I recently did a pastry course run by an inspiring chef who is appropriately name Neil Buttery. Neil was charismatic and had a fascinating knowledge of food history and pies. I was intrigued to try his newly opened restaurant – The Buttery at POD – out in Levenshulme. So one Saturday in March Jamie and I went to investigate.
The restaurant is in a delightful old Post Office building near Levenshulme station. As soon as you walk in you’re welcomed into a lovely, cosy, stylish and atmospheric venue. It’s a small place with about eight tables and the lighting was wonderfully low and mellow. The decor was simple and well thought out – a good combination of contemporary with retro touches – like second hand wooden furniture and a wood panelled bar with Victorian style white tiling on the wall with beer pumps on.
We were immediately looked after by the front of house bar man – in fact all the staff were very enthusiastic and attentive in a really pleasant way. We were shown to our seats and talked through the menu and specials. It didn’t take us long to decide on the pies: beef and Guinness for Jamie, Lancashire cheese and leek for me – with both of us going for welsh rarebit for starters.
We made good choices. The rarebit was just the right size and wonderfully zingy and tasty whilst the pies were perfect comfort food for a freezing spring evening. The rarebit sparked a debate between Jamie and I. He liked the bread and I was adamant that it was from the excellent local Levenshulme bakery – Trove. Jamie was unconvinced – so I raised the stakes – betting him £1000 that the bread was from Trove. And damn it! I was wrong. We asked Neil the chef and it turn’s out his business partner’s mum is making all the bread and cakes. In my defense, Neil is in negotiations with Trove at the moment to see if they can provide bread as she is a little overworked! Jamie is considering my offer of indefinite tea making instead of a cash sum.
Anyway back to POD! Jamie and I were blown away by the atmosphere. Yes the food was delicious and very reasonable (£36 for two mains, two starters, beer and wine) and Jamie tells me the selection of beers was great too. But above all the place had passion, style and a real sense of community. There was something very comforting and welcoming about the venue and it felt like a broad mixture of interesting people hanging out. I felt like if I’d got a bit more tipsy I could happily have shuffled across to another table and just gatecrashed the conversation. So, give it a go yourselves! We 100% will be back for more pies and chilled evenings.