PLUS: vegan doughnuts, Stretford Canteen and natty wine
Just last week we were going on about how lovely it was to see Manchester basking in the sun for the first time this year. Well, thanks for coming, sun, because now it's back to business as usual.
The news around town might be a ray of sunshine though, with word of San Carlo's managing director over in the Sahara and Brazilian brunch on its way to Ancoats. As Lane 7 looks forward to Easter, Baity gets in the mood for Ramadan. And we examine new sustainable menus from The Alchemist and vegan doughnuts in the NQ. As always, there are tons of reasons to get out and about this week so get your big coat back out of the wardrobe and treat yo'self.
Keep reading for the Dairylea Lunchables of Manchester food and drink news.
Keggs over easy
The endless stream of Easter-themed food and booze has begun, and just in time for all the bonnets and bunnies, Lane7 has set the bar high with a massive Easter K’egg. Because one Cosmo cocktail is a bit of a cop out, the K’egg contains 24 Cosmopolitans in one huge can, and for £120, that’s only £5 per serving of triple sec and vodka. A cracking deal.
If you and your pals fancy feeling all Sex and the City in an underground bowling alley, the Kegg is coming to Manchester from Monday 4 April while stocks last. If you want one for the actual Easter bank hol, you can pre-order a K’egg via Lane7’s website, or drop them at line at firstname.lastname@example.org with the quote “Easter K’egg”.
It’s a date
As well as being the month of chocolate, baby chicks, and brighter mornings, April is also the month of Ramadan. This year’s fasting season of Ramadan runs from Saturday 2 April 'til Sunday 1 May and to help you with your Iftar feast, Baity has got some offers on.
The restaurant will be offering free dates and lentil soup during sunset hours. The team behind this traditional Palestinian place are sharing the love from their Wilmslow Road spot. Pre-covid, the Didsbury restaurant says it dished out 13kg of dates and 690 lentil soups throughout Ramadan, and the deal will be running throughout the entire month again this year.
Big up Baity.
Sustainability on the menu at The Alchemist Spinningfields
To coincide with the multi-million-pound glow-up of its original flagship venue, The Alchemist Spinningfields has launched a brand new food menu with an emphasis on dietary requirements inclusivity and plant-based alternatives. The new menu, which is “58% vegetarian, 38% gluten-free and 44% vegan” is a collaboration with faux meat company Meatless Farm and takes in Asian fusion dishes including the likes of Yakitori chilli bbq chicken skewers, crispy ‘shrooms with miso mayo and the visually adventurous alchemy fish and chips with activated charcoal batter. If you’re after a dessert that’s as theatrical as the cocktails, we’d recommend the cotton candy baked Alaska which is set on fire at the table.
Do you feel Lucky Ramen, punk?
Ancoats has a new ramen spot to noodle around in and it’s coming to Scandi-vibe, Blossom Street café cocktail bar, Mule. Lucky Ramen will serve a choice of five ramen bowls, each made with an all-important eight-hour broth, encompassing meat, fish and veggie options. Sneak menu peaks reveal a meat and fish broth packing soft shell crab as well as a spicy bowl with stir fry soboro pork. There’ll also be appetizers including edamame, grilled king oyster mushrooms and gyoza. Slinging bowls Wednesday to Sunday, 5pm to late, diners can tuck into their noodles whilst enjoying Mule’s modern cocktail, wine and beer menu too.
I'm a Stretford Canteener
A million years ago, Stretford was a bit of a food desert. Now the oasis is starting to bloom but one of the pioneers was Stretford Canteen, which popped up in and around the area, bringing wholesome home-style cooking to this part of Trafford.
The business is a family affair, with co-founder Josephine growing up in one of Manchester’s most beloved gastro institutions, the French restaurant Beaujolais. A menu of European and British dishes will regularly change depending on what’s in season.
Vegan doughnuts to shout about
The story of The Doughnut Whisperer starts in Chester where a lady called Stephanie began spreading the word about delicious dairy-free doughnuts. Fast forward a couple of years, a standalone shop and a couple of stockists later, and the bright lights of the city have called.
A quick poke around Instagram and you might see a familiar face. It took me a while but with the help of the team, I identified actor Emmett J Scanlan from Peaky Blinders (and more) giving Stephanie’s doughnuts a good once over. No spoilers here, but it’s good to see him up and about.
Long story short, you can now find officially the UK’s best vegan doughnuts 2021, the lady who makes them AND Billy Grade from the telly at Home Sweet NQ for eight weeks from 30 March.
With flavours like cornflake tart, white chocolate biscuit and Boston cream - filled with Bavarian cream and smothered in a chocolate ganache - we’re guessing there’ll be queues all the way down Edge Street for the foreseeable.
A full Brazilian
Bored are we of bland breakfast, tired of toast and perturbed with porridge. What’s so wrong with wanting a little spice to start the day? Something other than the norm to tickle our tastebuds to brighten up these unseasonably chilly mornings?
Enter: Caroline Martins. The Great British Menu and Brazilian Masterchef star who has been wowing Manchester crowds with a taste of Brazil with the São Paulo Project at Blossom Street Social in Ancoats has launched a new brunch menu. With a little help from pals at Breadflower, Manchester Smokehouse and The Flat Baker, Caroline’s Sunday service includes the likes of pão de queijos (Brazilian cheese bread), breakfast tacos with requeijão (Brazilian-style cream cheese) and Brazilian waffles with doce de leite and Brazilian peanut candy. Available from 12.30pm - 4pm every Sunday.
Desert on the menu for San Carlo's Marcello
Marcello Distefano of Manchester’s San Carlo restaurant is hoping to raise £10k to help people affected by the humanitarian crisis occurring due to the war in Ukraine. But his fundraising method is on rather the extreme end of things. Marcello and his friend Hilly are currently finishing up six days of marathon running in - the Sahara Desert. Covering 250 kms (156 miles) in one of the world’s most inhospitable environments while carrying everything they need to survive on their backs, the absolute troopers have been putting themselves through physical and mental abuse only matched by something like, I dunno, working in the Confidentials office with Gordo. Seriously though, it’s a great cause and you should dig deep to support their Just Giving page where all funds raised will go to UNICEF’s ongoing work in Ukraine.
Tiny winey tasting
Every first Thursday of the month, the tiniest wine bar in Manchester (and possibly the world), Le Social is hosting monthly wine tastings. The next event is this Thursday 7 April but it’s already sold out - so this is a reminder to get your tickets for the 5 May event. Le Social is owned by French native Jérôme Bouiller who is not only an expert in low intervention wine but has been choosing his family’s dinner table wines from the cellar since he was in short pantalons. With ancestors from Champagne, Bouiller is here to show old school winos (*ahem* Gordo) that natty can be as good if not better than trad wine - if you know where to hunt down the proper stuff. Expect lots of tasting fun alongside magnifique French nibbles - or hors d’ouvres as we call them in Manchester. More on Jerome and the natty revolution in Manchester can be found in this article by Neil Sowerby.
Still got the munchies?
Is that little lot not enough for ya? Well, how about our other stories of the week? Kelly's been on the reviews again, this time checking out a vegan kebab from Doner Summer at Yes. Davey went for a first look at Lucky Mama's in Chorlton and Lucy updated our Altrincham eating and drinking guide. Elsewhere, news of new vendors and some departures at Freight Island, our best things to eat and drink in April and sad news of a favourite pub in the hills announcing it will close at the end of the year while another pub fights for its independence. While we're on the subject of pubs, were you taken in by our April Fool article?
Finally for those with kids, we've got a big list of things to do for half term. Enjoy!
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