PLUS: Urmston highlights and pop ups from Paco Perez, Mama Z and Breadflower
Bit windy, isn't it? Make sure you’re keeping safe out there, no unnecessary journeys and certainly no kites, windsurfing or hareem pants. Best to just watch it all unfold on Big Jet TV.
All this storm business will be over in no time. In the meantime, plenty to report on the food and drink news front. There’s a return of a kitchen master, cocktail bar transformations and bagels on the move, not to mention a coffee offer that might save you a couple of quid.
This week we also popped to Urmston as part of our regular adventures in the ‘burbs. Turns out there are a lot of great craft beer options there, not to mention serious potato power and some brunch spots well worth jumping on the train for.
Read on for this week's snackable, bitesize Manchester food and drink stories.
Perez the lord! Paco on the pans at Tast
He's got more Michelin Stars for his restaurants in Spain than we have in Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds put together and the stellar chef is dropping into Manchester to cook for the lucky few who manage to snag a booking. Paco Perez cooked us one of the best meals of our lives last time he held a special event at Tast so we have absolutely no qualms recommending you spend your hard-earned dolla on this one. Paco will be at Tast on 8 and 9 March and is already planning a special menu with Head Chef Julià. Pep Guardiola not guaranteed.
Alchemist to be transformed
In popular lore, an alchemist turns lead to gold with the aid of a philosopher's stone. Well, we could do some sort of extended metaphor here to tell you that Alchemist, one of the originators of the Spinningfields' bar scene - is undergoing "an extensive refurbishment" which will "unveil the next phase and a new era for the brand concept story, which will be told through the new-look interiors and menus". But you get the picture already. The magic rock used to enact this transformation? A cool £550,000. That buys a full facelift, including two new private areas.
So what can we expect? Putting the "cosmic" in "cosmopolitan", the new-look Alchemist will feature futuristic, divine influences from astrology and the universe, so you can match your chakras to your caipirinha and your aura to your Aperol spritz. The venue will reopen in March with new menus to match unveiled in May.
Offers for the coffers
We love a deal at Confidentials. Usually, we keep our deal senses dialled into food frequencies, but there’s a coffee deal that caught our eye this week and one of our writers wouldn’t stop talking about it so we’ve let him write about it here. The coffeeshop 92 Degrees have a membership feature on their app now called the 92 Club. If you sign up for it and pay £20 they will give you five free coffees a day, Monday to Sunday, for a month.
That’s a minimum of 140 coffees. Now, you could do yourself a serious mischief if you were to drink all of that coffee. But, if you’re the sort of person that is shelling out for two flat whites a week, you could probably save yourself a few quid in the long-run. Even better if you’re looking for a place to hot desk from.
Sureshot at Port St Beerhouse
There’s a new brewery in town and it’s not named after the Beastie Boys song you might think it is. Sureshot is the latest craft beer brewery taking root beneath Mancunian rail arch infrastructure and the first chance to try its debut brews is going to be at Port Street Beer House on Friday 25 February.
First pours of the brewery’s How Much Does Water Weigh? 4.2% Pale, I’ve Had My Fun & That’s All That Matters 5.6% Pale, I Lost My Bag In Newport Pagnell 6.0% New England IPA and Bring Me The Head Of John The Accountant 8.0% Double IPA will be hitting fresh glasses with a chance to meet the brewers and cop merch.
It needs no introduction really. Rudy’s - arguably the best pizza in the North of England - is opening another restaurant on Portland Street in the city centre. And it’s a big one too.
The former Dawsons Music store which used to be home to grand pianos, guitars and drum kits will soon be filled with the aromatic notes of fresh dough, San Marzano tomatoes and basil.
We count ten Rudy’s (including the newbie) up and down the country for the Neapolitan pizza brand that just keeps going from strength the strength. This will be a great addition to Portland Street which is blighted by some questionable nightlife. Maybe Rudy’s Pizzaiolos can fire up the area with their skills.
Mabuhay Mama Z
We haven’t had chance to eat Mama Z’s colourful Filipino cooking since she was pitched up in Cathedral Gardens for the Manchester Food & Drink Festival last September. So we were excited to learn that on Thursday 24 February she’ll be back with her famous adobo (traditional Filipino stew), laing balls (spicy, deep-fried aubergine and spinach) and pancit (stir-fried udon noodles) at The Gherkin in Levenshulme for one night only.
A pizza place in knead
I Knead Pizza has been serving “proper pizza” in Reddish, Hazel Grove, and most recently Hatch, since 2015. However, after a tough couple of years and a big hit to their savings, this indie spot needs fans and foodies to dish out the dough and help its kickstarter reach 50k. Started as a labour of love by duo Paul and Mike, the spot doubled in size during the pandemic and started doing deliveries, but kitchen expansion meant less space to sit in. So, like the rest of the cool kids, I Knead Pizza is striving to succeed in Stockport with a permanent spot in The Heatons. The 50 grand will go towards renovating the building and helping to speed up the moving in process massively.
If you fancy donating some pennies to the pizzeria, there are several pledge options including vouchers for a 3-course lunch/dinner for up to 8 people and a “pizza for a year” deal that entitles you to 365 pizzas within a 12 month period. The team are asking you to share, pledge, and spread the word to secure a place on their “Pizza Heroes Wall”, simple.
Spin cycle sippers at The Washhouse
The countdown to National Margarita Day begins now (it's on Tuesday 22 Feb), and to celebrate, Jose Cuervo is mixing its margs in a washing machine at The Washhouse. Requiring a lot less elbow action than a cocktail shaker, you just put your ingredients into the drawer, hit spin, and wait for the tequila to take its final form.
If you love a bev with maximum faffing about, you can get a margarita made in Launderita from 1pm til 1am on Friday 25th Feb. If you're less inclined to watch your sipper go through a spin cycle, you can register for a pre-spun version to be delivered to your door from the Jose Cuervo website, but please, don't try and make these in your utility room.
Bagels in the house
Breadflower is on the move again. The bagel bakery and florist from Maya Black and Scarlett Jamieson has already popped up successfully at Kampus and various supper clubs around the city. Now it's moved to Ducie Street Warehouse to fill the Counter with sourdough bagels and flowers every Monday to Saturday from 10am to 2pm. New to the menu for DSW will be smoked salmon with caper and schmear; carrot lox (which is what vegans call smoked salmon apparently) with dairy-free caper and dill schmear; pastrami with mustard and pickle schmear and fresh rocket; and a rainbow veggie bagel with beef tomato, avocado, cucumber and beetroot schmear. Schmears to that!
Adventures in: Urmston
Battling through 100mph winds and torrential downpours, the editorial team bravely waded their way through cherry Bakewell muffins, chips and gravy, and craft beer shops in Urmston this week. Stoic, we know.
We started with brekkie at Bevano Lounge where there were sadly no bevs involved, but a decent veggie breakfast (complete with halloumi and sweetcorn fritters) and a ham hock hash. We stopped off in Goodness Zero Waste and made some peanut butter from scratch, and we asked for loads of salt and vinegar, a carton of gravy, and a plastic fork for our chips in Whittaker's chippy on Station Road and we picked up some meat and potato pies, potato cakes and lemon cream buns from the legendary Martin's bakery.
The team at Kin Bakerhouse & Kitchen filled the lunch slot with cinnamon sourdough french toast, turkish eggs, and 'kin beans with an extra poached egg. They also let us snap some pics of the baked goods selection and tempted us with a muffin full of pink icing and edible flowers.
Totting up the local biz tally, we visited 'Sup for a pint of Boddies, Schooner for an Aperol Spritz sour and Craft for some take-home tinnies. That wasn't enough for us so we popped to The Cheese Court to give our verdict on the cheddar, and Kelder Wines for a couple of nice bottles of Alsace wine and a pocket negroni.
Storm whatever it's called eventually sent us packing on the 4pm train back to Oxford Road station, but our day in Urmston was still full of good food and great Mancunian beer - and we will definitely be back for more. If you know of some hot spots that we missed in M41, get in touch with the team and we'll add them to our to-try list.
The massive news of the week was the announcement of the Michelin Stars for 2022 and though Manchester didn’t pick up any new stars, there were a few notable new entries to the guide from MCR restaurants including Osma, District and Habas. Worth a drive (perhaps even more so now) L’Enclume now has three stars, the only restaurant in the North to achieve this. This week we also published roundups of kosher restaurants and laptop-friendly cafes and co-work spaces. We confirmed our suspicions that team Ramona has another gigantic project in the works and our Neil reviewed Coin in Hebden Bridge and got the lowdown on natural wine in Manchester. Can’t keep up? Sign up to our mailing list below for bi-weekly story round-ups.
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