Our coats are still on so our best dishes are anything but summery
Summer's here, kicking off with a long bank hol - and the first-ever bank holiday Thursday. We're just waiting for the flippin' weather to catch up.
While we're waiting, we're snacking - as per. This month's round-up of suggested morsels features such distinctly un-summery players as doorstop butties, black pudding and deep-fried potatoes. With belly warmers like this, who needs the sun?
Here are the best dishes to eat in Manchester in June.
Papa, Cafe Sanjuan (£5)
There’s a lot of talk of DILFs in our office from certain absolutely filthy members of the editorial team but one papa I met up with recently in a cafe in Stockport ticked all my requisite boxes. Papa, slightly disappointingly, just means potato in American Spanish, and this edible daddy from Cafe Sanjuan (not to be confused with the equally wonderful San Juan tapas bar in Chorlton) is a tennis ball of mashed spud stuffed with shredded, slow cooked brisket, coated in San Miguel spiked batter and deep-fried. It’s served hot enough to put your mouth out of action for at least 24 hours so your patience will be rewarded. For dipping there’s one of Sanjuan owner Luis Felipe’s special salsas, this one a stunning combo of orange juice, garlic and woody herbs. Looking for a great under-a-fiver lunch? Look no father. Kelly Bishop @keliseating
Radicchio, pear, mint, nuts & seeds, whipped mascarpone, 10 Tib Lane (£9)
Just about beating San Juan’s papa in the best dad stakes is my actual dad, Trev. Me and Trev were off to a wine tasting from Manchester Wine School and he kindly took the opportunity to treat me to dinner beforehand to top up his dad points. Our dad-daughter dinner date took us to 10 Tib Lane where our charming Colorado-born waiter complimented me on my vulva-patterned trousers and showed me pics of his very own pair of fanny pants. But it’s not just extremely personal service at 10 Tib, the food lives up to the hype. Every time I visit, I’m coloured impressed and this was no exception. Yep it’s small plates, but there isn’t an iota of the laziness than can come from that approach here. The dish that had my eyes out on stalks was a little salad of lovely bitter radicchio, sweet pear and fresh mint with caramelised nuts for added crunch. The thing that set it apart from other salads of its ilk was the choice of cheese. No basic blue, goats or mozzarella here, this well-dressed chap was lounging on a fluffy cushion of whipped mascarpone. I was sceptical that its delicate flavour wouldn’t cut it with all those flavour pugilists but I needn’t have been. It’s an absolute belter of a dish, this. Kelly Bishop @keliseating
Tom Yum Koong, Thai No 6 (£12.95)
I've been on the hunt for Manchester's best noodles recently. And while I'm still very much exploring the options, an early contender is the tom yum koong from Thai No 6, specialists in all things spicy. The tom yum is a hot, sour broth traditionally made with aromatics such as lemongrass, fish sauce, ginger, galangal and kaffir lime leaves swirled with creamy coconut milk. Then, a decent tangle of egg noodles and a veritable aquarium of seafood - prawns, squid rings, fishballs and even a tiny octopus floating along. The other dishes we ordered had a good kick but this was on the more soothing side of spicy, a lemongrass balm for the soul. Lucy Tomlinson
Eggs Florentine with black pudding, Trove (£10.50)
There was an article in The Guardian recently on New York photographer Nancy A Scherl’s images of solo diners. Her images span three decades and capture people eating alone in a variety of eateries, subjects so often carrying the same look. The sort of contentedness you’d wear on your face comfortably sitting on a bench at the seaside looking out to sea. No need to talk. The sun is going down but you know everything’s still going to be there in the morning, for better or worse.
These eggs put that look on my face. They made me feel like a human lava lamp. Slow bliss.
Steamed cavolo nero as green as the grass on a Microsoft screensaver dressed with a homemade herb oil, and soft, bouncy white sourdough to soak (when sourdough so often repels) up all the umami of the miso hollandaise and chunks of black pudding. The eggs streamed yolk over everything the moment I reached for my knife. Sitting there on my ones after the last bite, a warm flush of satisfaction passing over me, if Scherl had been around she might’ve got a half-decent picture. Bravo Trove. Davey Brett @dbretteats
(I Just) Died In Your Barm, Ate Days a Week (£9)
There’s nothing quite as humbling as the intense heart pain you get after eating a pie barm. That feeling when you’ve had so many white carbs that you’re struggling to breathe, in a good way. Ate Days a Week followed me on my move from Stockport to Manchester city centre earlier this year, and home to five-time British Pie Award-winning pies, it's a no-brainer when you’re starving.
This month’s memorable carb killer came in the form of a breakfast pie with streaky bacon, sausage, hash brown, black pudding, and beans, all wrapped up in that buttery shortcrust that holds the filling steadfast. The contents of the pie was mixed perfectly, creating that ideal Full English fork-full with every bite - and there wasn't a soggy bottom in sight. Sat within the fluffy embrace of a white barm, and topped with a perfectly runny fried egg, this pie butty made up for its lack of aesthetic prowess with pure flavour. If, like me, you think a dry pie is criminal, get some gravy (£2) on the side to dip in or pour over. You might need a nap after this one, so Cutting Crew were right, I just died in your barms tonight, it must've been something in bread. Ellie-Jo Johnstone @elliejoj.
Chicken sandwich, Rack (£4.90)
I forgot how much I love a really good sandwich. I don’t mean artisanal bread, melted yak’s cheese or piles of curiously cured meats. I’m talking a good old sarnie, the bread and butter of lunchtimes. Well, crusty white loaf, as Samantha Mumba wisely sang, “I’ll always come back to your love.” I’ve gone hard on OG sandwiches this month, devouring a ham, cheese and coleslaw monster from Rowntrees caf in the Arndale, and falling in love with Shirley’s just off Lincoln Square.
When I placed my order at Rack on Lawrence Street in Stockport I was blissfully unaware that the piles of chicken would be complimented with roast chicken flavour crisps. In fact, if you look closely at most of the sandwiches on the menu at the tiny butty hatch, you’ll find that most are paired with a requisite crisp texturiser. From Frazzles on the egg mayo, to salt and vinegar Chipsticks on the tuna. Rack is out here doing the lord’s work and all you have to do is hop on the train to SK1 to worship at its crunchy altar. Sophie Rahnema @sophieshahla
Baklawa, Zeugma (£7.50)
Driving home from work through Didsbury every day for the past four years I’ve been watching the many comings and goings of restaurants on the last stretch out towards Fletcher Moss. My favourite was the Spanish restaurant on the right-hand side, the name of which escapes me whilst the excellent whole wild turbot hasn’t.
The chippy on the far right went from one of the best in the area to one of the worst. However, it now appears to be morphing into some weird café for dungaree wearing ladies. They look like they’ve just come back from an audition as an extra in a film about WWII land girls shagging German POWs from the camp on the other side of the river.
I’m not a great fan of Turkish cuisine; cold mezze for me is the stuff of nightmares that hang around back entries in Salford for days on end. And it sometimes seems that costs are kept down on lamb by [text removed by the Editor for fear of repercussions].
Not at Zeugma, the Turkish restaurant, they’re not. The whole experience was a pleasant surprise. The lamb chops hadn’t been diverted to Aberystwyth and the chicken wings off the grill were gorgeous. But what really floated my boat was the baklava. The pastry was crisp, golden and lush, whilst the pistachio nut content had been doubled and still had that creamy texture they get when ultra-fresh. The bottoms were dark brown caramel, that nearly-but-not burnt stage and the honey just oooozed out. With a big blob of lovely rustic vanilla ice cream. Dynamite. Go. Or else. Gordo @gordomanchester
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