PLUS: Kampus pop up, Simon Martin controversy and more
While the government continues to get tangled up in its own web of cheese, wine and other lies, hospitality is still recovering from the past couple of nightmarish years. So we are thrilled and a little bit amazed every week about how much food and drink stuff is buzzing in the city. This week's roundup is another long one and it includes the opportunity to become a wine judge as well as the usual hellos, goodbyes, pop-ups and controversies.
Read on for this week's snackable, bitesize Manchester food and drink stories.
Kampus continues to pop (up)
If Kampus at the top of Canal Street is not on your radar yet, an artisan market (in collaboration with the folks from the very successful Ancoats Pop Up) making a monthly appearance in its grounds might lure you over. It kicks off on Sunday 27 Feb and will feature stalls selling handmade and indie food, and booze as well as arts and crafts. There will be live music accompanying proceedings with pizza from Kampus resident Nell’s, and beer from future resident Cloudwater alongside stalls selling chocolate, sourdough cookies, coffee, rum, clothes, plants, flowers and even doggy accessories. The market will be open from 11.30am - 4.30pm and the plan is to host it every month.
Tim Bacon Foundation charity fund-raiser
Much loved and missed hospitality luminary, the late Tim Bacon will be honoured on 8 September this year with a city-wide fundraising dinner. The event, Dream The Impossible: The Sequel aims to repeat the success of a previous event in 2017 that raised £500k for the Christie hospital - where Tim was treated before his death in 2016. Bacon, with his partner Jeremy Roberts, founded and built the Living Ventures empire including The Living Room, The Botanist, The Alchemist, Gusto, Australasia, Grand Pacific. Jeremy set up the Tim Bacon Foundation to raise money for cancer charities following his partner’s untimely passing. The foundation has raised almost £1m so far. You will be able to buy tickets for dinner and drinks at participating Manchester restaurants: The Alchemist, Gusto, Grand Pacific, Australasia, San Carlo, Habas, The Bull and Bear, Hawksmoor, 20 Stories, Tattu, and Duttons. All will be digitally connected via TV screens on the night for a silent auction. They're not on sale yet but tickets will be £150-£250 per head depending on the restaurant.
To the mana scorn - Simon Martin controversy
Simon Martin is in hot water. He has been accused of a raft of violent, dishonest and downright bizarre behaviours in a deep dive published by Manchester online newspaper The Mill on Sunday 6 Feb. Martin is chef/owner at Manchester's only Michelin star restaurant, mana, and it's no secret within the industry that many an ex-staff member has little positive to say about him - we were at the MFDF awards and yes, we heard those boos. Even so, the list of alleged behaviours raised a few eyebrows, to say the least.
Key accusations include burning a female member of staff with liquid nitrogen and laughing when it drew blood, faking a long phone call with Rene Redzepi of NOMA and, er, attacking a load of live, writhing eels with an axe. Confidentials cannot confirm or deny these stories and mana has denied the allegations - but if they're true, Martin owes a good few official apologies - as a bare minimum. The kitchens of top restaurants have long been known as places where grown men (and it is usually men) act like tantrumming toddlers on the reg, it's not acceptable and it should be called out. The tide has been changing for some time now with many owners taking huge steps forwards to look after their staff's wellbeing. Let's continue to aim to support those restaurants that treat their staff well.
Upcoming wine tastings at Isca
Two exciting tasting events are in the offing for Levenshulme wine shop and tasting room Isca next week. The first, taking place on Tuesday 15 February, will see Isca teaming up with Stockport’s Where The Light Gets In and Italian winemakers Tutto Wines for an extended aperitivo from 5pm. The event which is free to drop into at WTLGI’s Stockport restaurant will also feature snacks including Carlingford oysters and rye as well as fresh bread from Yellowhammer bakery.
Hot on the heels will be Isca’s first tasting of the year at its Levenshulme HQ. The evening of (7pm start) will be a tasting comprising of four natural orange wines from around Europe paired with seasonal organic snacks. Places are limited so best to book early.
Bada Bing plans last farewell at Track Taproom
After the announcement that it’ll be leaving Ancoats General Store, Sopranos-inspired sandwich slinger Bada Bing has announced one final bash to say farewell to the Bing. With a final date at General Store pencilled in for Sunday 20 February, the Bing has announced it will hold one final sandwich party at Track Taproom on Friday 25 February. The date comes exactly a year since the sandwich makers formed the popular hoagie operation. Sandwich fans can expect old favourites and the team will be serving from midday onwards. The Bing is dead, long live the Bing.
Yip-ee! Hello Oriental is finally open
Hello Oriental, the enormous subterranean food and drink heaven from Manchester's mega-successful Yip family (yes, of Wing Yip fame) is finally open and we are very excited. We popped down for a nosey at the food hall last night as a traditional lion dance marked the opening. Hello Oriental features a large supermarket with all your noodle, tea and snack needs along with a massive food hall with long communal tables where diners can enjoy lychee cocktails, fried gyoza, roasted meats, traditional bao and all kinds of East and South-East Asian street-style dishes. There's also a Vietnamese restaurant, Rice, Paper, Pho. This is a welcome addition to the Oxford Road area and joins nearby newbies Society and Bundobust Brewery in bringing a fresh splash of food and drink fun to a previously neglected quarter of Manchester.
Random acts of kindness
February is just full of holidays that we always forget about, have never heard of or would rather ignore. See: Valentine’s Day. To add to the list, we’re delighted to report that Thursday 17 February is “Random Act of Kindness Day” and boy, does NQ based South African sausage slinger, Chakalaka have an act of kindness for you.
All you have to do is book into the restaurant on Thursday, order your meal, and wait to roll the dice. You could have items like free starters or cocktails - or indeed everything - deducted from your bill. Let the dice of fate decide. Terms and conditions apply, so give them a good read before booking in.
If we ever meat again
Although Bundobust originally planned for its Meatless Farm menu to end when Veganuary did, the yearning for butter “chicken” and shami kebabs was just too strong, so it's been extended ‘til the end of Feb.
Spearheaded by Meatless Farm Development Chef Davy, this collab made perfect sense as both parties are “Leeds-born businesses focusing on meat-free offerings”. The limited-edition curry-house-inspired menu features a keema matar, shami kebabs, and an (I can’t believe it’s not) butter chicken, and we can’t believe it's here for another three weeks. All dishes are available on their own, but if you’re gonna do it right, get the Bundo Does Meat Combo for Two for £31. These vegan victories are on offer in Leeds, Liverpool, and at both Manchester sites ‘til Monday 28 Feb.
Creative feast at Zouk Tea Bar & Grill
Anjum Malik is a writer, poet, and performer. Zouk Tea Bar & Grill is a Halal-friendly Indian spot on Oxford Road. Bang the two together and you've got an innovative afternoon of spoken word and South-Asian cuisine to celebrate UNESCO's International Mother Language Day.
Cooking with Words is a unique event taking place on Sunday 20 February that unites well-informed words with award-winning food and audience participation, all to celebrate South-Asian culture. As part of Manchester's City of Literature celebrations, Anjum Malik will perform some of her latest poetic pieces as guests chow down on some Zouk kitchen classics. Two hours that are set to "leave bellies and hearts equally full", tickets are available via the City of Literature website and the event runs from 2 til 4pm for all ages and cultures.
A bit of public spirit
The People's Choice Spirits awards took place at Stoller Hall this week with many local spirit companies nominated. Awards on the night went to local and localish brands: AB Gold Rum, based in Holmfirth, Kingdom Recommends from Chester and (one of team Confidential's faves) Salford Rum. Best independent bar went to Below Stairs, Leeds, which also placed 39th on the recent Top 50 Cocktail Bars in the UK awards. The awards are unique in that the first round of judging is done by spirit loving regular Joes who blind taste their way through a whole load of examples before the final decision is made by a panel of drinks industry professionals. The PCSA's sister event is the People's Choice Wine Awards and it has recently opened applications to become a judge. If you think you have a superior palate, you can apply to be a wine judge here.
A new vegan-ing
Vegan South Manchester takeaway Zad's is up for sale and has upped its appeal for a new owner to take the (carrot) baton. The current owner of the business famous for its vegan pizzas and burgers says it's become too much to manage alongside other family commitments. He has taken to social media to bemoan the fact that despite the popular business being up for sale for a few months, no serious offers have come in. If you think 2022 could be the year that you finally make a plant-based name for yourself, taking over this already established gaff might be worth a pop.
This week's food and drink stories also included news of a two-week St Patrick's Day festival at O'Shea's beer garden, the Manchester indie artists designing supermarket wine bottle labels and two reviews of restaurants worth a drive: Sōlō in Ormskirk from TV star chef Tim Allen and Catch seafood restaurant in Holmfirth.
Over on our sister site Leeds Confidential, Anja has been getting a huge reaction for her story on the problems around The Ivy Asia which is set to open in Leeds.
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