Nachos at the English Lounge, High Street, Manchester

Continuing my occasional series of food reviews – mostly veggie breakfasts, but occasionally widened out to other comfort foods – I found myself in the English Lounge on High Street, Manchester (just about on the edge of the Northern Quarter, rather the centre as claimed) earlier today craving a nice a full plate of nachos.

In a country that is yet to embrace Mexican food, nachos have rightly established themselves as a mainstay of pub grub, not quite a meal but a much more than a bag of crisps. And, most interestingly, they’re a cross-over cinema snack. Odeon cinemas do a good job, but avoid nachos from Cineworld; the cheese has a funny tang.

You’d think it easy to rustle up a plate of nachos. Pile up some tortilla chips and throw some dip type stuff on top. Here we had salsa and guacamole (the dip of the gods). Soured cream was notable by its absence and I was little miffed that while chilli was optional, there was no discount for going without (or better yet, a veggie chilli option).

Sadly things had clearly gone pear shaped for the English Lounge chef at the melted cheese stage. Regretfully, I’ve no photo, but the whole thing had clearly spent too long under a grill; rather than melting the cheese, chef had toasted it (slightly burning a couple of tortilla chips in the process). We battled through bravely, thinking we could salvage things, only to discover that many of the chips had been crushed and rendered unsuitable for dipping.

To be fair melting cheese is harder than it looks – a moment’s distraction and you’re quite literally toast – and so I’d recommend replacing it with a thick warm cheese sauce.

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