Opting for a low-key weekend, me and my friend Katie made the short trip from Manchester to Westhoughton in Bolton to visit Provenance Restaurant and Food Hall. Having heard lots of talk about this unique venue, I couldn’t wait to see what it actually entailed. Downstairs is a traditional food hall with a butchers, greengrocers, bakery and delicatessen, while the restaurant is situated on the floor above.
What’s great about both the food hall and the restaurant is that all of their produce has full traceability, and, in their words:
“We believe that everyone has the right to make as fully informed choices as possible about the food they eat. However, this is impossible if you don’t know where your food has come from or what has gone into it. If you care about where your food comes from, shop at Provenance, as we care about where your food comes from too.”
To enter the restaurant which is situated on the first floor, you first pass through the food hall. It’s great to be able to walk through and see that the produce you’re getting for your meal is the same fresh produce as what is for sale in the food hall downstairs.
The restaurant itself has an intimate feel, with minimalist decor that is light and welcoming, and is the ideal place for a romantic meal for two, or for small groups of family/friends. The staff were all friendly and approachable – they helped recommend some great choices in food and drink, and the general atmosphere was relaxed and intimate. Here you feel more looked after by the staff as the venue is much more cosy, it gives a sense of specialness that you don’t get in some restaurants.
For my starter I decided to try something that I’ve not had before, Duck Ham Benedict which included Duck Ham, Poached Duck Egg and Hollandaise Sauce. And my friend opted for the Curried Scallops – Pickled Cucumber, Onion Bhaji and Lemon Creme Fraiche. We’re the kind of friends that share our food, so I got to try both dishes.
The Duck Ham Benedict was tasty, the duck egg was cooked perfectly so it was nice and runny in the middle, and I finished the whole dish. I’ve only tried Scallops a few times, when it comes to seafood I’m not really adventurous and to me Scallops are adventure which I know, is quite embarrassing. But, I really enjoyed them – Indian is one of my favourite cuisines, and the next time I visit Provenance, I will definitely be ordering them for myself. (anything that contains an onion bhaji gets the green light from me)
With a food hall downstairs, it seemed only right to have a steak, I chose the 8oz Sirloin which was served with Confit Tomato, Mushroom, Chips and Pickled Onion Rings – However, I like to be fussy so I swapped the Chips and Onion Rings for Dauphinoise Potatoes, which when it came out could have easily fed two or more people, and they were lovely. The steak was cooked exactly how I asked for it, Medium rare, it was succulent and thoroughly enjoyable to eat.
My friend chose a Salad which was beautifully presented, it was full of vibrant colours, and looked crisp and fresh. I’m not much of a salad type of person, so I didn’t actually try it but she said she made the right choice, as she was torn between two different dishes.
The desserts are where it gets really interesting, it was recommended to us to try the White Chocolate Sphere – now I’ve seen my fair share of photos and videos of these types of desserts online before but never actually tried one for myself, so this felt like the perfect opportunity.
It included Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Passion Fruit, and White Chocolate Ice Cream inside a white chocolate sphere. You pour the warm passion fruit puree over the sphere and watch it melt away, mixing together the while chocolate sphere with the white chocolate ice-cream inside, and the passion fruit. It had a sharp taste, but the flavours went together really well, which I wasn’t too sure about just off reading what it was. If you’re after something a bit different to the norn, and fancy giving your taste buds a flavour explosion, this is definitely the dessert for you.
The service was brilliant and we were very well looked after all night, I would definitely return to this restaurant in the future – perhaps next time I’ll take a date with me instead of my best friend.
A lovely, intimate dining experience.
46-48 Market Street