This month: Snow Crab, Mekong Catfish and a winner winner chicken dinner

Our lot have enjoyed food from the four corners of the world this month, including the near, middle and far easts, various Americas and Ramsbottom.

Here's our round up of the best things to eat in, around and a bit beyond Manchester this October. So get stuck in before your diet turns into pumpkin leftovers and sweets you've stolen from the kids.

2018 10 02 Pho No 1 Img 8421

Ca Kho To - Pho No.1 (£8)

Though it sounds like a finishing move from Mortal Kombat, the Mekong Catfish is actually an endangered native of the monster South East Asian river, which stretches from China to the southern tip of Vietnam, How I've found myself eating an endangered freshwater shark* opposite Manchester's sprawling postal sorting office on a grubby stretch of Oldham Road (aka 'Little Vietnam', owing to the number of Vietnamese diners and nail 'technicians') I'm not sure, but what I will say is that having eaten my first Ca Tho To, it's easy to see why they’re all getting gobbled. Traditionally served in a clay pot with a sweet caramelised sauce, garlic and spring onions, this is a bubbling hot, sticky pot of braised fish with a pleasing saltiness, a punch of chilli and at least 473 bones to pick out of your teeth. Pho No.1 has only been open two weeks. It used to be called Saigon Lotus, then Simply Viet Cafe, and before that Ha Noi Quan… all Vietnamese cafs and all totally legit. David Blake

*The Giant Mekong Catfish is endangered, not the farmed tiddlers, apparently. So don’t be bothering the WWF.

Pho No.1, 146 Oldham Rd, Manchester M4 6BG

2018 10 02 Best Dish Pumpkin

Butternut squash with Idiazabal cheese - Baratxuri (£7)

If you can banish Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice from your mind, roast squash manages to bridge summer and winter flavours in one big, seasonal embrace. Baratxuri’s head chef, Rachel Stockley, certainly seems to think so, and her butternut squash with whipped Basque Idiazabal sheep’s milk cheese shows just how to do it. Inspired by something similar at New York’s Mission Chinese, each well-balanced bite comes at you like Bonfire Night on a fork. Another surprising and brilliant creation from one of our Top 100 restaurants. Ruth Allan

Baratxuri, 1 Smithy Street, Ramsbottom, Bury, BL0 9AT

Channa Batura
Channa Batura

Channa Batura - Indian Tiffin Room (£7.95)

This chickpea masala is something of a signature dish for the ITR, as it’s been a best seller since the early days of their Cheadle restaurant. This humble aromatic vegan dish hails from the Punjab region in the north of India where it is popular as a breakfast dish. The chick peas are full of slow release protein to make sure you have enough energy to last you for the whole day with multi-vitamins coming via ginger, garlic, tomatoes, chilli and onions – more than can be said for a box of cereals, or a flaccid beige pasty from a train station Greggs. Batura is similar to a roti or chapati, but uses self raising flour and deep frying to make it puff up into part scoop, part pillow. If I had to eat this for breakfast every day for the rest of a long life, I’d be a very happy bunny. Deanna Thomas

Indian Tiffin Room, 2 Isabella Banks Street, First Street, Manchester, M15 4RL

2018 10 02 Best Dishes Levanter

Sea Bass, Levanter (£15)         

Gordo remembers when sea bass was very exotic and the only place you could get one was in Harry Yeung’s Yang Sing. But it was brilliant. Cod was knocking about, but was considered the food of the masses. Salmon was available in season; expensive and wild, full of flavour, a real treat, eagerly waited with a good light burgundy. Today, farmed salmon and sea bass bore the arse off The Fat One, once the Spanish and French have picked over the best stuff. Then, in Levanter, Gordo was served a sea bass of such outstanding quality he burst into the Toreador song from Bizet’s Carmen in the middle of lunch. This comes cooked whole, tickled with chopped parsley, gently sweated red peppers and shallots, sat on a bed of steaming samphire. It was gorgeous, as is the rest of Levanter. Gordo

Levanter, 10 Square St, Ramsbottom, Bury BL0 9DX

2018 10 02 Best Dishes Lucy

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner, Yard & Coop (£12)

As soon as there is a chill in the air and conkers littering the pavement, my tastes evolve from fancy salad and flower-speckled confections to the classic comfort eating tropes: stodge and delicious heaps of it. This month's choice, the Winner Winner Chicken Dinner from Yard & Coop ticks all the autumnal boxes. Flying saucer yorkies, buttermilk-fried chicken, wilted greens and buttery mash all soaked in classic gravy. Who needs a new school coat when you can just layers up with thick wads of carbohydrate? I can't pretend there is any refinement here but there is central heating by the bucketload (almost literally). Winner winner indeed. Lucy Tomlinson

Yard & Coop, 37 Edge St, Manchester M4 1HW

2018 01 10 Snow Crab Albatross And Arnold

Snow Crab - Albatross & Arnold (£11)

Snow Queens, Snow Leopards, Snow Patrol (well maybe not them) – there’s something icily alluring about the fluffy white epithet. Take Snow Crab. Latin tag Chionoecetes makes it sound like an infectious disease; its other name, Queen Crab, like some spidery drag artiste. But ‘snow’ summons up the Arctic/Alaskan depths it is plucked from. Truth is the snow refers to the whiteness of the meat, among the sweetest crustacean flesh. It dazzles on the plate at Albatross & Arnold. Yes, I am eating at the fine dining lounge above the city centre’s premier golf simulation range. It wasn’t the influence of Ryder Cup triumph – I just thought I’d swing by. Reward: this small plate where crab fronds are perfectly paired with charred sweetcorn, a sun of bisque behind, a whisper of sea purslane on top. Well, every course needs its greens. Neil Sowerby

Albatross & Arnold, New Court Street St, Manchester M3 3AN 

2018 10 02 Best Dishes Js

Bap Cai Chien - Viet Shack (£5.80)

These crispy cauliflower florets with a glorious mix of spices and sauces are exceptionally tasty morsels that provide good crunch and a cracking blast of eastern flavours. The avocado and the chilli were colourful additions that provide a super soar away lift while the scattered leaves give more variety and extra heft. Given the French colonial influence on Vietnamese food, the word ‘chien’ in the dish was alarming but it turned out that the bark was worth the bite. Other excellent dishes include a Ca Bong which is fresh raw tuna with all the accompaniments, indeed the menu is littered with good stuff. The prices deliver great value too. Jonathan Schofield

Viet Shack, 65-67 Great Ancoats St, Manchester, M4 5AB

Hey you, like eating out? Course you do, why else would you be here. In that case, have you seen the new Top 100 Restaurants in the North West guide? No. Well, you're in for a treat.