PLUS women in wine, hangover recipes and a Palestinian dinner winner in Didsbury
This week, Boris Johnson announced his much-anticipated roadmap out of lockdown. After repeatedly stating he was focusing on data and not dates, what it constituted was a load of dates and very little data. The key dates for hospitality are that beer gardens will reopen no earlier than April 12th and dining-out (indoors) will return no earlier than May 17th.
This announcement has sparked many restaurants to open up their bookings systems again, with many of them crashing under the weight of demand. We can only hope that when safe, our beloved hospitality scene will see an unprecedented boom in custom as we all go out and support those who've struggled hideously for the past twelve months. As always, we encourage you to support the small indies, never mind the multinationals.
But there is still much fun to be had and plenty to celebrate this week, here's our round-up of what's new for our restaurants, pubs and cafes:
Salford Rum’s on the honey
Salford Rum has launched a honey rum to bring their range up to a trio. They’ve teamed up with local family producers The Finest Honey who use honey from hives in Salford to make this naturally sweet rum. Each order also comes with a packet of flower seed to help rebuild the honey bees’ natural habitat. Manchester’s bee connection is well documented - the symbol which has represented the city since 1842 is a tribute to the history of the local dock workers known as worker bees and has had a resurgence in popularity in recent years appearing on everything from tote bags to tattoos. It can also be(e) seen on the Salford Coat of arms representing the growth of five industrial communities around the centre of the textile industry. Pre-orders are live now.
Super noodles sell out
Northern Quarter broth wizards Tokyo Ramen have launched a cook-at-home version of their popular Japanese ramen bowls. The “Not That Instant” ramen is now available to order via their website - the first batch sold out ninja-fast but hopefully, there will be a re-stock very soon. Kits contain a pouch of expertly made soup, noodles and torched pork belly. As fast as the supermarket version - you can rustle it up in <15 mins - this is a far soup-erior option. All you need is a couple of pans of boiling water. The team say “True ramen dweebs can elevate their ramen by adding their own toppings such as negi, nori, seasoned egg etc.”.
Recipes for disaster
The owner of Didsbury deli A Taste of Honey is putting together a cookbook with a difference and is looking for contributions. The book, titled Heartbreak and Hangovers: The definitive guide to eating your way out of a hangover or broken heart will be packed with the kinds of comfort foods that soothe a broken soul. Penny Lynch says, 'Hangovers for me will always be about Dairylea Dunkers, any and all forms of breaded chicken, Tabasco sauce and homemade coleslaw.' For heartbreak, she recommends, 'A beaker of white wine and a packet of Marlboro Lights'. Penny is asking people to come forward with their own recipes and stories to be included in the cookbook. Email to get involved.
Didsbury’s Baity Palestinian Kitchen has been announced as one of five finalists in a Gousto 'Cookstarter'. The recipe box site launched the initiative with the aim of supporting diverse independent restaurants. Baity fought off competition from over 15,000 other indies. The restaurant will receive £10k of funding and a year-long business mentorship programme headed up by Gousto’s CEO Timo Boldt. They will be invited to create a limited-edition recipe box in partnership with Gousto, allowing them to bring their signature dishes into kitchens across the country. The campaign has been backed by Joe Wicks, Gizzi Erskine and Katherine Ryan. Baity is the only Manchester restaurant - and the only one in the North West - in the top 5. Gousto uses will be able to ‘tip’ the restaurant through TiPJAR and are also encouraged to donate to Hospitality Action.
Nell’s pizza squares up to the ‘at home’ crowd
Cult pizzeria Nell’s - currently serving slices and pies out of Common in the Northern Quarter and The Beagle in Chorlton - has launched a cook at-home version of its NYC inspired pizza. The pizzas will be slightly thicker based, square and individually portioned in foil trays. The brand is staying true to its indie credentials and stocking its frozen and refrigerated cook at home pizzas solely in local indie grocery stores like Ancoats General Store and Stretford Market. Read more here.
Food fest reassessed
While other food festivals are powering on with bookings, the Taste Cheshire Food and Drink Festival 2021 - originally planned for Easter bank holiday - has been postponed until August Bank Holiday. This change comes with the news that large events will not be returning until 21st of June at the earliest, according to the Prime Minister’s roadmap. The organisers say ‘we must act cautiously with the safety of our customers and traders our top priority.' If you have a ticket for either Camperfest, the food festival in 2020 or for the previously announced Easter 2021 event, your tickets will be valid for the new August 2021 show. Refunds are available if necessary.
Celebrating grape women
Salut has launched a special collection of wine for International Women’s Day in partnership with The People’s History Museum (PHM). The ‘Trailblazer: A Toast to International Women’s Day’ wine box features six wines from around the world all produced by female-run vineyards. The box (£110) includes a donation towards the museum's Join The Radicals campaign, access to a virtual tour of PHM and a ticket to a one-off virtual wine tasting on International Women’s Day, March 8th. Speakers at this exciting event include hugely influential wine critic Jancis Robinson, winemakers Samantha O’Keefe from Lismore Estate Vineyards, South Africa, Marinette Garnier from Jaffelin, France and Myriam Ambuzer from Lyrarakis vineyard in Crete as well as Salut owner Sara Saunby. It will be hosted by Katy Ashton, Director of the People’s History Museum.