From an egg n black pudding sarnie to glorious Mangalorian Cauliflower - here are some of the best things we've scoffed over the last month


Heathcote's @ MIF - Egg and Black Pudding Sarnie (£6)

The selection of food stalls in Festival Square is pretty top notch this year, with offerings from Hispi, Manjit's Kitchen and Honest Crust. But I'm plumping for the egg and black pudding sarnie from Heathcotes for my MIF themed dish of the month. After a hard day on the culture circuit what better than a hearty, gooey, dripping-with-yolk butty? The soft with a chewy crust sourdough is baked on site by Kendall's Staff of Life bakery. The black pudding is fragrant, meaty and rich, the egg is cooked just so as you watch, and not too extortionate considering you are in the middle of a festival). Follow up with the Eccles cake and Lancashire cheese (£3) before heading, now fortified, back into the cultural fray. Lucy Tomlinson 

MIF Festival Square, Albert Square, until 16 July

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San Carlo Cicchetti – Lamb Prosciutto (£8.95)

Why is lamb prosciutto not more of a thing? It’s absolutely fantastic and has a more interesting texture than its silkier porcine sister. We went along to Ciccetti last month to sample some of the new dishes they’re adding to their summer menu and they gave us a plateful of this; thinly sliced with a pistachio dressing, crushed pistachios and Torbedino tomatoes. Cicchetti were going to offer it as an occasional special, but we all made such a fuss of this cured meat revelation, San Carlo has decided to feature it more often. Get it if you do. It’s really, really good. Deanna Thomas

Cicchetti, 98-116 Deansgate, Manchester M3 2GQ. Tel: 0161 839 2233

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Amma’s Canteen - Mangalorian Cauliflower Bezule (£5.75)

New Keralan restaurant, Amma’s Canteen, feels like a hidden gem, and the food is great too. Run by a husband and wife team with roots in the south-western corner of India, the menu of dosas, one-pots, street snacks and seafood is freshest, home-style cooking you’re likely to find this side of the planet. Plus, everything just squeals summer. Pictured is a sticky Mangalorian Cauliflower Bezule  Heavily spiced tender florets are served with a bath of cooling yoghurt, topped with slices of okra on the side. Be warned, however, that once you’ve tried it, you won’t want to share. Ruth Allan 

Amma's Canteen, 285 Barlow Moor Road, Manchester M21 7GH. Tel: 0161 291 1682 

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Comptoir Libanais - Chicken Livers (£4.95)

Often overlooked for anything other than putting in a paté, chicken livers are almost a perfect food source. They’re cheap, have a gorgeous velvety texture, are full of protein and iron, low in fat, and go well with a ridiculous amount of different flavours; citrus, soy, garlic, curry spices, honey etc. Comptoir have created a dish called Sawda Djej where they sautée the chicken livers and serve them in a light sauce flavoured with garlic and pomegranate molasses. It’s slightly sweet, but also sour, light but also rich and makes a perfect balance to their fabulous, but mostly vegetarian mezze. Deanna Thomas

Comptoir Libanais, The Avenue, Spinningfields, M3 3HF. Tel: 0161 672 3888

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Randal & Aubin - Oysters (£18.50 for 8 mixed rocks)

Think ice cold Chablis, sea spray and sexy days out. That’s what oysters mean to Gordo. His dad and granddad, in years past, would get in their cars early on a Sunday morning and drive over from Salford to Southport or Blackpool with one thing on their minds; oysters for lunch. Today it’s rare to find good oysters in the North West; they travel down south and across the channel. There are only two or three places that can be relied upon to serve fresh, well shucked little fellas. When roving Confidential writer Jonathan Schofield was office bound, one look between him and Gordo around midday signified an unspoken agreement to meet in Grill on the Alley thirty minutes later for an oyster orgy.

Now there’s a new kid on the block, Randal and Aubin. They do mixed platters of Irish, French and natives, each with their own personality; skinny and tangy, plump and creamy, sophisticated and sexy. These guys shift a lot, present them well and Gordo is happy. What Gordo isn’t happy about is the music level. Apparently, the gaff has to keep it at the level dictated by London. Guys, it’s too loud if you have to shout across the table. But, if needs be, Gordo will return and wear earplugs. The seafood is that good. Gordo

Randall & Aubin, 64 Bridge St, Manchester M3 3BN. Tel: 0161 7111 007

Oysters Randall Aubin


Zelman Meats - Cow x3

It's no secret that the London-conquering Burger & Lobster chain has struggled to settle in Manchester, and with talk of an exit from King Street, the arrival of their sister steakhouse brand, Zelman Meats, for a month long pop-up got tongues wagging. Were they casing out the city for a takeover of B&L? On this performance, let's hope so. Zelman don't muck about with ageing their beef which means they manage to keep costs down (starting from £6 for 100g of Picanha – that’s Brazilian for rump), and the meat, oh lord the meat - Oz strip loin, UK chateaubriand and American Picanha - which comes streaming out piled high in a charred, pink, rolling orgy of flesh, would have you forget the age-craze ever happened. Here it came served beside a big, bullying smoked short rib, bronzed and glistening under the lights like Ray Winstone in Sexy Beast. Ace. But get a wriggle on, they're only here 'til the end of the month.

Find Zelman Meats in Burger & Lobster Manchester, Brown Street, until 30 July (Weds-Sat, 5pm-10pm). Call 0161 832 0222 to book or drop-in.

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Raw Ribeye of Ox in Coal Oil – Moor Hall (part of £95 tasting menu)

Modern classic has a ring to it, conjuring up images of that slim Penguin volume of Virginia Woolf you never got around to reading, though it still looks pretty on the shelf. On a different plane (sic) easyJet are now stocking Brewdog Punk IPA, colourful cans of which also proclaim ‘modern classic’; though the bland contents hardly live up to it. Which brings us to a true contemporary culinary classic, spawned in Cartmel and resident at The Midland French in its Simon Rogan period (which seems as distant now as the Bloomsbury Set). It’s kitchen lore that L’Enclume’s signature dish was forged in the imagination of Rogan’s head chef Mark Birchall and at Moor Hall, his august new restaurant with rooms out among the Ormskirk tatie patches, Mark’s serving an improved incarnation incorporating chocolate crumb. It looks a picture worthy of a Penguin cover –pocks of vivid yellow mustard, barbecued celeriac and those provocative cubelets of 60 day aged beef plus a sharklike black wafer. The original prompted Giles Coren famously to declare: “Id walk to Manchester barefoot in the rain for one more mouthful.” Perhaps he should turn left up the M58. Neil Sowerby

Moor Hall Restaurant with Rooms, Prescot Road, Ormskirk L39 6RT. 01695 572511. https://moorhall.com/

Moor Hall Beef Charcoal


Chez Mal - Scallops & Chorizo (£13.50)

Good dishes often display internal contradictions. Hard, soft, sweet, sour. This is the game chefs play to keep the tastebuds, the nose and eyes entertained. The scallops starter at Chez Mal performs that delicate dance perfectly. It’s a thing of joy to behold with the soft interior and tougher exterior of the seafood perfectly timed. The key here though is the delightfully salty chorizo, giving the dish extra bite and edge. The spinach puree with its soft, harsh kick works well too. Jonathan Schofield

Chez Mal Brasserie, Malmaison Hotel, Gore Street, Manchester M1 3AQ. Tel: 0161 641 1883

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Gusto - Sea Bass in a Salt Crust (£18.95)

Yes, Gordo had this in Leeds, but is going to check out Gusto Manchester to see if they are as good with this dish as the excellent team over the Pennines. A whole sea bass, stuffed with aromatics in the cavity, then baked inside a pile of rock salt. The salt bakes into a crust, keeping the fish steaming in it’s own juices whilst the aromatics flavours the large, firm meaty fillets. It’s bloody lovely. Try one; get a green salad with it, maybe some fries. A nice bit of mayo and you’re away with the faeries. Mark Garner

Gusto, 4 Lloyd St, Manchester M2 5AB. Tel: 0161 832 2866

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