This week: grilled kelp tamari, 20p burgers and superior pop ups
There's loads of exciting stuff happening this weekend and beyond - including some really exciting pop-up restaurants from a host of Where The Light Gets In alumni and at, the other end of the scale, burgers for just 20p. And as always, we've sniffed out the free booze like ex-police dogs gone wild so you don't have to.
Eat well this weekend
As we revealed last week, Eat Well MCR will be popping up at Community Kitchen On The Square this weekend bringing with them three very different restaurant experiences. On Friday 4th, Lorcan Kan’s Things Palace will be bringing Malaysian inspired dishes like jasmine rice congee and traditional chicken and potato curry. Lorcan has worked, amongst other places, at Stockport jewel Where The Light Gets In. On Saturday 5th ARMR Store will be dishing up meat-free Caribbean-tinged delights such as roast broccoli and pumpkin curry and a jackfruit burger with garlic and dill mayo, red pepper relish and a hash brown. On Sunday the dairy queen herself, Mary Ellen McTague will be cooking up a mini Creameries menu with rabbit pie with black peas and vinegar as well as plenty of unctuous cheesy goodness. If you’ve not tried much natural and biodynamic wine yet or you are a convert already, The Creameries’ wine cellar will also be coming along for the ride so there are sure to be some interesting sips on offer. Last but not least, Didsbury Gin will be providing the cocktails.
Higher Ground gets around
Higher Ground will be taking over the restaurant at Native's Ducie Street Warehouse throughout October. The restaurant is a joint venture between chef Joseph Otway, previously of Where the Light Gets In, and Richard Cossins, formerly of the uber-hip Blue Hill at Stone Barns, New York, where the pair met. The restaurant will be popping up on Fridays and Saturdays in October with a five-course sharing menu for £45. The biodynamic duo are passionate about championing seasonal produce from the North West and pouring bottles of natural wine - a pairing can be added for £25pp. Wines by the glass or bottle and cans of locally brewed beer will also be available.
With just 40 tickets available per evening seating, you’ll need to be quick. The last few tables for the first two weekends in October are available to reserve now. Maximum table size is six guests and pre-payment for the food is required when booking. The lads said: "We couldn’t be more excited to bring our style of cooking and approach to service to DSW. DSW have provided us with an ideal platform to work from and we once again look forward to connecting with the many producers and farmers in the local area.”
If you can’t wait til October, Higher Ground also have a short residency at Moda, literally the highest place you can go for dinner in Manchester, for the next four weeks as part of the programme for Manchester Food & Drink festival.
Cob a load of this pizza
Ándale, ándale! Well, Mackie Mayor actually. Collaboration kings Honest Crust pizza have done it again, even if this one’s a bit corny. The pizza pioneers have joined together with Pico’s Tacos to Mex things up a bit and create a pizza with Mexican flavours and seasonal British ingredients. The limited edition pizza - celebrating sweetcorn season - features Pico’s roasted sweetcorn, smoked mozzarella, ancho chilli brown butter, cream and salsa roja. This pizza won’t be lying around getting crusty, it’s only on sale for one week over at Mackie Mayor’s from Tuesday 8th September.
Wine and Tine
Remember when a new restaurant with impressively lofty ambitions called Wilderness opened in the Northern Quarter? We were bowled over by the creativity on show - it had an ‘innovation room' for crying out loud - and surprised when it changed its name and started doing… £2 tacos. It should have been in Ancoats, someone said as we pondered if the once cutting edge NQ had finally rolled over and succumbed to the demands for sticky, day-glo junk food paired with copious amounts of booze.
Meanwhile, over in Ancoats, Mana was polishing Manchester’s first Michelin star in very long time and, just around the corner, the wine experts from Hanging Ditch quietly opened Blossom Street Social. If you were as excited by Wilderness/WATD as we were, then Tine - a pop up kitchen that has moved into the aforementioned BSS - should prong you in all the right places. After a bit of a false start (something about extraction fans) kitchen duo James Lord and Josh Shanahan, who both did time at Wilderness/WATD (as well as having Where The Light Gets In, Mana, The French, Manchester House - basically a list of Manchester’s top kitchens - on their collective CVs) are now cooking up some very exciting stuff. To give you an inkling of the attention to detail involved, they’re currently developing their own ‘master seasoning’ to use in place of salt and pepper which combines things like grilled kelp tamari, Koji brine and barley wort and is cold pressed in oloroso sherry casks taking inspiration from whisky tasting. This weekend, there is a limited availability dish (pictured) of cured ikejime seabass, wild plum salad, lacto-fermented hazelnut milk and young spruce shoots. Phew! The kitchen is serving from 2-9pm Weds-Sun for walk ins only.
There's dough place like home
Another of Manchester’s favourite dough slingers (and slowly taking over the UK) Rudy’s Neapolitan Pizza has launched a range of ‘Bake at Home’ pizzas. They say: “Rudy’s dough is made fresh daily using Caputo 00 flour which has been left to ferment for at least 24 hours, alongside the best quality ingredients imported twice a week from Naples, including San Marzano tomatoes grown on fields next to Mount Vesuvius, and Fior di Latte mozzarella. The pizza is cooked in wood fire ovens, for just 60 seconds, all in accordance with Neapolitan pizza tradition, leaving it soft and floppy with a leopard patterned cornichon (crust).”
Now you can have a stock of them on standby ready to sling in the oven for a really quick tea, and they’re done in less than ten minutes. The range includes Calabrese with San Marzano tomatoes, parmesan, basil, fior di latte and nduja, Margherita Con Bufala, Portobello with Portobello mushrooms, and garlic oil, Carni with three types of salami and chilli and a Vegan Special on rotation - which might include such delights as black bean n’duja. The 13 inch pizzas are priced at £6.90 each, plus £6 packaging and delivery. Available to order now for next day delivery nationwide if ordered by 5pm. Minimum order is four pizzas and they freeze well.
The Allotment Vegan Eatery is welcoming back its Sunday roast menu. Every Sunday, the plant based restaurant on Lloyd Street will be offering a special roast menu with a difference. Instead of pork, chicken or beef, hearty roast vegetables will be the main event with a choice of roasted squash or cauliflower with all the trimmings. Also available will be some Allotment favourites such as salt & pepper tofu laksa and 'fish' and chips. The Sunday roast is priced at three courses for £25 or individual dishes can be chosen from the Sunday menu. The menu is available from this Sunday 6th September from 12pm. Bookings recommended. The restaurant is also offering 30% off food up to a maximum £10 discount Mon-Weds in September as their own extension to the Eat Out To Help Out scheme.
Jobs saved at Neighbourhood and Victors
In a deal that will save more than 250 jobs, an investment group led by Naveen Handa of leisure company The Cairn Group has acquired restaurant and bar group East Coast Concepts. The Manchester-based restaurant and bar group operates the Neighbourhood and Victors brands with five sites across the UK, including Hale, Alderley Edge and Liverpool. The company has been dealing with the impact of the pandemic and working to secure a long-term future for the group which went into administration on 1st September before completing the sale of the business and assets to the investment group. All existing Neighbourhood and Victors sites will continue trading as normal. Handa also recently led a consortium to become the new joint venture partners for London and UK Franchisees of Vapiano Restaurants.
Naveen Handa, director at The Cairn Group, said: “We are delighted to have been able to secure the long-term future of East Coast Concepts, and its much-loved Neighbourhood and Victors brands, as well as the jobs of over 250 staff throughout the sites and head office. Moving forward we see great potential for premium, experiential and well differentiated brands and will be focused on supporting the existing management team, whilst investing in the brands and its people to help realise the exciting growth potential.”
Pop this in your basket for free bubbly
Online drinks retailer The Bottle Club has teamed up with Moët & Chandon and The Alchemist to offer Champagne lovers complimentary drinks if they buy a bottle online. Purchase any Moët & Chandon product (75cl or above) from The Bottle Club and get an e-voucher which can be redeemed at any of The Alchemist’s UK bars. The voucher gets you two glasses of complimentary Moët & Chandon Impérial, the House’s iconic champagne, first created in 1869. You’ve got until 31st October to take advantage of this offer and if you order via The Bottle Club’s new app (available on iOS and Android) you can use the code APP10 to get 10% off your first order. You can even buy some hand sanitiser on there while you’re at it.
Danielle Merry, head of marketing and e-commerce at The Bottle Club, said: “We’re delighted to have partnered with Moët & Chandon and The Alchemist to help make people’s first drinks out extra special. There’s no better way to celebrate bars and restaurants reopening than with a glass of bubbles and we’re happy that our promotion will allow people to do so at one of The Alchemist’s beautiful locations with Moët & Chandon’s iconic champagne.”
Street food in Stockport
Property developer Capital & Centric are teaming up with Stockport’s Foodie Friday to host Sunday Social on 13th September at the Grade II listed Weir Mill in Stockport (as featured on BBC TV show Manctopia) which they plan to develop into a 'thriving mixed-use community with plans for 250 home, independent shops and new frontage onto the river Mersey.' They say it’s a chance for local people to see the historic Weir Mill up close ahead of its planned £60m restoration which is one of the first developments to come forward under Stockport's new Mayoral Development Corporation's regeneration zone.
Food at the event will be proov-ided by I Knead Pizza along with sustainable caterers ArtiSam and Pan-Asian dishes such as pad Thai and bao buns will come from Somtam Street Food. There’ll be live music from Stockport’s Fuzzy Sun and DJ sets including good old Clint Boon. The event is also raising money for Andy Burnham’s homelessness charity.
Hard to beat that price
Manchester’s Hard Rock Cafe is celebrating its 20th birthday this month and to celebrate, the shrine to rock n roll will be dishing up its Legendary Burgers for just 20p on Saturday 12th September. It’s early doors for this one, so get a ticket (ok, book a table) and head down early as the offer only runs between 11am and 2pm. If you miss out on this ludicrous deal, Hard Rock is also extending its own version of the Eat Out To Help Out initiative throughout September, Monday to Wednesday. You must mention ‘Eat Out To Help Out Extension’ before placing your food order. Hard Rock International have partnered with world-renowned public health and safety organisations like EcoSure and NSF International to ensure the cafes meet the highest standards of safety, sanitation, food handling and employee training. The enhanced SAFE + SOUND safety protocol includes state-of-the-art, non-intrusive thermal temperature screening before entering, social distancing measures and protective mask requirements for all team members.
If you can’t make it down to the cafe itself, you can still join the birthday celebrations with a ten-day virtual music festival which started on Saturday and runs til this Monday, 7th September. Head to the Facebook and pages to add music festival vibes to your Just Eat order. Live DJ sets, VIP online backstage passes to gain access to exclusive content with Hard Rock Cafe chefs, a ‘silent disco’ and a virtual Ferris wheel ride are just a handful of what’s going on. Hard Rock is also putting together a Spotify playlist called Manc You For The Music to celebrate Manchester’s rich musical heritage - you can get in touch on their social channels to make suggestions for what should be included.
Can I have some wine now?
If you keep your eye on the wine world, you’ll be aware that canned wines are currently all the rage and we’re seeing some extremely good quality stuff coming to the market. Cans are great if you want to try different varieties without investing in (or opening) a whole bottle, they’re better for the environment and perfect for things like long train journeys as they’re lightweight and you don’t need a corkscrew. Now Didsbury’s Reserve Wines have launched their own range of tinnies.
Inspired by the creative and cool world of canned craft beers, Kate at Reserve says this is the first in a range she hopes will be an exciting long term project. Reserve's First Crush is a duo of wines from Swartland in South Africa. There’s a great quality Chenin Blanc, fresh with citrus and apple and a touch of honey on the finish, and an easy-drinking rosé made from Mourvedre (often used as a blending grape in Chateauneuf-du-Pape) which is dry with delicate red fruits. Both are suitable for vegans. Not can-vinced? Reserve is offering a special introductory discount to encourage you to give them a go.