Lyndsey McGeary pays a visit to Middlesbrough’s Bedford Street regeneration zone and discovers The Curing House has the recipe for success…
We’d been looking forward to visiting the Curing House on Bedford Street, Middlesbrough, for quite some time. We discussed when we could best take advantage of making it a “date night”, but both changed our arrangements several times before eventually booking a table for two.
Unfortunately, due to all that faffing about with dates, neither me nor my husband, Michael, arranged a babysitter. As a night out in a good restaurant was well overdue, we were left with no option other than to take our two inquisitive little boys with us.
The Curing House staff were very understanding about our unexpected entourage and accommodated us at short notice. Being the evening of the popular monthly Orange Pip Market, we arrived to find the beautifully fitted out restaurant and its surrounding streets were vibrant and atmospheric.
My eye was immediately drawn to mention of king scallops on the specials board, while Michael was very keen to try a cured meats and cheese platter, after carefully explaining to our distressed four-year-old son that there was no actual “shark” in the charcuterie he had selected. To accompany our food we ordered a delicious bottle of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2016, priced £21.95 for a 75cl bottle.
The seared king scallops with miso glaze, cauliflower, crispy chicken and salted caramel at £8.50 was beautifully presented.
The idea of scallops and chicken sharing the plate was intriguing, and a perfect combination of tastes and textures. The salted caramel, however, confused the dish slightly and probably wasn’t needed.
The charcuterie platter (a very generous “small” serving, at £8.50) of pork terrine, morteau sausage and Suffolk black pepper and red wine salami was a feast for the eyes. There were also three cheeses of his choice, mordon blue, manchego and a Teesdale goat’s cheese. Olives, bread, chutneys and pickles brought the whole platter together.
Although Michael spent half of his life disliking cheese and the other half being afraid of cured meats, he reported that this was one of the most pleasing plates of food he had ever eaten.
For my main course, I opted for a medium-size charcuterie and cheese platter (£16.50). The flexibility of portion sizes lends itself to starter or main course. Duck ham, Cornish seaweed and cider salami and Iberico chorizo were generously portioned alongside Swaledale ewes’, gruyere and manchego cheeses.
The kiddywinks had the taste for this style of eating by this point and I tried to find a balance between sharing morsels and not giving away the entire dish to our table invaders. Safe to say, every delicious element was thoroughly relished. Michael went for the herb brined chicken breast with a cute little leg kiev and trimmings (£16.50), which came highly recommended.
With little room left for dessert, we both opted for the apple and blackberry frangipane tart (£7) from the specials menu.
It was accompanied by a roast almond ice cream, which we both agreed was the star of the plate – I could have eaten a bowlful on its own!
Ice cream eaten, we scooped up the boys and their endless colouring books and cuddly toys and headed off home. It was the best night ever, they declared.
In a culinary marketplace that occasionally looks a little short of originality, The Curing House dares to plough its own furrow and offer Middlesbrough diners something completely different. It deserves to be enormously successful.