Christmas kulfi, burrata in bacon, and a whole slab of festive lasagne
Everyone's churning out their annual Xmas menus at the moment and, for the most part, you can predict what will be on them. But alongside the usual line up of Xmas suspects, some Manchester kitchens have been getting a little more creative with their seasonal plates. We've noticed so many quirky Xmas menu items that we've put them all in a handy roundup for those who like to shake up their snowglobes a little at this time of year.
From Xmas dinner pies to egg nog ice cream, here are 12 of Manchester's quirkiest Christmas menu items.
What: Boxing Day "burger" cake
How much: £3
Where: Sam's Bakehouse
Sam's Bakehouse is an award-winning Chorlton bakery that does home delivery as well as popping up all over the show. Sam has a penchant for surreal sweet creations - you may remember his "fried chicken" cake pop box. His festive creation this year is a mindbending "Boxing Day butty" which comprises a white chocolate cake pop "turkey burger" patty, with Nutella "gravy" and oat crumble "stuffing" all sandwiched between a doughnut bun. Find Sam popping up at the Trafford Centre and various other markets. See his website for dates and deets.
Sam's Bakehouse various locations including Trafford Palazzo (formerly Barton Square) and Stockport Market Place.
What: Oh Christmas Cheese, Oh Christmas Cheese platter
How Much: £50
Where: American Pies Mcr
If a 50 quid platter filled with every kind of deep-fried, crumb coated, honey glazed cheese doesn’t float your yuletide boat, then we don't know what to say to you. Although American Pies is famous for its Chicago style deep-dish pizza and "doughritos", it’s gifting us the magic of a deep-fried Christmas that includes a stocking filler of bacon and burrata. Burrata in blankets with nduja crumb and hot honey is the sideman to other cheesy goods like brie, cranberry and bacon cheesy garlic knots, and fried gouda in filo lollipops. Consisting of a whole ball of burrata wrapped in crispy bacon and drizzled with hot sweet honey, it really is the gift that keeps on giving.
American Pies Mcr, unit 1, 58 West Mosley St, Manchester, M2 3HZ
What: Chocolate orange cookie dough
How Much: £6.95
Where: The Botanist
If there’s one food that screams Ho! Ho! Ho! it’s Terry and his chocolate fruit. Add that to a gooey bowl of warm cookie dough and you’ve got the perfect artery-clogging Christmas treat. Served up in a warm iron skillet and topped with non-dairy vanilla ice cream, The Botanist has nailed that festive balance between sickly sweet and sharp citrus to provide us with the perfect grand finale for its winter menu. If choccy orange cookie dough doesn’t quite feel quirky enough, you can also enjoy your whole Xmas dinner on a hanging skewer with the turkey and all the trimmings kebab (£14.50) served with root veg mash and a whole load of gravy.
The Botanist, 78 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 2FW
What: Christmas kulfi
How Much: £2.50
Although you’d probably assume that a sprout bhaji butty is the most eccentric Crimbo item on Bundobust’s menu, Bundo's Christmas kulfi is giving that sarnie a serious run for its money. Made with a unique blend of sugar, spice, and all things nice, this frozen dessert contains subtle hints of nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, and orange peel (think frozen chai latte). It doesn’t get much quirkier than handheld Indian ice cream on a stick, and described as “the perfect capsule dessert”, this pine-tree-shaped treat is lovingly hand made by the chefs at Bundo founder Mayur's family's restaurant Prashad, finishing off the Bundo feast of festive curries and sprout-based sides perfectly.
Bundobust, 61 Piccadilly, Manchester M1 2AG
What: Croquetas de pavo con salsa de Arándanos
How Much: Part of La Bandera’s Christmas set menu, £29 per person
Where: La Bandera
La Bandera has added just about everything to a croquette from squid ink to the classic ibérico, but in true Spanish Santa style, the Christmas menu includes a starter of homemade turkey croquettes with cranberry dipping sauce. Crisp and golden on the outside with a soft, seasonal filling, these bites of Xmas bliss are served alongside other quirky tapas-style dishes such as pulled lamb sliders with caramelised apple, a touch of cinnamon, and honey.
La Bandera, 2 Ridgefield, Manchester M2 6EQ
What: Festive Afternoon Tea
Where: The Midland
The Midland is one of the most popular places for a quintessential afternoon tea in Manchester - it's even got its own dedicated afternoon tea room. Every year, the fancy-pants hotel sprinkles a load of elfin mischief all over its three-tiered cake stands. The Midland's festive afternoon tea includes seasonal sandwich fillings like turkey and stuffing, scones and a cake tier that features wintery delights such as black forest gateaux with mascarpone cream and griottine cherries, white chocolate mousse with cranberry and orange compote, and mulled spiced rum snowballs, not forgetting the Christmas mince pie with brandy.
The Midland 16 Peter St, Manchester M60 2DS
What: Festive chicken parmo
How Much: £11
Where: Parmogeddon at Hatch
Breaded chicken, bechamel sauce, melted cheese, pigs in blankets, deep-fried stuffing, seasoned fries, pickled red cabbage, and an impending food coma = Christmas bliss. If you’re not sure what a chicken parmo even is, it’s a Teeside delicacy that Parmogeddon self-professes to be “food of the gods”. With its crispy, breaded chicken base and a grilled cheese top, this plate of gooey goodness couldn’t be further away from a light snack. Shove on some stuffing balls and sausages wrapped in bacon and you’ve got the ideal quirky Christmas plate with bells on.
Parmogeddon at Hatch, 103 Oxford Rd, Manchetser M1 7ED
What: Festive ice cream
How Much: £6.50
Where: A Few Scoops
‘Tis the season for absolutely anything sweet and boozy, and local ice cream independent A Few Scoops is killing two turkeys with one stone thanks to its range of cocktail-inspired ice creams. Handmade with locally sourced ingredients, the festive flavours range from a clementine martini sorbet to a drunken Eggnog and a new not so hot chocolate special made in collaboration with Mallow and Marsh. After a successful residency at Ramona’s winter village, Jolene the pink ice-cream tuk-tuk is now scooting over to the Trafford Centre’s Barton Square, allowing stressed Xmas shoppers to cool off with a big scoop of squiffy ice cream before driving home for Christmas (please scoop responsibly).
A Few Scoops, Barton Square in The Trafford Centre, Trafford Park, Stretford, Manchester M17 8AA
What: Festive Slab
How Much: £11
Where: Lazy Tony’s Lasagneria
Although the words “festive slab” might bring to mind the immense slice of Christmas cake you inhale at 6pm on Boxing Day, Lazy Tony’s is redefining the seasonal “slab” with a whole rectangle of turkey filled lasagne. With spiced turkey mince and smoked pancetta in a mulled wine and cranberry ragu, this unique invention is then layered with a soffrito of onion, carrot and parsnips, sage and onion bechamel, and a topping of sage, parmesan and pigs in blankets. Leaving you in that post-dinner comatose state with the Queen’s Speech bumbling away in the background, it’s time for tea at Tony’s this festive season.
Lazy Tony’s Lasagneria, 23 Radium Street, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6AY
What: Hogs & kisses
How Much: Part of the festive bottomless brunch for £34.95 per person
Merry Christmas, hogs and kisses, from Manahatta xoxo. Crawling out of the woodwork every Christmas like Michael Bublé and Mariah Carey, the humble pig in a blanket is about as quirky as the Coca Cola Christmas truck. However, place them next to a soft, warm pretzel and top with a runny-yolked fried egg and they’re taken to a whole new level. With not a frozen chipolata in sight, this unique brunch dish is topped with melted Monterey Jack cheese and made with love, hogs, and kisses by Manahatta.
Manahatta, 188-192 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3ND
What: Sprout tempura
How Much: Christmas Set Menu - 3 courses for £23
The Brussels sprout truly does have the nation in a chokehold at Xmas time, and we’re really not complaining. However, if the classic roast ‘em and add some bacon and chestnuts method seems a bit too traditional, Shoryu in Piccadilly is serving up a Sprout Tempura to kick off its Christmas set menu of festive miso ramen and mistletoe cocktails. Coating the nations favourite Christmas veg in a thin and crispy tempura batter, Shoryu is perfecting the art of the seasonal starter one green morsel at a time.
Shoryu, 1 Piccadilly, Manchester M1 1RG
What: Two bird Christmas dinner pie
How much: £12.95
Where: Pie & Ale
We're big fans of a pie here at Confidentials and Pie & Ale is an NQ stalwart in this department. Famous for its menu of classics as well as inventive pie fillings, of course this Lever Street pastry peddler has conjured up some Xmas specials. The two bird roast takes Crimbo's most popular duo of birds - turkey and goose - and wraps them up in a rich gravy with parsnip, sausage, stuffing, cranberry sauce and Xmassy herbs and is served with creamy mash and yet more gravy. If like us, you're partial to a sprout, you can add a topper for an extra quid (other topper options include pigs in blankets). Also on the Xmas menu are a duck and orange pie and a vegan chestnut number - and you can pair your pie with a cranberry ale from Squawk and Runaway via The Epicurean too if you fancy.
Pie & Ale, Units 1 & 2 the Hive, 47 Lever St, Manchester M1 1FN
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