Plus: Another chance to get your mitts on that ridiculous Mana burger
It's getting closer and closer to that magical date of 12 April, and we're looking forward to meeting up with pals again for a very sensible and reserved small glass of wine and some olives. You too, right?
If you've not booked a table yet, there are some ideas in this week's roundup as well as a few options for those of you who have got used to restaurants coming to you and are quite happy for it to stay that way.
Read on for some exciting options for outdoor dining and drinking, an award-winning Manchester rum and the sad news of some of our favourites closing.
Pump up the volume at Manchester Craft Beer fest
Tapping into our city’s love of craft beer, the inaugural Manchester Craft Beer festival is happening in July. This one’s for anyone who likes a bit of the crafty stuff, whether you’re just dipping a toe in or have been doing backstroke in double dry-hopped pale ale for a while. Hmm, beer pump badges for swimming trunks - could that become a thing or have we been WFH for too long? Anyway, the brand-new festival at Depot Mayfield on 23 and 24 July 2021 will be soundtracked by Craig Charles, Daddy G (Massive Attack) DJ Set and Django Django DJ Set. It comes from the bods behind London Craft Beer Festival and Bigfoot Festival and promises to host: “A stellar line-up of world-class breweries, from household names to local heroes and new kids on the block”. Highlights look like our own Bundobust showcasing its brewpub for the first time and a New York showcase including Grimm, Barrier, KCBC and Equilibrium breweries. Tickets for Manchester Craft Beer festival are on sale now for £49.50 per five-hour sesh.
Manchester rum crowned top caner
One of Manchester’s top indie rum brands Rockstar Spirits has been awarded triple gold at the Rum & Cachaça Masters 2021 for its Captn Webb's Two Swallows Citrus & Salted Caramel, Pineapple Grenade and Banana Bomb rums. The Rum & Cachaça Masters seeks out and celebrates the finest rum and cachaça brands on the world stage. Chaired by The Spirits Business and a panel of leading spirits specialists, the rums and cachaças are judged in a blind tasting.
Rockstar Spirits’ Mancunian founder Tom Hurst said: “Rockstar Spirits was born and raised right here in Manchester, and for us to receive accolades like this, having gone up against brands worldwide is really something. Three golds in one competition puts us at the Chris Hoy, Usain Bolt kind of level of performance so needless to say we are absolutely over the moon. I hope everyone else will be too when you try our Golden rums.”
Ramona's on fire
Ramona has announced the next phase of its massive Capital & Centric funded foodie fairground: A beer garden, campfire and margarita bar due to open on (the new Xmas day?) April 12th. Ramona has been teasing us with its too hip to be square (no, actually they are square) Detroit style pizzas and now, finally there will be a pew to pull up and enjoy a slice with up-to-six-people-from-two-households. I don’t want to go on about the weather but a campfire sounds like a great idea for these upcoming outdoor survivalist times - complete with margaritas, warm coats and freshly baked fancy pizza. The pics they’re sharing on socials look suitably circus-esque so the fact that I’ve turned into the bearded lady in lockdown shouldn’t be an issue. This outdoor option joins a whole host of other places you can eat and drink outside in Manchester.
Oh, bloody hell is it nearly Easter already? With virtually no way of marking the change of day, week or month at the moment, it’s hard to keep track. The best way we’ve found to keep up with calendar changes is to see what cook-at-home-box-mongers like Six By Nico are up to. The latest seasonal showcase from its HOME-X brand is the Easter Sunday experience which features a lamb-tastic menu for two with a lamb rump main, two starters (split pea and ham broth and chicken liver parfait) a chocolate, caramel and cherry dessert and a bottle of Tempranillo from Jumilla (one for Rioja fans). The Easter box is £65 for two including delivery and available to pre-order now with delivery on Saturday 3rd April 2021 only. Other April editions include ‘Cooking Vietnam’ by Home by Nico and new menus for its multiple other subsidiaries Chateau-X, Lobster Inc, Green Haus, newbie ROAST by The Loveable Rogue and The Cheese Club. Phew! All April HOME-X experiences are available to order now on the HOME-X platform.
Eat Well Mana-chester
If you missed the first round of burgers from Michelin star restaurant turned crunk junk food joint Mana, now’s your chance to get hold of one. A limited number of the burgers have gone on the Eat Well MCR Marketplace today. The bougie burgers come in what looks like a shoebox inside a Harvey Nicks bag and may or may not include a solid silver chippy fork. Burger components include Cumbrian blue-grey beef, cheese sauce made from Cloudwater beer and St Andrews cheddar and preserved ramson (aka wild garlic) and parsley paste. If you prefer something a bit more down to earth and more sustainably packaged but also Michelin approved, Where The Light Gets In has some lovely mutton pie dinners for sale on the Eat Well Marketplace too.
Prima-doner- GDK opens in Stockport
If you thought kebabs were all about soaking up ten pints of lager at 2am, well you’d be right but this fast-food retailer reckons it has created ‘a healthy and nutritionally balanced approach to traditional kebabs’. German Doner Kebab is the most functional, if not the most creative name for a food business we’ve heard lately. While Germany might not be the first place you think of when it comes to kebabs, the learned among you will know that the doner kebab is believed to have been invented in Berlin by a Turkish fella named Kadir Nurman. So they have quite a rep for a wrap, but it’s not just your classic kebab on offer. Also on the menu are doner quesadillas, doner nachos, Dorito Krunch burgers and a ‘Doner Gym Box’ which contains 44g of protein - if those kinds of numbers float your boat. GDK has been a Berlin institution since the late eighties and has branches worldwide but this one in a former Carphone Warehouse unit of the retail park on Great Portwood Street, Stockport is the first in Greater Manchester. You can order on Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat now.
Tapas on the Terrace
In other outdoor dining news, Latin-influenced siblings Canto and El Gato Negro will launch Tapas on the Terrace on 12 April. The pavement terraces of each restaurant will open up for diners to enjoy their range of Spanish and Portuguese small plates, with 70 covers on King St (El Gato Negro), and 50 on Blossom St, looking onto Cutting Room Square (Canto). Both events will run seven days a week, from 12pm to 10pm, up until the restaurants’ official reopening on May 17, government restrictions permitting. Online reservations are available for dining, with walk-ins available for those looking for a drink. All are subject to government guidelines, with a maximum party size of six and two households. A bottle shop will also be available at both restaurants for at-home consumption, with Canto also providing a deli service. Bookings for El Gato Negro and Canto can be made online now.
A sad note to close on, so long Veeno
As many of our favourite places to eat and drink look towards reopening from 12 April, sadly COVID casualties are likely to include a fair few hospitably businesses. We’re gutted to see that one of our favourite Manchester wine bars, Veeno has announced its closure. The Manchester-born chain was launched by a couple of Sicilian students and now had branches up and down the country, so it’s very sad to see this flagship sink. Over at the Arndale, the very short-lived Kiosk (from the team behind General Store Ancoats) has also announced it will not be reopening and we’re hearing (unconfirmed) whispers that Harvey Nicks’ brasserie is also no more. More on this when we have it.