There are many reasons you may want to pay a trip to the Trafford Centre in Manchester; it’s vast quantity of shops, activities for the kids and selection of food establishments. For the latter, it can be tricky to choose what you fancy, the mall has a mixture of fast food and eat-in chain restaurants to suit your time availability.
The Trafford Centre has recently enjoyed its 21st birthday, having first opened doors to the public in September 1998. Since then the venue has been taken over by intu (who own a few shopping centres around the UK) and developed into a must-visit destination if you live in the North West. Some shops have come and go (recently Forever 21 went bankrupt) but some destinations have weathered the storm. On the food front, McDonalds, Nando’s and KFC have always been strong contenders to capture the lunchtime rush, with 5 guys also gaining a loyal clientele over more recent years. The battle for hungry shoppers is a competitive one, so it was interesting to see if revamped restaurant Bill’s offered something a little different to diversify food choices.
Located in The Orient section, the restaurant is positioned along the walkway that bridges the gap between stores and the food court. Not as primely positioned as the stores in the centre of the court, Bill’s may lose a little footfall from diners heading through the other entrances but the open plan layout does capture attention if you happen to be passing through The Orient section.
On Bill’s website, they promise to cater to a host of demographics; from couples on dates to family meals out. Going into detail about the style of food on offer, bill’s promises ‘legendary breakfasts, veg-centric lunches and a la carte dinners’.
Bill’s aims to achieve a retro inspired decor in the Trafford Centre location, this is envisioned through the inclusion of colourful furniture that takes on a variety of influences from different decades. Firm, burgundy leather stools sit alongside simple white tables, whilst chandeliers adorn the light fittings. Much of the wall has a wooden effect pattern, with the floor contrasting this through a stone imitation effect.
The menu opts for a twist on the traditional British pub lunch, as you wait you can order a side of mini Cumberland sausages to snack on or some classic garlic bread. There are standard sharing plates or choice of starters that include calimari, prawn cocktail, chicken skewers and soup. It’s good to see a mixture of seafood, meat and veggie options in such variety for a budget priced restaurant, this takes Bill’s a level above your average pub grub.
The mains prove to be just as diverse, including beef wellington, butternut squash risotto and chicken green curry, amongst others. The variety of mains suits both if you just fancy a stop-off quick bite and if you’re looking for something a little more fulfilling; examples demonstrating this being the fish finger sandwich beef wellington respectively. The 8oz Sirloin and duck pie were the chosen dishes for the purpose of this review, taking the classic pub lunch route to dining at the Trafford Centre.
The Sirloin was tried with peppercorn sauce, a side of mash (swapped from the original fries) and pea shoots. Topped with flakes, the steak was cooked to specification (medium) and proved to be not-too-chewy as was preferred. The peppercorn sauce had a little heat to its flavour, diversifying from the expected, but this was still thoroughly enjoyed and added something a little different to this classic dish.
The duck pie was a special only available on a Tuesday (subject to change depending on seasonal offers). This is a limited main, meaning you can try this dish from 5pm on selected days, until Bill’s runs out. The pie came served with a baked mash lid, with hoisin sauce accompanying the duck within. The sauce was plentiful and offered enough to drizzle over the side of red cabbage. Warm and comforting, this main was delicious and exceeded expectations.
Perfect for appeasing the whole family, the desserts selection has a range of fun options to choose from. From donuts with dipping sauce to banoffee sundaes, you can see how this menu is catered to target kids as well as adults with a sweet tooth. Part of the online menu currently differs from the instore version, as online states the donuts come with apple and salted caramel flavourings but the instore offering came with strawberry and white chocolate. It may be worth calling ahead to check if seasonality has ensued some changes to be made. The donuts themselves are oh-so-good, rolled in strawberry sugar and served alongside a warm dip of white chocolate sauce. You do get a decent serving of mini-donuts so this could be one to share if you’re feeling full after dinner.
Just as sweet is the banoffee sundae, which comes with a mix of banana, salted caramel ice cream, biscuit chunks, whipped cream. This is all served inside a chocolate dome, which has hot caramel sauce drizzled on top of it to reveal the sugary goodness inside. A good dessert to share on social, the sundae makes a great boomerang if you like to share your dining experiences online. As expected, this dish is super sweet and blends the sharp contrasts of hot and cold, as the ice-cream meets the heated sauce this further enhance the flavours textures in play.
Bill’s can make a nice change from your usual ‘spoons outing and is positioned slightly out of the way of the chaos of the food court, allowing a quieter and more chilled dining experience. The staff were all eager to help and accommodating during this review.
You can see the Bill’s menu online.