Our writers and staff choose their favourite dishes from November

ANOTHER month, another round of dishes that held our taste buds to ransom. The Manchester Confidential writing staff (and lesser-spotted species from the likes of social media and technical) share their favourite dishes from November.

2023 11 14 Hyatt Churchill Friday Crab Canape 2023 11 14 Hyatt Churchill Friday Seabass Canape 2023 11 14 Hyatt Churchill Friday Lobster Canape

Trio of seafood canapes, Montagu Kitchen and Lounge, Marylebone

My choice this month is a thoroughly classy trio of canapes from a thoroughly classy weekend away at The Hyatt Regency London The Churchill, which is a mouthful in itself. 

Dressed for dinner on the Friday evening, I headed down to The Montagu Kitchen and Lounge, where my friend and freeloader Tom was waiting. We were led to near the open kitchen, where Executive Chef Carlo Martino was ready to talk us through an enticing array of canapes as Roberto stood dutifully tilting a bottle of Telmont champagne. Sometimes it's a hard life, this journalism racket. 

"It's about simplicity - you have to let the quality of the ingredients sing for themselves," said Carlo, and here the canapes were in a wonderful chorus. 

Each was beautifully simple. From the fresh and fragrant white crab and the moreish tang of the seabass ceviche to the rich and terribly regal Scottish lobster and caviar blinis. The feeling of being thoroughly spoiled washed over me, and while I tried desperately to save my appetite for dinner, I simply couldn't stop myself. 

David Adamson  @davidadamson123

November Dotm Jonathan Turbot
Turbot from Only Yu Image: Confidentials

Turbot, Only Yu Oriental Cuisine (£49)

I’m partial to a flat fish and the king of the flat fish is the turbot. This is a bottom-dwelling beast that can never be two-faced as both its eyes are on one side of its head. The turbot is generous in scale and generous in the gifts of flavour it bestows on the diner. The flesh is intensely white, almost blindingly so.

In Only Yu it comes with ginger and spring onion and a delicious bisque which should be spooned onto the boiled rice, not egg fried rice for this one. Another interesting addition is coriander, which surprisingly didn’t overwhelm the turbot but along with its companions gave the dish a zip and tang which added greatly to the variety of flavour. Not that the turbot really needs it, because the flesh has such a fresh ocean character it scarcely needs any accompaniment. 

There’s a choice of cooking; steamed or pan-fried. Don’t be daft with this, it has to be steamed to preserve the excellence of the fish. £49 is a lot of money but remember there’s more than enough of the turbot for two. Treat it like the Chateaubriand of the sea. The name Only Yu obviously put this song by The Platters into our heads. That would be Only You, of course, which we sang at full volume to our dear friend, Mr Turbot, on his platter…well…er plate. The whole restaurant joined in, love and peace spread all around, harmony was the order of the afternoon while outside the sun and the moon danced a jig and reel. 

Jonathan Schofield  @jonathschofield

November Dotm Harley Toastie
Brie, bacon and cranberry sauce toastie from Northern Soul Grilled Cheese Image: Confidentials

Brie Wish U A Merry Christmas, Northern Soul Grilled Cheese (£10)

If you hadn’t guessed from all the bright lights, £8 pints, £12 bratwurst and Mariah Carey on loop, it’s almost Christmas here in Manchester. Love it or hate it, you can’t deny there’s some bloody good seasonal specials flying around. 

Filled to the brim with oozy French brie, Cumbrian streaky bacon and homemade cranberry sauce, you can’t really get any more festive than this. Topped with a massive pickle cut in half - as all Northern Soul’s great grilled cheeses are - this sweet and savoury ooey-gooey delight warmed my cold heart enough that I even listened to Wham’s Last Christmas on the way home. 

Harley Young  @Harley__Young

November Dotm Mark Wings
Calabrian chicken wings from DieCast Image: Confidentials

Calabrian chicken wings with sour cream and Sicilian oregano, DieCast (£9.50)

Calabria is the toe of the Italian boot. You can expect heat in the cooking from the spicy red peppers down there, with a ton of garlic. Herbs, in this case oregano, are typical along with citrus notes. These contained all the above, masterfully put together. The wings were plump from well-fed, exercised birds, cooked to glass-like crispness; covered with a sauce the consistency of a Chinese sweet n sour, but without the radioactivity. Sticky, sweet-ish and loaded with citrus and heat, reminiscent of boiled sweets bought in the newsagents walking back from Grosvenor Road primary in Salford aged six. It might have been lemon, orange and pomegranate. I’ll probably be well off on that; by this stage I was tripping on the whole experience.

Bloody glorious and scored a rare perfect 10 in my official review.  

Mark Garner   @Gordomanchester

November Dotm Neil Omlette Arnold Bennett
Omlette Arnold Bennett from The Pearl Image: The Pearl

Omelette Arnold Bennett, The Pearl (£10) 

The Old Wives’ Tale, Riceyman Steps, Anna of the Five Towns. Best-selling novels in their day that helped earn Arnold Bennett a fortune a century ago, all eclipsed by an egg dish bearing his name. How the vastly prolific author found time to eat is a mystery, but his habitual dining spot, The Savoy, pandered to his love of creamy smoked haddock by creating the ‘Omelette Arnold Bennett’ in his honour. It’s still on the menu at Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill for a princely £23, though it has mutated into a soufflé. 

London rival The Wolesley keeps the faith with its traditional interpretation costing a mere £19.50. Tom Kerridge is another champion, though he can’t help over-egging it with a Lobster Thermidor version (£140 to share). My most memorable encounter came over a decade ago when, charged with minding Fergus Henderson for the afternoon before his Manchester Food and Drink Festival appearance, I took him to one of the Chop Houses to his delight: “Omelette Arnold B and devilled kidneys… this hits the spot.” So too did two bottles of fine Burgundy. 

A more modest glass of Muscadet accompanied my latest, joyous encounter with the dish in this charming new addition to the Prestwich dining scene. It’s a starter on chef Iain Thomas’ tight menu, but comes as a generous plateful, packed with proper undyed finnan haddock, oozing with a Yorkshire pecorino béchamel, glazed on top, just a hint of crisp sear along the edges. A masterpiece in its own right. 

Neil Sowerby  @AntonEgoManc

November Dotm Jake Pork
Iberico pork presa from Volta, Didsbury Image: Confidentials

Iberico pork presa, roasted plums, brown butter and sage, Volta, Didsbury (£17.00)

This month I have been on a real global food odyssey and choosing a dish of the month has been no mean feat. Salt beef bagels in Liverpool, Pudding and chips in Oldham, Hot chicken sandwiches in Macclesfield, kebabs in Benidorm. I’ve had them all. But I have decided to plump for the standout dish from a recent visit to Volta in Didsbury – the Iberico pork presa with roasted plums and brown butter. 

Anyone who knows me knows I am a pork maniac and this was top tier stuff – pink in the right places with the perfect amount of gristle complemented by a generous amount of butter to blob it into. Just as impressive though was the service and the fact that Volta is still chucking out food as good as this after all these years. Don’t sleep on it – it’s still one of the best neighbourhood joints around.

Jake Ogden  @Mancogden

November Dotm George Bap
Bibimbap from Bab K at Kargo MKT Image: Confidentials

Bibimbap, Bab K at Kargo MKT (£18)

When visiting the Lowry Theatre normally you have to settle for a Wagamama or a Pizza Express but now you have so much choice with the opening of Kargo MKT it could make your mind implode. It took me a good fifteen minutes to decide on where to order but I settled for Bab Korean Food. At this point I was starving hungry and then I had to decide on Korean Street food or Bibimbab - my poor anxious pre-menopausal mind was going into hyperdrive at this point. 

Choosing a pre-theatre bite shouldn’t cause this much stress - maybe I should have settled for my Pizza Express Fiorentina with no olives, extra mozzarella, and a runny egg? But no, I opted for the Bibimbap - a rice topped bowl with vegetables, pickles and marinated meat. I went for the slow cooked beef. When it arrived all the stress of pre-theatre dinner decisions just melted away.

I was presented with a wholesome bowl of goodness. This is a simple dish with simple ingredients. We’re not talking about fine dining, but this is something great for the soul. Non starchy sushi rice with all grains separated, layers of fresh vegetables and pickles, a runny fried egg - no greying hard yolk. All topped with the most tender slow cooked beef drizzled with a slightly spicy sweet sticky gochujang sauce with a scattering of sesame seeds. I felt positively angelic when I ate this, all my five a day in one bowl. 

Georgina Harrington Hague   @georginahague

November Dotm Martyn Tom Yum
Kuay Teaw Tom Yum from Thai Kitchen No.6 Image: Confidentials

Kuay Teaw Tom Yum Moo, Thai Kitchen No.6 (£13.95)

When people ask me what my favourite restaurant is in Manchester, Thai Kitchen No.6 is my go-to answer. It's super friendly, authentic with knobs on, and does a quick enough turnaround to have a proper freshly cooked meal in a lunch hour. What I really appreciate is that you just get up and pay your bill at the till when you're finished rather than waiting for a long-lost waiter to be rescued by Indiana Jones.

The cold weather snap has given me a sniffle, so I was really craving something comforting with a sinus-clearing chilli kick. This spicy tom yum fits the bill. Translating roughly as flat noodle hot and sour soup, it comes with pork three ways; sliced, minced and meatballs. The meatballs are my favourite with a satisfyingly firm bite (I just wish there were a couple more). They fulfil my dirty mechanically reclaimed meat cravings better than a Christmas market currywurst and the restaurant even has an adorable little Christmas themed area with tree decorations for sale so you can get all festive without being a market mug. 

The soup beats any ramen I've had in Manchester. Okay, I've not had loads, but it has a perfect balance of chilli oil, savoury broth, aromatics and subtle vinegar. The chilli is warming and cathartic rather than mouth-blastingly fiery (the Ka Paw does that job superbly when required). The freshness of the spring onion garnish and choi sum (cabbage) elevates the dish to something special. This freshness is a regular detail which I think edges Thai Kitchen No.6 above other Thai places in Manchester.

You can't get away with sad veg in Thai food like you can with a Franco/Anglo meaty stew. Crushed peanuts add some crunch and they ain't stingy with the noodles. I'm going to be a bit less British next time and ask for chopsticks as the spoon and fork spaghetti method is hard work with this. 

Martyn Pitchford  @Pitch_Blend

November Dotm Lucy Tenderloin
Pork tenderloin from The Bells of Peover Image: Confidentials

Pork tenderloin, black pudding suet pudding, pancetta jus, whole grain mash and charred tenderstem broccoli, The Bells of Peover (£24.00)

This really is a masterpiece by The Bells of Peover’s talented head chef, Adie Munt. I am not usually a big fan of ordering pork when dining out, but this dish changed that for sure. Pork tenderloin, expertly paired with a rich and flavourful black pudding suet pudding and a pancetta jus on the side, is accompanied by a luscious whole grain mash that offers a comforting texture, and crisp and vibrant tender stem broccoli. This dish is one to indulge on a cold winter’s day in the warm and cosy setting of the quaintest of gastropubs.

Lucy Allen

November Dotm Hayden Pie
The United Pie from Old Trafford Image: Confidentials

The United Pie, Old Trafford (£4.40)

I don’t think I could choose a drink again this month for the punishment would be severe (apparently). But I wanted to give a quick shout-out to the Tomato Margarita at new bar Stray (attached to the Mackie Mayor), it’s almost savoury enough to be classed as a ‘boozy soup of wonder’.

Anyway. Plenty of times over the past ten years as a United fan I’ve eaten humble pie but when recently visiting for the spectacle of the women’s Manchester derby, I had an actual pie. I had a renewed unfounded confidence (which was of course misplaced, City won 1-3). The United pie or any match pie, to be honest, is something that is usually a struggle for me, I haven’t quite figured out the knack of eating a pie that is hotter than hell without a fork, you can tell despite growing up in Wigan the skills needed are only transferable via genetics. 

The United pie is a beef, chilli and cheese pie, all things that go together well - unlike United’s back four. Much like some of United’s most famous victories, it’s elevated on a cold rainy day. Whilst @footyscran fans have probably given this the infamous ‘not scran’ vote, it’s what I needed and it more than served its purpose as a pre-match provider of calories. YANITED.

Hayden Naughton  @HaydenNaughton

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