PLUS: Altrincham adventures, pizza pop ups and spirits for days

Summer is coming. We can almost taste it and as the foodie festival news starts trickling in we keep daydreaming about sitting on little chairs outside, drinking cold drinks and nibbling on olives. It’s funny what a bit of sunshine will do to the psyche.

This week’s food and drink news is a tasty mixture of beer line-up announcements, new foodie pop-ups, rum tastings for good causes and a brief dispatch on this week’s jaunt around the suburbs which took in a tour of Altrincham. Chips and all. There’s also the small matter of the frankly remarkable Eat Well MCR prize. We’re scared that this round-up might make them realise they’ve made some sort of mistake. Snap up those remaining tickets and in the meantime enjoy the sun.

Read on for this week's tasty, bite-sized, Manchester food and drink news.

Various Plates Of Burmese Food From Nilas Burmese Kitchen Which Is Popping P At Ducie Street Warehouse Manchester
Nila's Burmese is popping up at DCW Image: We Are Indigo (and main header image)

Feel the burm

If you missed International Women’s Day on Tuesday 8 March, where on earth were you? You missed out on meeting the women of most businesses doing their best candid poses on Instagram - including ours. Well, Ducie Street Warehouse plans on keeping the party going for a whole month with a whole four weeks of brunch parties, cinema screenings and DJs to help celebrate. 

There is also a very special curated menu available, created in collaboration with Stretford-based Nila’s Burmese Cafe taking over the stoves to the DSW restaurant. Nila’s has been going since 2014, popping up at markets and in kitchens all around Greater Manchester before opening in Trafford - making it only the second Burmese restaurant in the UK.

Speaking to Ducie Street about the DSW x Nila’s Burmese Cafe collab, owner Nila Oo (best name ever?) says, “All Burmese people are hugely passionate about food. The menu was inspired by the food my mum cooked growing up.”

Find dishes like kyetha and aloo seepyan - a lemongrass chicken and potato curry served in the traditional Burmese "seepyan" style and Burmese fried chicken - a Burmese twist on a staple, marinated in turmeric and fish sauce.

Manchester Gin Festival Is Coming
Gin Gin! Image: Reserve Wines

Getting ginny with it

A four-day gin fest is coming to Manchester next week. The North West Gin Fest takes place from 17-20 March and is organised by the wine and spirit experts at Didsbury-born booze shop mini-chain Reserve Wines. Pop to Reserve’s Didsbury bar and shop or Mackie Mayor to sample hyperlocal gins made in the North West (think Worsley’s Boothstown or Macclesfield’s Forest Gin amongst others). If you fancy an adventure (with a designated driver) or are reading from Cheshire, you can also visit Reserve at Bents in Warrington or Macclesfield Picturedrome for more of the same. The full list of gin-based goings-on can be found on the Reserve website.

Rum Tasters At Tipples Spirits Shop In Manchester
Drink some rum for a good cause Image: Tipples

Profits from Tipples online rum tasting to support Ukraine

City-centre spirits and wine purveyor Tipples is hosting not one, but two, online rum tastings with all profits going towards the Ukrainian Humanitarian Appeal. The tastings, held on Friday 1 April and Friday 8 April will be presented by Pete Holland from Foursquare, giving the chance to try five releases from the rum brand’s Exceptional Casks Series. The first tasting will explore different flavour profiles through different ages, ABV and cask types, whilst the second will hone in on the taste profiles of the Bourbon Cask releases. Tickets are available online.

A Glass Of Beer Being Poured At Manchester Craft Beer Festival
Craft Beer and a Goldie DJ set, what more could you want? Image: Manchester Craft Beer Festival

Manchester Craft Beer Festival line-up announced

After the success of last year’s first outing, Manchester Craft Beer Festival has announced its line-up for 2022. The festival, organised by We Are Beer, which also runs similar festivals in cities across the UK will be taking place at Mayfield Depot again this year for two days (Friday 22 - Saturday 23 July), attracting brewers from around the world. Local breweries including Track, Blackjack, Pomona Island and Beatnikz will sit alongside the likes of Dark Star, Mondo, The Kernel, Brew York, Siren and Pastore. A varied selection of pop-up kitchens will also cater to beer lovers with this year’s DJ sets coming from Goldie, Norman Jay MBE and David Holmes. Tickets are on sale now.

Platt Fields Market Garden Manchester Will Host A Food And Wine Fair In Autumn
The ultimate beer garden Image: Confidentials

See you Deya

We love it when a plan comes together. Last year we heard rumours of a Manchester Urban Diggers (MUD) x DEYA collaboration at Platt Fields Market Garden and the result is bigger than we could’ve imagined. The urban farming heroes are teaming up with Manchester’s Track brewery and DEYA for a three-day mini beer festival (Friday 8 - Sunday 10 July) with breweries from across the UK (Verdant, North, Rivington to name a few) on the taps. Expect beer pouring and brewery talks, as well as wine from ISCA and notable local chefs on the barbecue. More details and tickets are available on the MUD website.

2020 05 14 Eat Well Mcr Rachel Stockley
Rachel Stockley will cook for you and your friends if you win this prize Image: Confidentials

The foodie prize to beat all foodie prizes

Everyone involved in this needs a pat on the back. What a triumph of a prize. Not just that, but for such a good cause? Chef’s kiss, honestly. Food charity Eat Well MCR and The Northern Restaurant & Bar Show (NRB) have teamed up for a bananas prize draw. A £20 raffle ticket gives you the chance to win all this, yes all of it: £200 Voucher for the White Swan at Fence, £100 Voucher for the Packhorse at Hayfield, £200 Voucher for DISTRICT, a tasting menu for two at the Sao Paulo Project at Blossom Street Social, with Caroline Martins, a unique private dining experience for four with award-winning chef and all-round superstar, Rachel Stockley, a three-course meal for two at The Parker’s Arms, a £30 voucher for Blackbird Pantry and the Sunday Al Forno Menu for two at Campagna at The Creameries. Tickets close in 3 days, you’d be a mug not to enter.

Diabless Rum And Cottonopolis Collaboration For International Womens Day 2022
On Fridays we drink pink Image: Watson St

Pink rum to combat the pay-gap

Diablesse Rum is the first solely female-owned rum brand in the UK, and to celebrate #IWD2022 (which was on Tuesday this week), it's teamed up with Cottonopolis to curate an exhibition and some accompanying cocktails. Designed to emphasise why the gender pay gap is so Old Fashioned, these tipples include the Rose Quartz, Read My Lips, and Caribbean Lei, all made with Diablesse’s signature pink spirit.

Running until Sunday 13 March, the exhibition features the faces of Manchester’s wonderful women in hospitality, all of whom share the same passion for the sector they work in. To highlight the 20% gender pay gap that still exists in many industries though, the cocktails are also priced at either £8 or £9.60, with the £1.60 difference donated to the Young Women’s Trust. Time to get wankered for womankind.

Isca Wines And Rise Mcr Collaboration Levenshulme 2022
Isca are back at it again with the sustainable scran Image: Rise

Rise to the occasion

Isca the natty wine nook is collaborating with Sam from Rise to fill a whole Sunday with sourdough pizza and vino. Curating crusts with an environmental conscience, Rise uses organic British flour for its bases, and all the toppings are ethically sourced. They also look beautiful for the 'gram with their distinctive heavy snowfall of parmesan. Sharing the same super sustainable ethos, Isca also focuses on the cycle of ingredients “from seed to ingestion”, so it’s a match made in Leven(shulme). 

Taking place on Sunday 20 March, you can book your table on the Isca website at any time between 1pm and 8, and we recommend the OGB with some basil mayo. 

Manchesters Blackjack Brewery Has Launched A Charity Beer Called The Curley Hetchins
Cheers to a good cause Image: Blackjack Brewery

Blackjack launch charity fundraising beer

The lovely folks at Blackjack Brewery are releasing a beer, in both cask and can form, in memory and celebration of Dr Andy Fowell, the father of one of Blackjack’s directors who sadly died in a cycling accident last year. Proceeds from the beer, 50p per pint and can, will be donated to the Motor Neurone Disease Association - a cause close to Andy’s heart. He spent the latter 25 years of his life setting up the palliative care system in North Wales and contributed hugely to end-of-life care for those with the disease. Named after Andy’s beloved bike, The Curley Hetchins, the beer is a 4% pale ale with cans and pump clips sporting an illustration of the bike by Emma Hobbins. The beer will be available at all Blackjack venues from 15 March and cans are available for home delivery.

The Fairways Lodge Prestwich Exterior
Not exactly the Bake Off tent, but pretty close Image: The Fairways Lodge

Bake off in the burbs

Prestwich will be packed with plenty of baked goods on Sunday 10 April as The Fairways Lodge is set to play host to the very first Northern Cake and Bake Show. A mix of masterclasses, cake decorating, and just general stuffing your face, the Bake Show will be hosted by presenter Michelle Eagleton and classes will revolve around everything from fresh pasta to Victoria sponge.

If you’re there for cake and cake only, the artisan market will be packed with cakes, brownies, doughnuts, fudge and chocolate to take home and extend the sugar rush. Tickets are a fiver for the event and there’s apparently a load of free samples on offer, so pack a few disguises and go around thrice. 

The Osheas Beer Garden In Manchester Next To The Mancunian Way
O'Shea's is just one place to celebrate St Patrick's in MCR Image: Confidentials

St Patrick's Day in Manchester

It’s St Patrick’s Day on Thursday 17 March (to be sure) and Manchester is celebrating in all sorts of ways. There’s a council-funded Irish festival at Piccadilly boardwalk (wherever that is) over the weekend from 17-20 March that will feature Irish dancers, pipe bands and Irish folk musicians. Honest Burgers has got a limited edition special with a sauce made from, you guessed it, Guinness. The black stuff also appears in some dinky pies over at Mount Street at The Midland (which by the way is an underrated belter of a restaurant). We previously reported that O'Shea's beer garden will run a long festival of Irish-themed food, drink and music too. Plenty of opportunities to get messy and have a dance then. 

Paul Rooney From Libero Sports Bar Altrincham
The lovely team at tiny beer and footy bar Libero in Altrincham's King's Court Image: Confidentials

Adventures in: Altrincham

The latest edition of our suburban wanderings took in Altrincham this week and we’re delighted to say that we very much enjoyed ourselves.

Chaperoned by Libero bar owner Paul Rooney, we dipped into Common Ground and Blanchflower for breakfast before indulging in a spot of retail therapy at the wonderfully scented Idaho (gifts, candles, art prints, chocolate, coffee table books) and Madame Butterfly (vintage-inspired women’s clothes and jewellery).

We then strolled over to Bernie’s Grocery store, past the unfortunately closed at the time but nonetheless endearingly dinky Bier Cell, for further short-term investments which included some bougie nut butters, wild duck-flavoured crisps, a bottle of Ecover hand soap and banoffee pie flavoured granola. Incredible haul, we know. 

For the uninitiated Bernie’s is a real pleasure to step into and there are some fantastic foodie products you’ll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. If you’re looking for your British Pie Week fix, Patel’s Pies are in the chiller too, just saying.

We seem to come across at least one place of pure unbridled joy on these trips, last week it was Colombian cafe San Juan in Stockport and this time it was Chilli Tortilla. The family-owned Mexican restaurant does a mean burrito and the place is bursting with passion. We’ll definitely be back.

A jaunt to Paul’s beloved Altrincham FC paid off in both galettes (Hale Cycleworks) and chips (The Good Catch) before a sneak-peak at the new Riddles cocktail menu and further eating opportunities at Unagi. Of course, we couldn’t have left without checking out King’s Court, so we took the opportunity to try one of Sureshot’s new offerings in can-form at Batch before a cheeky half of Pomona Island Factotum pale in Libero.

Tapas at Porta finished off a solid trip out as Paul explained the significance of Pi over the road as an incubator for local hospitality, be it Batch, Libero, or those that have spread their wings further afield. 

Of course, you can’t fit all things Alty in a day, but if we were to go back, where would you recommend? Drop us a line, we’re always open to suggestions.

Room for more?

Plenty of extra foodie sides to nibble on this week. Lucy's been to The Lambing Shed in Knutsford, part two of our guide to natural wine in Manchester is up and we've also profiled Robert Owen Brown ahead of our one-off supper club at The Eagle Inn, Salford. Tickets are available via our app - download it from the app store (what, you haven't already?) to purchase. If you're looking for a good cross-county day out we've also put together a few foodie favourites in Calderdale.

Read next: 'Pass me a gingham bustier, I’m home' - The Lambing Shed, Knutsford, reviewed

Read again: Funky town: Manchester natural wine shops on what to buy (part 2)

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