Our weekly round up of stories you might have missed from around town
It’s been a while since we published one of our once-regular food and drink round ups. The last one was back in March. But as the colour slowly starts to come back into the cheeks of Manchester’s hospitality scene, we thought it was time to revive this weekly feature.
Read on for a cheeseburger with a difference, two gin-related stories, good news for non-smokers and a bucket of other food and drink tidbits to nibble on.
By gum it’s gorgeous
If alarmingly blue-hued alcohol that tastes like childhood confectionary is your thing, you'll love this. Bury-based Manchester Drinks have launched their latest product, a blue bubblegum gin liqueur. This latest creation joins existing gin liqueur flavours in the range like parma violet, rhubarb and ginger and, er, mystical unicorn. Now on sale at Home Bargains for the, well, bargain price of £8 a pop. If you mix it with ice and lemonade in a tall glass in your back garden and squint a bit, you could almost be in Benidorm.
Duck? Aye they’re new!
Scottish-Indian hybrid restaurant Roti in Chorlton has reopened and the new menu launches on 12th August. Our reviewer loved their splicing of two disparate culinary cultures with recipes like haggis pakora, and the new additions look set to continue with that creative flair. One dish that has us all in a flap is a new duck biryani: Indian-spiced roast duck leg on a bed of biryani style rice. Other new additions include the Indo-Chinese chicken 65, SC macho (glazed fish pakora) and a vegan aubergine ponako fritter. Making a return to the menu are those pakora and Roti’s version of Scottish classic mince and tatties, which features roti spiced lamb and masala spuds. They’ve really kilt it with this one.
Du pain, du viande, du Boursin
Honest Burgers have revealed details of their latest limited edition burger creation in partnership with the French garlic and herb soft cheese brand, Boursin. The burger is called ‘Steak Frites’ and will feature a chunkier than usual chuck steak and rib cap patty, smoked streaky bacon and a green béarnaise steak sauce mirroring the herby flavours of the French soft cheese. The burger bun base will be smeared with Boursin itself and topped with red onions and pickles with a flourish of crisp, shoestring fries as a crowning glory. The Honest Burgers steak frites burger will be available throughout August in the Manchester restaurant and other branches nationwide as well as for home delivery from Deliveroo.
The roast with the most (gin)
They’ve got their own gin distillery and a kitchen that knocks out some pretty fine food, so why they’ve only just combined the two into a neat little package is anybody’s guess. But we’re glad they have. Three Little Words was one of the most talked about openings of 2019 with its striking interior design making the most of three not-so-little converted railway arches. Now the in-house Spirit of Manchester Distillery - which produces the highly-decorated Manchester Gin - is offering a distillery tour, gin tasting AND a Sunday roast in the restaurant for £30 a head. Head chef Jimmy Carr - no, not that one - gets all his meat from Frost’s in Chorlton, so this is a real local affair. This bar-gin is available every Sunday from 12pm.
A Ducie new menu in the warehouse
Not only the name has changed over at Ducie Street Warehouse - formerly known as Cultureplex. As part of its new ground floor offering which includes a permanent residency from dough-nutters Gooey, DSW has launched a weekend brunch menu, which will be available from 10am-2pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Available in both the co-working lounge area and the restaurant, dishes include lightly sautéed heritage tomatoes on toast, steak and eggs with chimichurri and French toast with blueberry jam, fresh blueberries & crème fraiche.
Jacqui Griffiths, general manager at Ducie Street Warehouse, said: “Since we reopened earlier this month, we’ve had a fantastic response to our co-working set-up in the Lounge and to the food and drink offering at Counter. The brunch menu is the next step, a fantastic menu available at weekends, for people who fancy whiling away hours in the Northern Quarter."
With well over 100 restaurants taking part in Rishi Sunak’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme in August, you have to work extra hard to stand out from the crowd and lure in the bargain hunting hordes. We’re going to 'steak' the claim that we’ve found one of the best ones. While it is known for outstanding beef and some of the best service and drinks in the city, Hawksmoor is not known for rock bottom prices, but on participating days in August you can get one of their 35-day-aged rump steaks, chips and a sauce of your choice for just ten quid! Yes, ten English pounds. A tenner. For steak and chips at Hawksmoor. Blimey!
We’ve got Dakota this terrace
It may look a bit like an international corporate villain’s headquarters but Dakota Hotel on Ducie Street might be a good shout for an elevated escape from the buzz of the city centre. Dakota’s newly unveiled super-luxe terrace is likely to be all over the ‘gram with its Venetian fencing, marble, draping greenery and, of course, city views. Well-timed for the recently revised lockdown easing and (hopefully) some sunnier weather, the terrace is now open to all, with social distancing rules in place and a ‘specially curated’ menu which includes a new fruits-de-mer platter with scallops, oysters, langoustines, and lobster if you fancy shelling out.
Dakota Manchester’s general manager, Matt Townley says: “The terrace couldn’t have arrived at a better time, we are really excited to now be able to offer guests an alfresco experience in a safe and luxurious setting.”
Industrial cleaning at the Lowry
Staff at The Lowry Hotel have sanitised their hands, strapped on their masks and reopened their doors to guests with a raft of safety measures in place. The hotel and spa has undergone a thorough deep clean of all areas - including the lobby, food and beverage areas, spa, bedrooms and bedroom corridors - so guests know they can relax with confidence. Salford’s 5-star hotel has also introduced a strict ‘check and inspect bedroom guarantee’ along with mobile phone check-in and room key operation. The Lowry Lounge & Bar and River Restaurant are also back up and running with new policies like one waiter per table, single-use menus and an a la carte breakfast menu for guests, with items cooked to order. The spa will be offering all the usual ELEMIS and aromatherapy treatments with deep cleaning and disinfection between customers. There will also be minimised and regularly cleaned customers touch points and a one guest party per lift policy.
Yoga and granola
Over at The Allotment Vegan Eatery you can have asanas AND bananas at their upcoming 'breakfast bites and yoga' events. Warming up at 10am with a one hour (socially distanced and sanitised) yoga class with instructor Kate Tittley, all those sun salutations, squats and spinal twists will create space in your body, which is ideal as you’ll then be able to fill that space with a lovely vegan brunch from 11. There will be dishes on offer from the brand new breakfast menu including tofu ‘scrambled egg’ on toast. The next two events are scheduled for upcoming Sundays, the 9th and the 23rd of August. Tickets are £18pp available from eventbrite.
Despite half measures from the government on the matter back in July, Manchester City Council have announced they are taking a strong stance on smoking. With many restaurants adapting to an outdoor setting, utilising pavements and sometimes blocking off roads to provide a safer dining and drinking experience for guests, concerns have been raised about the issue of secondhand smoke. The smoking ban ousted smokers to designated areas outside bars and restaurants but now most guests are seated outside to eat, it has raised concerns of a 1980s style unwanted side dish of tar filled fumes with your main course.
Manchester City Council will now require all businesses who are temporarily trading under a ‘pavement licence’ to ensure that their seating areas are smoke free. Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, executive member for neighbourhoods for Manchester City Council, said: “We have not endured one health crisis to sleepwalk into another. We know that in Manchester there are still too many people smoking and we want to play our part to ensure that the city is a place where smoking is not a cultural norm. Smoking is not only terrible for our health but is also an unpleasant thing for bystanders to endure.”
The Big Table makes jobs stable
And finally, some good news for the hospitality sector. Over 4000 jobs have been saved across the UK in over 150 restaurants, including several in Manchester. A new business formed by private equity firm Epiris has successfully concluded a deal to take control of the Las Iguanas, Bella Italia and Café Rouge restaurant chains, in concert with the existing management team led by CEO James Spragg. The Casual Dining Group (CDG) was acquired from administration by Epiris and will now be called The Big Table. Epiris has put a significant cash injection into the business and its restaurants will start to reopen across the UK next week. It has also made a further commitment to carry no external debt. The group plans to open as many restaurants as possible during August – in time to get behind the UK Government’s national Eat Out to Help Out initiative.