It’s easy to imagine how anyone who had been away from Monton for the last couple of years would find the new ‘village’ centre almost unrecognisable.
New businesses have not only arrived but also flourished.
Craft beer venues and champagne bars jostle for space with multi-cuisine dining establishments on an upbeat Monton Road.
It is inevitable that some of the old stalwarts have had to make way for these exciting new ventures, and that’s the case with the former dark and dingy Drop Inn, now The Blind Pig.
The venue’s website promises the laid-back vibe of a 1920s speakeasy, however the decor of peeling paint and vintage French soap adverts seemed to be more ‘Belle Epoque’ than prohibition joint, nevertheless the atmosphere was certainly relaxed.
Although one could be forgiven for looking at The Blind Pig and presuming it is just an evening bar, it actually opens its doors early to offer an extensive breakfast menu and coffee to passing commuters.
Food service continues into the late evening with comprehensive lunch and dinner (or is that dinner and tea?) menus.
After enjoying a delicious bowl of mixed olives I opted for a simple halloumi salad, which came in two sizes, small (£4.95) and large (£9.95).
I always struggle when a dish is offered in two sizes: do you pay less and risk going home hungry, or splash out and totally overface yourself?
As it happened, the larger portion was more than adequate for an evening meal.
The grilled halloumi seemed to have the perfect balance of texture and flavor, neither too rubbery nor too salty.
It came served with a fresh mixed leaf salad, marinated red peppers and some of the olives I had enjoyed earlier.
While being an adequate amount the plate did not leave me feeling overstuffed.
My partner opted for the Blind Pig Mini Burger Board, which comprised of three bitesized burgers, beef & BBQ sauce, chicken & chilli sauce and minted lamb all served with skin-on fries, a small side salad and burger relish.
This all came on the now-obligatory wooden serving slab – seriously, will ours be the last generation to remember meals served on crockery?
The burger board was more than enough for one and the meat was happily of high quality.
Not being in the mood for wine I had a Heineken in the absence of any sort of craft ale, bottled or on tap – very strange for Monton.
At £4.20 for my lager the beer here is not cheap – for that you’ll have to stay over the other side of the M602 in Eccles.
Drinks wise, you’re effectively paying what they call “Chorlton prices”, but this is in keeping with the more exclusive atmosphere they’re trying to create in Monton these days.
Overall the good service, food and atmosphere at The Blind Pig made for a pleasant midweek meal, the unpretentiousness of the venue helping with the more relaxed vibe.