Our weekly round up of stories you might have missed from around town
WE'VE a few cheap eats for you this week, a couple of student specials to help you fill your boots freshers-style, a drink matching menu made in heaven and some hot news if super-spicy food is your thing. Add into the mix news of openings in and out of the city centre...
Power to the people
The People’s Lunch has been relaunched at The Refuge, and is now a permanent feature in the Public Bar and Winter Garden weekdays 12-3pm. Dishing up ‘hearty bowls of soul food’ for just £7.50, the People’s Lunch is described as ‘a no-nonsense, sleeves rolled up and dig in’ type of affair, and each week brings a whole new menu with three choices – meat, fish and vegan. Week one saw pork tonkotsu ramen, fish curry and grilled brassicas. Week two served brisket pappardelle, fritto misto and mushroom-based shoyu ramen. What will week three bring? Well, we’ve heard mutterings of torched mackerel and sweet potato curry, so you never know.
In cider dealing
Manchester has its first Cider Pommelier Cath Potter, co-founder (alongside Dick Withecombe) of Manchester Cider Week and the monthly #McrCiderClub on the edge of Ancoats – and now nearby Rochdale Road pub The Marble Arch is holding a Fine Dining and Fine Cider evening. Tickets are £50 and are on sale for the Cider Dinner on 1st October, comprising a five-course tasting menu paired with ciders and perry carefully chosen from the Little Pomona press and Ross on Wye Cider and Perry Company. Start with an amuse-bouche – or, if you will, appletiser (sorry) – shot of white onion and cider soup matched with Little Pomona Brut Cremant NV and finish with a dessert of orchard apples tarte tatin, sorbet and parfait. The main is fillet of beef with pomme anna and a tipple of Ross Cider Raison D'Être 2017.
You’d think with a name like Franco Manca, the sourdough pizzeria that’s about to open on Mosley Street was born in Manchester. Well, you’d be wrong as this is the 50th outlet (51st if you count the one in Italy). Until 9th October, all the slow-rising Neapolitan-style pizzas on the menu and the daily changing specials board will be available to eat-in customers for £5 – the price of the first pizza on their menu. In line with company policy, Franco Manca will help their new neighbouring communities: for every pizza enjoyed by customers in the first fortnight, one pizza will be donated to local homeless charities, shelters and food banks, and the team are encouraging suggestions. Head Pizzaiolo Emiliano Ruzzu says: “The team are very excited to be bringing our delicious sourdough to the city of Manchester, it’s the perfect new home for our Neapolitan pizza.” (Read more here.)
Shake it up
Viva! – the UK’s leading vegan campaigning charity – is dropping in on Manchester on Monday 24th September to hand out free vegan milkshakes as part of a UK-wide Viva!shake tour. Head to the pop-up plant-based milkshake bar at the Man Met Student Union from 10am and start the new term dairy free. Viva! campaigner Will Sorflaten says: “Going dairy-free is such a positive and simple change to make. And with chocolate cookie, blueberry, protein crunch and salted caramel milkshakes on offer, we’re going to be showing students how delicious it is too! It is so easy and cost effective to be vegan at university, more and more young people are choosing to use their consumer power to lessen their environmental impact and save animals.”
Ring my bell
Taco Bell becomes Disco Bell on Wednesday 2nd October, when the top floor of the Deansgate outlet is transformed into a nightclub, complete with live DJ set, strobe lighting and dancing until the early hours. Celebrating Freshers’ Week (but open to everyone), Taco Bell is opening after hours and putting on a free silent disco to welcome new students to Manchester. Doors open at 10.45pm, when guests will be given headphones with a choice of two music channels – from nineties pop to Grime, we hear that there will be music to suit everyone. More importantly, everyone will also get the chance to sample the Taco Tuesday deal (yes, it’s a Wednesday – don’t get too confused), which includes a taco and a beer or soft drink. And if all that throwing of shapes makes you extra peckish, you’re in the right place – you can order from the full menu until 3am.
Are you ready to feel the heat? MOJO hopes so as the Chilli-Shop challenge rocks up on Tuesday 15th October following sell-out events over in the Leeds cocktail and rum bar. The Hot Ones Wing Challenge takes as a jumping-off point the YouTube hit which sees celebs from Alexa Chung and Scarlett Johansson to Russell Brand and Jeff Goldblum grilled by interviewer Sean Evans over a platter of increasingly spicy chicken wings. The MOJO test will see chilli fans tackle 10 wings (chicken or cauliflower) coated with a progressively hotter selection of hot sauces inspired by the show – including the feared Da’ Bomb Beyond Insanity (which says it all, really) and the ‘soul-crushing’ The Last Dab, which is 1,320 times hotter than your common or garden jalapeño. Luckily MOJO have a nice cooling Pina Colada on standby.
Acoustic sessions are go at new coffee shop Seed & Cherry, with a host of local and regional (the first acts were from Manchester and Bolton) music talent playing live every third Thursday of the month, from 6pm until 8pm. Described as ‘artisanal’ and with a ‘concept designed to showcase the depth and personality each coffee bean has to offer’, the Northern Quarter (where else?) gaff reckons the new music nights are a great way to wind down after work – while plying you with caffeine, plus a selection of cakes and pastries and vegetarian or vegan-friendly light bites. Seed & Cherry invite you to relax into the evening while enjoying the five different type of speciality grade beans on offer, each ethically grown and processed, and with a percentage of the proceeds supporting projects in local communities. Put 17th October in your diary for the next unplugged evening.
As John Dalton House gets a makeover to incorporate a new hotel, gym, retail units and leisure space, Bill’s Restaurant & Bar – which has been there for five years – is upping sticks and moving to Spinningfields. Old Bill’s closes on Sunday 6th October, with the ‘striking’ and ‘glamorous’ new Hardman Square diner and bar opening on Monday 28th October. Featuring the brand’s sophisticated redesign, combining statement chandeliers, vibrant colours and luxurious velvet touches, cosy booths and sociable sharing tables inside will be complemented with an outside seating area of 30 covers, just in time for winter. Breakfast, lunch and dinner specials (including plant-based alternatives) are on the seasonal menu, along with Bill’s signature burger of the week and a selection of vibrant cocktails. Greengrocer-turned-owner Bill Collison describes it as: “A welcoming destination with lots of character and the go to place for evening dinner and drinks.”
The Folk folk are heading north, taking over the site of the former Solita bar and restaurant on Bury New Road in Prestwich, which shut in June. This marks the second branch of Justin Parkinson’s ‘quirky and cosy’ café bar Folk, which has been on West Didsbury’s Burton Road for a number of years. It joins a portfolio that includes south Manchester’s Wine & Wallop and sherry specialist Flok on Stevenson Square. Justin says: “We are incredibly excited to be opening Folk in Prestwich. There is already a growing cluster of great independent bars and eateries in this popular village, and Folk will sit perfectly besides them, helping to make Prestwich a real destination and a great reason not to travel into the city centre for a night out.”