Mary-Ellen McTague's adored neighbourhood gem has been put up for let
Yesterday, we brought you the news that District on Oldham Street has announced it is closing. Today, we bring even more devastating news. It looks like The Creameries in Chorlton has also closed.
The Creameries was opened by Manchester kitchen royalty Mary-Ellen McTague in early 2018. The former Edwardian dairy was initially launched as a bakery and bar with a small chalkboard menu of small plates and natural wines. It was one of the early adopters of the orange wine trend that is now on every menu in the city.
The shutters are down, a sign has appeared on the front door, and there hasn’t been a post on social media since July
McTague’s impressive CV (The Fat Duck, Aumbry etc) and love of lesser-celebrated traditional dishes like black peas and game pies made it an exciting proposition. And that house-baked sourdough with freshly churned butter was the stuff of dreams.
The menu ebbed and flowed over the years but always retained Mary-Ellen’s characterful Northern fingerprint. At Christmas, it was a gastronomic dream of oysters, venison and chestnut tart. Probably the best Christmas menu in Greater Manchester.
Many of team Confidentials were fans who paid regular visits to the stylish, relaxed neighbourhood venue. It was one of the true gems of our region.
In 2022, the team pivoted to a relaxed Italian trattoria-style menu and relaunched as Campagna at The Creameries under new Head Chef Mike Thomas. Our reviewer Sophie loved the sunshine-strewn dishes, claiming focaccia to be her new love language after tasting Mike’s version.
But now, a sign has appeared on the front window, a restaurant-to-let sign is fixed outside, the website is offline and there hasn’t been a post on social media since July. It looks like The Creameries is no more.
This week a sticking plaster energy bill cap was announced that was supposed to help small businesses like this through the cost of living crisis.
If independent gems like District and The Creameries are going to close in the current horrific climate for restaurants (and pretty much everyone, let’s face it), what will Manchester look like a year from now? Will only soulless chains who can “trim the fat” where necessary survive?
We talk a lot about how proud we are of Manchester’s incredible dining scene. It is incredible. It’s the envy of much of the UK. Manchester has scrapped and hustled its way to becoming a city in which people dream of living - and a huge part of that is the independent food and drink venues that make it so unique. People don’t want to move here for the London chains and Piccadilly Gardens. They’re here for our independent spirit and our insistence on doing things brilliantly.
If this news is true, who’s next? And what are we going to do about it?
In the meantime, Mary-Ellen continues doing great work with Eat Well MCR. Eat Well has a number of things going on at the moment that you can show your support for. There is a feast at Hello Oriental for MFDF on Wednesday 30 November this year. There is also a brilliant annual Eat Well MCR/ MFDF raffle on at the moment where you can win some great prizes including a stay in Treehouse Hotel (where Mary-Ellen will be running the kitchen), tickets for Bluedot, and hundreds of pounds worth of restaurant vouchers. It's all for a good cause, the self-funded, not-for-profit social enterprise has already provided over 70,000 meals for people in need. Enter the Eat Well MFDF raffle here.
If you can, please continue to support your favourite local restaurants. There are tough times ahead.
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