Plus yet more new terraces open, Eritrean and Ethiopian cuisine in Ancoats and a 'Daiq Shack'
It feels like it's been a long wait but from next week, we can finally meet up with other people and have a beer together at a table outside. We'll need our big coats but so what?
This week brings more terrace openings, new food pop-ups, some warm and fuzzy community love and something called a Daiq Shack.
Read on for this week's Manchester food and drink news.
Slurp and slice
We attended Grape to Grain x Nell’s Pizza's wine (and pizza) tasting event on Zoom a few weeks back. Great fun, great wine, great pizza. It went so well that the team are hosting another at the end of April this time in collab with Rudy’s Pizza. The gang at G2G kept spirits up throughout last year’s annus horribilis with weekly tastings. They’re super passionate and knowledgeable about wine without being pretentious or elitist. The event on April 29th will celebrate Rudy’s bake-at-home range and every “attendee” will receive three wines from Southern Italy paired with pizzas (vegetarian and vegan options available). You can choose from three 100ml wine servings with one pizza (£27.50), “Carafes” of three 500ml wines with two pizzas (£82.50), or a full bottle of three wines with two pizzas. Delivery is limited to Greater Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool postcodes. Free on orders of over £100. Bookings close on Sunday 25th April, with deliveries made on Wednesday 28th April. Book your place on the Grape To Grain x Rudy’s wine tasting and read more about the wines and pizzas available.
The owner of Levenshulme vegan diner, The Gherkin has built a "Kindness Kabinet" which now sits outside the venue. Jamie Whittaker is well known for his community work in Leve. He organises litter-picking days at the secret lake and has temporarily repurposed The Gherkin as a food bank during lockdown - amongst other things. Now, the kindness kabinet aims to provide help for locals in need. Jamie says: "Anyone can take a couple of items. Anyone can donate a couple of items. Be kind, don’t clear it out.” The Gherkin is at 312 Slade Lane, Levenshulme, if you want to get involved in any way. Good on you Jamie, you’re our kinda guy.
Out on the tiles
From setbacks on Thomas Street to hastily erected canopies, everyone is abuzz getting ready to open up the terraces (and rooftops and, er, ginnels) for sociable drinking and dining from 12 April. A couple of new ones that have given us a poke this week are Revs De Cuba bringing its, um, "Daiq Shack" airstream caravan (main picture above) to the square at Great Northern to pump out cocktails, the team behind Bar Hütte will be bringing a Balearic-inspired Beach Club (sketched above) to the Great Northern with food from South Manny Flavaz, Platzki and Alex's Bakery and drinks from Aperol et al, Hard Rock is reopening its terrace with live music to accompany the drinking. Want more? We update our list of outdoor drinking and dining spots weekly.
East African pop-up at Blossom Street Social
House of Habesha will be bringing its "authentic Eritrean and Ethiopian home-styled dishes" to the kitchen at Ancoats wine bar Blossom Street Social when it reopens. East African cuisine is not so heavily represented in Greater Manchester and the team is keen to share dishes like kulwa (lamb stew with Berber spices), spicy red lentil dish timtimo and fit-fit (a spiced, flatbread and tomato stew) with new audiences. House of Habesha started trading at small events and Xmas markets in 2018 with both vegan and meaty options. The team are thrilled to have a more permanent home in Ancoats and we can't wait to try it.
Let's talk about some new graffiti in the NQ
We love our hospitality scene and we value its people very much but did you know that it has the highest rates of drug abuse and the third-highest rates of alcohol abuse of any industry? It’s also one of the most sleep-deprived industries with many workers reporting poor mental health and general unhappiness. Bartenders are also the most likely workers to die from alcohol-related disease. These statistics above come via Manchester-based mental health in hospitality platform So Let’s Talk. So Let’s Talk and Good Good Graffiti are teaming up to create six murals on the subject of mental health in hospitality, to pay a local artist in the process and to raise awareness about the challenges faced and the supportive services they are offering to help improve things. The murals will appear on the shutters of Noho and Dusk Til Pawn in the Northern Quarter. You can donate to the project via the So Let’s Talk Crowdfunder.
No more no shows
With terraces booked up for weeks, the issue of no shows has raised its ugly (selfish, thoughtless etc.) head again. A #nomorenoshows campaign that launched last July has been given a reboot to try and address the issue once more. Of course, people are keen to book a table and sometimes life happens, people can't make it for whatever reason, we get it. But please have the courtesy to cancel as soon as you know you can't make it. The survival of restaurants and bars depend on them having real bums on seats and if it can't be yours, let them get someone else in your place. The issue is real, it costs the industry roughly £16bn a year and 25-50% of bookings simply don't show up. Don't be that person.
The refresher campaign goes live today, Friday 9 April, with hospitality leaders, operators and employees from all around Greater Manchester asked to post the #NOMORENOSHOWS tile on their socials, calling on their own network of customers, family & friends to do their bit by sharing the image and politely reminding customers of the original three steps:
1. Plans change. That's cool. Just let us know.
2. Rebook - we still love you.
3. Encourage friends and family to do the same.