Posted by: Richard Frost | 13 Feb 2016

Whole lotta Lead – The Lead Station hits 20

The Lead Station recipe book

The Lead Station Cookbook

Bars and restaurants come and go in Chorlton with alarming speed but The Lead Station seems to have been around forever.

In fact, it’s just celebrated its 20th birthday. To mark the occasion, the Beech Road venue and its owner-operator Nick de Sousa hosted a small party to say thank you to suppliers, staff, regulars and friends on Wednesday and I was lucky enough to be invited.

Police encounters

Now The Lead Station may be 20 years old (21 technically – it opened in 1995) but the building itself is much older, built by the Lancashire Constabulary as a local police station way back in 1885.

What I like about the place is that it hasn’t abandoned its roots. Witness the 1885 datestone with the Lancashire Constabulary inscription above the entrance, the old police cells converted into a kitchen, and even the name (the ‘Station’ refers to its police station origins, while the ‘Lead’ relates to the material used within the bar apparently).

The Lead Station bar-restaurant on Beech Road in Chorlton

The Lead Station

Scramble on

I’ve been to The Lead Station countless times over the years, usually for lunch because their Eggs Benedict is the best I’ve had bar none:

Eggs Benedict with poached egg, bacon, muffin and Hollandaise sauce

Eggs Benedict – an old favourite

But really it’s not just a lunch place – the restaurant has a seasonal menu of “simple, classic and honest” food served till late and there’s also a well-stocked bar, which makes its own cocktails. What’s more, The Lead Station has just published a recipe book (RRP £20) showing how to recreate dozens of its most popular dishes and cocktails, as well as containing interesting facts about the place and random things like an old interview with Chorlton resident Damon Gough (aka Badly Drawn Boy) about how much he loves The Lead Station.

There are also profiles of their suppliers (JB Richardson’s Bakers, Barbakan, Hill’s Bakers, Amato Products, Jack Wood & Sons, The Easy Fish Co and Cheshire Wholesale Fruit & Veg in case you’re wondering).

Trades and Tariffs

As an aside, if you like The Lead Station, you might want to try sister restaurant Tariff & Dale in the city centre.

Instead of a police station, this time Nick converted a former cotton spinners warehouse into a trendy Northern Quarter venue on the corner of Tariff Street and Dale Street. It’s been getting lots of good PR recently and was nominated for Newcomer of the Year at the Manchester Food & Drink Awards 2015 and included by The Times in their 25 Coolest Restaurants in Britain list.

Tariff & Dale in Manchester's Northern Quarter

Tariff & Dale

All about the bass

During the party, The Lead Station invited guests to sample some of their food and drink.

My favourite dish on the night was the Seabass and Scallops – difficult ingredients to get right but both were cooked to perfection and they were nicely offset by a minted edamame and pea puree (it would seem their definition of “simple” food is very different to mine).

So good in fact that it’s in danger of tempting me away from the trusty Eggs Benedict.

Mixed salad

The Lead Station Salad

Seabass and Scallops with minted edamame and pea puree

Seabass and Scallops

Chocolate Truffle Cake with strawberries and cream

Chocolate Truffle Cake



  1. Reblogged this on msamba.


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