David Adamson enjoys an evening of luxury living in the city centre
Where better for a weekend in the city than Manchester? It seems even if you already live in the North West the magnetic pull of the city, and all it has to offer, is too great to resist.
But sometimes the last train back isn't what you want, and the slightly anonymous nature of a Premier Inn just doesn't quite cut it.
I was invited by Citysuites II to stay in one of their apartments for the evening, along with dinner at their Enbankment Kitchen restaurant. Being only a ten minute train ride from home, this felt very luxurious indeed.
Snugly tucked away behind Chapel Street, Citysuites II has that rare vantage of being very much smack bang in the middle of things while not feeling swamped in all the light and sound of city life. Just across from the Cathedral, it's positively peaceful.
I had a one bedroom apartment for the evening, high up on the 14th floor with views out onto the ever-growing city, including the AO Arena, which looked a short walk even if a few pre-gig drinks had made you a little lazy.
The apartment itself was handsome, clean and well-furnished with everything you'd need for a night or two away from home. It seems this is effectively what Citysuites have tried to achieve - somewhere with the comforts of home. I was certainly very comfortable, turning the telly on feeling like I owned the place.
The kitchen is kitted out with all that you'd need should you decide on cooking one evening. I don't have more than one spatula in my own kitchen, so was put the shame by the full drawers. And there was already washing up liquid under the sink. However there was no danger of me rattling any pans, what with a table at Enbankment Kitchen booked at 7pm.
The lounge is snugly made up of a spacious L-shaped sofa tucked into the corner and a generously-sized telly on the wall for those idle hours before leaving for dinner, a gig or whatever is taking your fancy.
I can confirm the sofa as one of the comfiest I have sat on. So much that I was dangerously close to falling asleep on it later that evening, thanks to Enbankment's red wine.
I got my gladrags on and met my friend Ali downstairs for a drink before dinner. While of course we could have made the short wander down to The Black Friar, there's the danger that you'll never leave the cosy confines of that place, so we stuck closer to home with The Black Lion Hotel, equally as inviting and just at the end of the street.
Dinner at Enbankment Kitchen
Laid out in a spacious and glass-fronted ground floor, Embankment Kitchen has the year-round benefit of feeling cosy in the winter and, no doubt when the summer sun reappears, being bathed in light when it's wanted.
A mixture of tables, booths and banquettes, it's the sort of space that could accommodate a variety of different dining setups; date night, family dinner, a quick pre-gig meal.
Ali and I ordered a trio of small plates (three for £19) to get things moving - sticky crispy pork belly, salt and pepper squid and sticky chicken lollipops. There was an interesting array of small plates to share, and there was much to like about each of them, but I wouldn't be a food writer if I didn't give some notes: the chicken could have been lent further whack and whizz with a vinegary thai dressing on the salad, the pork belly could have been 50% crispier, and unfortunately the squid was bafflingly unbattered, instead accompanied by peppers with a flavour about two continents away from frito misto. Ultimately these are improvements that can be easily made on what are largely well-thought out dishes.
For mains Ali went for the pan fried duck breast (£28) with braised red cabbage, fondant potato, broccoli and a red wine jus. He decided to swap out the fondant potato for fries, as good an accompaniment for a nice pink piece of duck and a plummy jus. I chose the braised short rib bourguignon (£24), intrigued by the prospect of a bonafide classic incorporating a different take on the boeuf side of a bourguignon. It was largely a success, although I look forward to this dish for the swimming pool of beautiful stew with bobbing onions, and this was a little closer to a paddling pool. Again, with more sauce, and more to the sauce, this could be a success.
All this and a bottle of the house red - Sospiro Rosso D'Italia - and the aforementioned sofa was beckoning.
I'm very fortunate to come from this part of the world and call it home, so the ease of a train journey means Manchester city centre is never too far away. Plenty are flocking here every weekend and with somewhere like Citisuites on offer, there's every opportunity to feel at home while on a weekend away.
David stayed at CitySuites II, Manchester's luxury aparthotel, which is offering an extra special gift for five lucky couples who get engaged at CitySuites II or Embankment Kitchen between 12-18 February.
Each couple will receive a free stay in a premium two bed apartment, complete with king sized beds, a spacious living area and special treats like a bottle of Prosecco on arrival and truffles made by the hotel's in-house patisserie chef.
- Tag @citysuitesuk on Instagram showing proof of your engagement during your visit to CitySuites II or Embankment Kitchen.
- Engagements must be made at CitySuites II or Embankment Kitchen between 12-18 February 2024.
- Your complimentary stay will be subject to availability in our Two Bedroom Premium apartments in CitySuites II.
- Prize must be redeemed by 31st December 2024.
- Up to five stays available – winners will be drawn from a hat if more than five entries.
Embankment Kitchen is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 4-10pm, with food served from 5pm.
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