PLUS: Big re-openings, scoops in Stretford and a new opening in Monton

Well, that's the last full week of January done and dusted. Payday is imminent. Phew. Well done for getting through the bleak midwinter.

Next week is a biggie with Lunar New Year on Tuesday. It's the year of the tiger, so we're hanging tough and staying hungry with some suggestions for where to go and what to eat. It's also awards season, we attended the Top 50 Gastropubs awards on Monday which was held in Manchester for the first time and we're looking ahead to more awards reveals next week. Watch this space.

This week we also popped to Stalybridge to see what's new there. It turns out, quite a bit. More on that below and look out for more in-depth Staly-stories on site soon.

Read on for this week's snackable, bitesize Manchester food and drink stories.

St Anns Square Luna New Year Lanterns 2022
St Ann's square is glowing with good luck lanterns for Lunar New Year Image: Confidentials

New moon, new me: Manchester's Lunar New Year celebrations

There are loads of traditions surrounding the Lunar New Year celebrations from wearing red for good luck, to exchanging money in little envelopes and giving your house a good old deep clean. A time to celebrate, whilst also stuffing your face with incredible food, Greater Manchester is welcoming the Year of the Tiger with a whole load of things to eat, do, and see for the week ahead.

If you’re after some authentic New Year nosh, the city centre and its surrounding areas are packed with places to eat noodles, dumplings, and wok-fried meats including BBQ and Hot Pot specials at One Plus, Little Yang Sing in the heart of Chinatown, Blue-Eyed Panda, The Rice Bowl, Pacifica Cantonese, Mei Dim, Ruyi Vegetarian House, and street food spot Unagi situated in Altrincham, Wilmslow, Didsbury and Salford. New Year’s bevs also come courtesy of the “Little Red Envelope” cocktail at Tattu and a tiger-themed gin from Hello Oriental and Manchester Gin.

For things to do, there’s a giant tiger spectacle popping up in St Ann’s Square from 1-6 Feb, a Chinese New Year film season at HOME, rare books and 200-year-old maps of China at The Portico Library, calligraphy lessons at Milk and Honey, a mini makers market at GRUB in collab with Little Yellow Rice Co., a fab photography exhibition at Central Library which features in our 2022 culture calendar, and all the classic Chinatown antics with stalls, a fairground, live performances and an illuminated dragon running all day on Sunday 6 Feb.

Escape To Freight Island Interior 2022
They're back baby Image: Escape to Freight Island

It’s time to Escape to Freight Island…again

Re-opening today after a short stint away from the usual food, booze, and live events scene, Freight Island is back for 2022 with an eclectic winter programme and the same great foodie vendors. Kicking things off with the highly anticipated head-to-head Art Battle and maintaining the buzz with a weekend full of Manchester legends including Dave Haslam and Clint Boon, Freight Island is proving that it means business with further entertainment lined up for the rest of the new year. 

The space will present the Guinness Six Nations Championship from Saturday 5 February til Saturday 19 March in the biggest collab outside of London, and there is also an exclusive black card competition to win free food and drink for a whole year if you’ve got a booking this weekend. When it comes to deals, deals, deals, it doesn’t matter that the end of Jan is nigh as The Jane Eyre at Freight is offering £1 oysters and £7 champagne every Thursday from 4pm from Thursday 3 Feb.

Stanley Tucci In Venice
Stanley Tucci is coming to Manchester Image: Stanley Tucci Facebook page

House of Tucci

Our whole office just did a collective swoon upon hearing that Italian-American food god, suave cocktail daddy, and Instagram thirst trap, Stanley Tucci will be coming to Manchester for an “intimate” event at the Opera house in April. Fans might know him for his smooth mixologist moves on Instagram during lockdown, his illustrious acting career or his latest book, Taste. But one thing's for sure, we’ll fight the lot of you for front row tickets. One Night Only is on for well, one night only and you can nab a seat from ATG Tickets while they're available. #TucciGang

A Few Scoops Jolene The Pink Tuk Tuk
A Few Scoops arriving in Sale Image: A Few Scoops

A real scoop for Sale

Sale Foodhalls opened last year to much excitement. Bringing with it General Stores, What’s Your Beef burgers and Basilico pizza to Stanley Square. Now Mital Morar’s trendy take on the dining hall welcomes a new foodie friend to the fold. 

You might have seen A Few Scoops' little pink tuk-tuk (Jolene) tootling around Greater Manchester serving boozy ice creams and fancy-flavoured puddings to its parched public and now you’ll be able to visit the “ice cream barlour” whenever the mood takes you. Pina Colada and Prosecco-inspired flavours are on the menu with seasonal changes meaning there will be plenty of excuses to nip down for a chilly (frozen) liquid lunch. Opening Monday 3 February, A Few Scoops will be giving out free tasters between 5pm and 7pm.

Monton's making waves

We might recently have reported that Sale is Greater Manchester’s new foodie hotspot, but Monton really isn’t that far behind. With local gem and community favourite, Playfoots pulling in punters from all over the area, and Wandering Palate deli bringing the natural wine and sourdough quota up as fast as the house prices, the Salford suburb it definitely turning heads.

This week, the team behind Wandering Palate announced that they're joining forces with city centre artisans, The Butcher’s Quarter to open Farm & Fish. A butcher, fishmonger and tasting room that will incorporate all the best bits of each shop alongside a fresh fish counter. The opening date is estimated at the end of February so keep your eyes on social media for updates.

Anita Who Works At The Tripe Shop In Stalybridge In Manchester
Anita from The Tripe Shop in Stalybridge, the 135 year-old shop is the oldest of its kind in Greater Manchester Image: Confidentials

Adventures in: Stalybridge

This week we hit up Greater Manchester’s Town of Culture 2022, Stalybridge, for a bit of social media walk and talk, with fantastic results. We started the day with a spot of brunch in Gladstone Barber & Bistro, where standard eggs and avo have been given a welcome Palestinian refresh. Think shawarma hash, spiced cauliflower patties and taboon egg rolls. Great coffee too.

Then we dropped into Greater Manchester’s oldest tripe shop, The Tripe Shop, and found that tripe is alright with a bit of salt and vinegar on it. There’s an impressive roster of independents in Staly, whether you’re after meat, fruit and veg or deli items. A stop-off at Bridge Beers gave us the chance to sample a few halves from Stalybridge’s only brewery. The micropub has a great cask line-up and regular patron Chris puts on a weekly soup, with the money going to charity. Top scoop: It’s Minestrone next week.

We also took in the Lock Gates sundial sculpture and the beautiful library and old market hall on the way to Ol’s Bier and More. Owner Shaun's got a great wall of curated Manchester beers running left to right depending on how close to the town the beer’s from.

We also managed to get some work done, thanks to workspace saviours, Industry. The new open-plan salon and workspace is a first for Tameside and provides life’s essentials: wi-fi, plugs and tea. Then came the big event. The region’s most sought-after tasting menu. The Stalybridge Buffet Bar crisp sandwich and beer tasting menu. Five crisp butties paired with five Thornbridge beers. Exceptional. Estrella Damm and dare we say it, Michelin, have a word.

If you know of a microbrewery we should be sitting in, some offal we should be chewing on or an area that powers the kettle with its warm hospitality - do get in touch. We’re all ears.

Also in food and booze news this week:

Still feeling peckish for food and drink news? Have a nibble on one of the following. Two big reviews this week: one sampling a new Turkish restaurant in Didsbury and the other heralding the end of small plates in Liam Fray’s gaff. Elsewhere, the Top 50 Gastropubs list has been reveleaed and we’ve crowned our own best dishes and drinks of the month.

Read next: The best things to drink in Manchester in February

Read again: Is Sexy Fish no longer on the hook for Manchester?

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