Plus: yet more General Stores, Malaysian cooking classes and more
Finally indoor dining returns from next week after what feels like ten billion, million, squillion years. The Manchester Confidential team will be out and about throwing our money at some of our favourites and probably shedding a happy little tear at the return of the industry that we live, sleep and breathe - without the need to don an entire suit made from umbrellas.
Here are some food and drink highlights that have hit our radar this week.
Koffee Pot for Oxford Rd
We’ve had a lot of press releases this week about venues reopening on 17 May. But two venues we thought we’d lost this time last year are Deaf Institute and Gorilla that were both threatened with closure as Mission Mars cut down its portfolio before being heroically bought out by Tokyo Industries later in the year. Not only does the reopening of these key music venues get our toes tapping impatiently but Manchester’s OG champion of breakfasts Koffee Pot is moving into Deaf’s kitchen to bring those all-important belly busters (and lunch and dinner too) to the Oxford Rd side of town. Gorilla’s famous Sunday roasts and brunches will also return, along with a brand new dessert menu from Mancunian Masterchef finalist Exose Grant. There’s been a refurb of both venues with souped-up light and sound systems. If you're as gagging for the return of gigs as we are, check out the upcoming music listings for Deaf Institute and Gorilla.
It’s Alive! Live! (Market in your diary)
On Saturday 15 May, uber-cool natural wine shop It’s Alive! will be doing its first-ever pop-up at Rawtenstall Market. Expect funky, bang on trend wines, craft beer and kombucha and maybe a chance to taste before you try - COVID rules allowing. We’re so pleased to see these foodie markets returning all over Greater Manchester. Always a good opportunity to try food from local makers, bakers, movers and shakers. Rawtenstall Market takes place every Thursday and Saturday from 9am-4pm. It’s Alive! is there this Saturday only - for now.
It’s all booting off again at Old Trafford (in a good way)
Ahead of 10,000 fans returning to Old Trafford on Tuesday 18 May in what should be a routine demolition of relegated Fulham (no pressure, Reds), Hotel Football will welcome back guests the day before with leisure stays and a full breakfast, lunch and dinner service adhering to government guidance. The hotel’s Old Trafford Supporters Club will also be open before and after the Fulham game with a live screening of the match to restricted numbers. The hotel’s events schedule will kick off on Sunday 23 May with a Paul Scholes weekender package. Let’s hope everyone stays off the pitch.
Join the club
Junkyard Golf Club has hit an all-time record before it’s even had a chance to reopen on 17 May. Pre-bookings for the boozy golf course have jumped up 250% since it last opened its doors back in the before times. No more confirmation needed that Manchester is more than ready to get back to business. And, if you think about it, the neon neverland is a great place for *sigh* socially-distanced indoor fun. Groups of six (or less) can choose one of three new outlandishly themed courses at the First Street venue including the peculiar Polluted Paradise - described as a “litter strewn jungle” - that is, to be honest, a harrowing peek into the future.
Follow Junkyard Golf’s Instagram page for more news and offers.
We're game if you are
The UK’s most prominent game chef and restaurateur Mike Robinson is all set to open his third venture, this time in a boutique hotel in characterful Chester. Hotel Indigo will be home to new restaurant The Forge - in the spot formerly occupied by Simon Wood. Robinson plans to stick to the hunter-gatherer style of cooking showcased on his TV show Farming The Wild.
Exclusively British ingredients including wild venison and wood pigeon will be grilled and roasted over wood and coals (hence the name) from an open kitchen in full view of guests. Priced at around £45 per person, guests can expect a “really memorable eating experience”. Find out more about the philosophy behind the restaurant and book a table on The Forge's website.
Indie food and shopping complex Hatch has added another Manchester food fave to its roster of local brands. Cookie connoisseur Gooey will be serving up soft-baked cookies, decadent donuts and ice cream from its new shipping container home. Recent hits have included the Boston Cream donut - brioche dough packed with custard then dipped in Belgian chocolate - and Peanut Butter Jelly cookies, made with Reese's peanut butter chips and a strawberry jam centre. Drool.
It is the second Manchester kiosk for the Goosters. The original Gooey outlet is still serving up equally sugar-coma-inducing treats at the entrance of Ducie Street Warehouse Thursday-Sunday. The Hatch Kiosk will be open Wednesday-Sunday.
Kampus gets a General Store
There's another new addition to Kampus, Capital and Centric's £250 million residential and commercial project at the top of Canal Street. Mital Morar is bringing his General Store brand to the "garden neighbourhood" which will also be home to Common & Co's new pub and pizzeria opening in summer. The Kampus General Store will stock its usual range of local independent, artisan food and drink alongside well-known brands. A mezzanine space will provide a setting for tastings and workshops from local indies. Local brands on offer will include The Ottö-Men, MeatCo Manchester and Great North Pie Co. There will also be a zero-waste, household essential refill hub encouraging customers to fill up their own containers with cereals, washing up liquid, lentils, sugar and pasta.
Tampopo’s school of wok
Fancy learning some new cooking techniques? Tampopo has launched a brand-new cookery school with online and “real life” options. The online series of cook-alongs (£50 for 2 people) are hosted by Tampopo’s pal Ana, Zooming live from the Lazat School of Cooking in Kuala Lumpur and complete with monkey cameos. Ana will guide pupils through Malaysian Tampopo classics like Nasi Goreng and chicken satay with spicy peanut sauce. Pupils will receive a recipe kit in the post beforehand. Monkey cameos not your thing? What about a fox? Tampopo founder David Fox will also be hosting “real life” classes at the Trafford Centre restaurant for £65pp which include a welcome drink and lunch at the restaurant. Check out Tampopo's full programme of cookery school sessions and tickets.
Can you keep a secret, Altrincham?
Herb, kitchen, beer? We do love a garden. In fact, you could call them a perennial favourite. Bruntwood clearly agrees. A new temporary community space will sprout up in Altrincham's Stamford Square, named the Not So Secret Garden. The shopping area will be transformed into a suburban oasis with alfresco seating areas centred around a solar-powered pergola, complete with seating, festoon lighting and a blossoming wall of flowers.
The garden will host live music every Friday from vinyl and coffee specialist Stutter & Twitch; free fitness sessions with Orange Theory, foraging events by Into the Wild, sustainability workshops with Inch Arts, Art Jams with street artists such as Qubek and a regular programme of children's activities. There will be a foodie slant to proceedings as independent food retailers will be invited to trade on a weekly basis and the events programme will feature cookery demos from Manchester food legend Robert Owen Brown.
Pop up to Ancoats for cocktails
There’s a pop-up rum and live music bar operating from a loading bay in Ancoats this Saturday - and every Saturday going forward, all being well. Former chef, Maxi (pictured) and his business partner Brandon launched Witch Kings Rum as a passion project during lockdown and it turns out the fresh fruit liqueurs are perfect for their specially curated cocktails. Signature mix, Blazing Wreck features strawberry, chilli and lemon flavours, whilst Deep Purple is a rock and roll combination of blueberry, pineapple and hibiscus. The duo has a licence to serve from the tiny patch of concrete by the side of Block 23 in Ancoats - also home to sandwich heroes Bada Bing. Tickets for the Saturday-only micro bar are £5 per person, and include a free drink as well as performances from local musicians.
Summer of grub at Refuge
The Refuge bar at the Kimpton Clocktower hotel has announced a "street food collaboration" with EATMCR from 20 May to 22 August - and a drink partnership with a German gin brand Monkey 47 from 17 May. Rotating food traders will include Birria Brothers - of gravy taco fame, Long Boi's Bakehouse from Levy, East and Southeast Asian inspired dishes from Pippy Eats, brilliant butties from Bada Bing, WTLGI chef Lorcan Kan's Things Palace, bakes from Batard Bakehouse and desserts from DGHNT. The Monkey 47 cocktail menu includes, amongst others, a Black Forest Negroni. Manchester breweries Shindigger and Pomona Island will also join the party. DJs and "selectors" include Lil Minx, Massey, Abigail Ward and Neil Diablo. More on The Refuge's Instagram page.