid use of the off-cuts. There’s a smoker out back and its use had ‘elevated’ a humble carrot, blobs of blueberry puree adding their own autumnal oomph.
Örme has a quiet assurance about it for such early days. It needs everyone who feels the need to support genuine indie culinary heroes to find a day when the trains are running and walk the 10 minutes from the station. There’s lots of interest en route, too. a good cheese shop, a wine merchants and more. Did I mention that Urmston is also shortlisted for an MFDF gong for Foodie Neighbourhood of the Year?