PLUS last minute ideas for Valentine's Day and more

We're missing the buzz of the crowds in our booming city even more as we get close to having had a whole year of social restrictions upon us. 

This week sees us celebrating Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day in a very different way than usual but our local businesses continue to push the (red) envelope. There's still plenty to enjoy from home.

Last week it was all about pizza. This week, burgers have their turn with fondue ones, 'romantic' ones and new DIY cook at home ones.

Here's our round-up of food and booze news for this week. 

2020 01 10 Chinese New Year Carl Sukonik

Manchester ox 

It’s Lunar New Year today as we welcome the year of the Ox - a symbol of agriculture and hard graft. On this day, our city is normally filled with celebratory crowds, swirling dragons, red envelopes, fireworks and of course, incredible food. It’s a bit different this year but it’s a good excuse to celebrate some of the great restaurants in Chinatown like Pho Cue, Manchester Chinese Restaurant or Yang Sing as well as brilliant, smaller indie food traders like Oh Mei Dumpling or Rice Over Everything (though of course, we should be doing that all year if we can afford to). There are some online events like cookery classes, lantern making workshops and poetry here and we enjoyed learning about what to eat at Chinese New Year on this Manchester-based blog

2021 02 12 Corn Exchange Mural

A corny love letter

The Corn Exchange is to unveil a 'Messages from Manchester' mural next to Salvi’s. It's hooked up with local artist, Mancsy Manchester, to create a mural of recognisable Mancs nominated on social media. These include Emmeline Pankhurst, James Joules, Les Dawson, Tony Wilson, Alan Turing, Rowetta, Caroline Aherne and Foo Foo Lamar. The mural also features schmaltzy phrases like 'be honest and kind', 'be true to who you are' and 'keep buzzing’ - well it is nearly Valentine’s. Donate to chosen charity We Love MCR via the Corn Exchange website or tap a QR code on the mural after you’ve snapped your picture for Instagram - as part of your daily government-approved walk, of course. 

2021 02 12 Bitesize Valentines Athenian

Love bites

Not ordered a fancy meal kit to impress your SO in time for V day? Luckily there’s some suitably schmaltzy stuff still available to stop you going the way of the ox.

From 12-14th Feb, Byron is doing a ‘Burgers and Bubbles Bundle’ (main pic) with a bottle of Baron De Marck Champagne, two burgers, large halloumi sharer and two desserts for £60. The burger wrappers are inspired by psychologist Arthur Aron’s seminal study ‘36 Questions to Make You Fall in Love*, emblazoned with questions designed to reignite the flame that lockdown has almost certainly sputtered out.  

The Athenian is offering a limited edition Greek feast bundle via Deliveroo featuring two stuffed pita wraps of your choice, oregano fries, croquettes, a brownie and a bottle of Prosecco for £34.95. The Valentine's bundle will be served from 8th-14th Feb.

If you’re local to Altrincham, nip to New Market Dairy (or order today, Friday 12th for delivery on Sat) for a Valentines themed box for your cheesy lover. The Valentine’s Cheeseboard costs £30 and includes Templegall, Appleby’s Cheshire, Stichelton, Tunworth, a box of Fine Cheese Co biscuits and a wodge of Membrillo. 

Ramsbottomers can grab a reheat-at-home ‘tapas roast’ for two from newcomer Dinner By Ness. The package (with meaty, veggie and vegan options) features dishes like roast broccoli with vintage cheddar pangrattato crumb, slow-braised lamb or charred celeriac and mini Yorkshire puds. 

2021 02 12 Bitesize Hallertau

Hip Hops

Manchester’s award-winning First Chop brewery has teamed up with online craft beer specialist Flavourly to launch an exclusive single hop pale ale - Hallertau Blanc. It’s part of a new range designed to showcase individual hops from different countries to help beer drinkers to compare and identify the characteristics they bring. ONE Hallertau Blanc uses a classic German hop, typically used in German lagers and pilsners. First Chop founder Rik Garner reckons it exhibits “lovely passion fruit and white grape flavours”. ONE Hallertau Blanc is available online exclusively from Flavourly and can be bought alone or as part of a mixed case from £16.50 for six. Fancy some free beer? Apply to be a Flavourly ‘Hopprentice’ (aka beer taster) here.

Walled Gardens taco-ver 

Celebrated and experimental veggie chef Eddie Shepherd has partnered with Eat Well MCR to launch a limited edition £40 taco kit. It feeds two and includes eight freshly pressed corn tortillas to warm and fill with an oyster mushroom, Huitlacoche and black bean chilli filling, gooseberry salsa, blueberry pickled onions, Kirkhams Lancashire cheese and coriander emulsion, there’s a dark chocolate mousse with honeycomb & lime sugar for afters. The kits can be ordered for delivery via Eat Well Manchester from 12pm Friday 12th February.

2021 02 12 Bitesize Honest Fondue Jpg

I'm rather fond o' ue

If like me, devouring a mountain of cheese is the peak of your food-based ambitions, you’ll be e-lait-ed to hear that Honest Burgers has re-launched its limited-edition FONDUE burger. The special, in collaboration with Mons Cheesemongers, smothers the Honest beef patty with traditional mountain cheeses (Comté, Beaufort, Vacherin-fribourgeois, Abondance and Emmental with garlic and white wine), crispy pancetta, white wine onions, rocket, and pickles. Served with Honest's homemade rosemary salted chips, the burger costs £14, and is only available until 1st March.

2021 02 12 Bitesize Fat Hippo


Fat Hippo, soon to grab the grill at the new Lane 7 bowling venue (where All Star used to be), has launched a DIY burger kit for nationwide delivery. The company describe their fodder as ‘good old fashioned, roll up your sleeves and get it all over your face’ food. Each kit comes with everything needed to make the burger joint’s hippo-nymous ‘Fat Hippo’ burger (double patty, American cheese, smoked bacon, chorizo, and their signature sauce). There’s a vegan version if you prefer and you can add Hillbilly Lager or Proper IPA to your order too. Hip hip hooray.

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Read again: The slice is right: 10 of the best pizzas in Manchester delivered to your door