A Manchester restaurant is serving up plates of crispy fried squirrel – and their customers absolutely love it.
Taking game dishes to a whole other level, the wild crispy buttermilk fried squirrel at Ancoats restaurant Street Urchin comes served atop a creamy pulled ham hock cassoulet, with hazelnut bread croutons and nettle pesto and costs £22.50.
Sourced from their game supplier in Cumbria, it might sound nutty but owner Rachel Choudhary told The Manc that the dish has proven incredibly popular – and that the team has been ‘really surprised’ at how much of a hit it has become with customers since adding it to the menu.
She said: “We were looking for something new for the game options on the menu. Kev was speaking to our game supplier and randomly asked if he had any grey squirrels. Happily, he did.
“The whole team tried the dish the day it went on and the majority thought it was really good.
“We weren’t sure if it would sell, but have been really surprised. So many people have tried it and given good feedback. We’ve recommended that they eat it like chicken wings and pick it up, that way you get most of the meat.
“I’d never tried squirrel before and I absolutely loved it, it has great flavour, rich buttery texture, and it’s wild, free-range meat.”
The gray squirrel currently has an estimated population of 2.5 million in the UK according to the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust and is considered a good sustainable alternative to factory-farmed meat.
It is legal to control grey squirrels by shooting or trapping them in the UK in a humane manner and even helps protect the UK’s endangered native red squirrel population.
Whilst some might find the idea of eating squirrels a tad unappealing, many chefs argue it is better to eat them when culling as it means the meat does not go to waste.
English market diner Street Urchin was first opened on Great Ancoats Street in 2019 by husband and wife team Rachel and Kevin Choudary.
Prior to opening in town, the couple ran The Victoria in Altrincham for eight years before deciding that it was time to move on.
Their Ancoats market diner has made its name on being one of the few city centre restaurants specialising in fresh fish, with everything from clams and mackerel to cured chalk stream trout, king scallops, and whole grilled red gurnard regularly available on the menu.
Whilst the fish board is the main attraction, however, there are other dishes to explore on the daily-changing menu too – with game meat a popular choice whenever it is in season.
Featured image – Street Urchin
The Lawn Club closes temporarily after bar brawl at event leaves ‘trail of blood’ on floor
The Lawn Club has been temporarily instructed to close after a fight last weekend left a trail of blood on the floor outside.
The popular Spinningfields sun-trap bar has said that it’s cooperating fully with Greater Manchester Police and Manchester City Council while the incident is investigated.
A report from GMP said that ‘a large group of people’ were fighting at the city centre bar, one of whom reportedly was seen with a gun, which was thankfully not fired.
At 10.25pm on Sunday 4 June, North West Ambulance service reported that a male had been stabbed in the leg but ‘the knife was no longer in his leg and they didn’t know where it was’.
The victim got up and walked away, and has still not been traced.
The incident happened during an event that was organised by a third party promoter.
The Lawn Club provided CCTV footage to officers, which showed two males arguing before a third appeared with a black handgun.
A spokesperson for the venue said: “On Sunday 4th June, an incident occurred at The Lawn Club, the premises operated by Hardman Bars. This was during an event organised by a third party promoter.
“As a result of this incident, we have been instructed to close the premises temporarily. We also recognise and fully comply with the request by GMP and Manchester City Council, received at a hearing on 07.06.23, for a temporary suspension of our licence while the incident is investigated and reviewed in full.
“We are cooperating entirely with GMP and Manchester City Council to provide any information they require in relation to the incident.
“We’d like to reassure our customers and the community that this is an isolated incident. But nevertheless, the safety of our team, customers and the community is of the highest importance to us. As such, during this period of closure, we will be actively working with the authorities and relevant parties to review all policies and procedures in place at the premises.”
Featured image: The Manc Group
The Stockport farm supper club where you eat outside in the fields
There’s a supper club on a community farm in Stockport where you can dine outside in the very fields where your food has grown.
Hosted by Manchester food waste cafe Open Kitchen in partnership with The Kindling Trust, the journey from plot to plate has never been shorter.
The pair have joined forces to celebrate local, seasonal and sustainably produced food in the most delicious way possible – with a three-course vegan menu designed to show off the organic produce grown at The Kindling Trust’s site in Woodbank Memorial Park.
The supper will be served outside in the fields as part of a unique ‘pop-up restaurant’ experience, accompanied by paired organic wines designed to complement each dish.
Full bar service will also be provided, with provisions made for cover from the ‘Manchester weather’ if required.
Corin Bell, Exec Director of Open Kitchen said, “Messages about sustainability can sometimes feel like they are all about going without…. Don’t fly, don’t drive, etc.
“We want to focus on positive messages about sustainability, that focus on shifts in behaviour that are kinder to planet and people.
“The event with Kindling will showcase beautiful food and drink, and also be supporting local, sustainable, independent and ethical business, all of which are really core values for both open Kitchen and Kindling”.
Chris Walsh from the Kindling Trust said: “Events like fine dining in the fields are really important to us, because they open up the farm to members of the public, and help to really bring the message home about why local and sustainable produce is so important for our planet and our local economy”.
Located just a mile east of Stockport town centre, Woodbank Community Food Hub is an urban horticulture hub co-ordinated by the Kindling Trust that joins up inclusive community gardening with commercial organic food production.
The size of one and a half football pitches, it includes several large polytunnels for under-cover veg growing as well as three field blocks, apple trees and a community garden.
As well as hosting the dinner in the fields, it is also a place to collect fresh organic veg bags delivered by the Veg Box People, who make sure farmers get regular demand and a fair price for their produce.
Taking place from 6 to 9pm on Wednesday 21 June 2023, to find out more about the dinner and purchase tickets click here.