Now more than ever, we’re starting to get used to the fact that the food businesses we love often come and then go. But in the case of Kool Runnings’ Caribbean food truck, whenever it goes missing there’s always more than a little bit of a panic.
The legendary kitchen-on-wheels has been feeding its community for a quarter of a decade, and if it disappears – as it sometimes does – its loyal regulars start to fret.
Lately, the truck has been missing from its Old Trafford patch. As a result, fans have been left wondering what is going on and whether it might have closed for good, as so many great hospitality businesses seem to be doing at the moment.
Good news, then, that after a short hiatus, it is back: once again parked up in its rightful spot, slinging out its famous fried and jerk chicken, as well as handmade patties, massive dumplings, creamy coleslaw, mac and cheese, and plenty more to the waiting crowds.
Owner Aval Saunders has been steadfastly feeding his community what is widely considered to be some of the best Yard food in the north since 1998, cooking late into the night out of his food truck with a little help from his sons.
He hates waste and will generally stay open serving until all the food is gone. Making everything from scratch, with fresh patties prepared daily, also means that everything is super fresh – but the days are long, and he works hard.
Queues here are common, especially in the summer when the smell of spiced meat on charcoal billows from the trailer and hungrily winds its way around the neighbourhood.
It’s unsurprising, then, that he felt he needed a bit of a break – telling us that he has just returned from spending time abroad recuperating in Jamaica.
“So yeah, we’ve been back home to Jamaica just to have a bit of rest because you know we’re busy we’re very busy,” he told The Manc.
“A lot of people missed us you know, since we come back a lot of people came back, complaining, kept saying ‘where were you guys, where were you guys?’ But we had to take a break because we’re tired innit.”
It’s dark and our pictures don’t really do it justice, but trust us when we say that the food here is worth every bit of hype that it gets.
A fixture in the community for some twenty-five years now, it’s become a longstanding favourite for whole generations.
Aval’s cooking has also amassed some famous fans over the years. Footballers like Sergio Agüero, Andy Cole and Rio Ferdinand, as well as sports personalities Usain Bolt and Tyson Fury are known to be regulars.
Even Ainsley Harriot of Ready Steady Cook fame has popped by the truck in the past for a scran, so we understand.
This is the sort of food that you just want to shovel in, no cutlery needed. Packed with flavour, then jerk chicken here is marinaded in a secret rub and then thrown on the grill until it’s blackened with smoke, whilst its accompanying gravy is thick, sweet and peppery with a nice hidden kick.
Thank goodness, then, that the Kool Runnings truck is back where it belongs. With the Longsight shop currently closed for a refurb, we were starting to wonder where to go for our next fix.
Feature image – The Manc Eats
Inside One Eight Six as Manchester cocktail bar finally reopens two years after devastating New Year’s Eve fire
One Eight Six, the Manchester cocktail bar that was destroyed in a blaze on New Year’s Eve, is finally ready to reopen.
The stunning subterranean bar and live music venue has been closed since the very early hours of 2022, when a fire broke out shortly after the midnight countdown.
Terrifying CCTV footage at the time showed balloons across the ceiling catching fire and around 170 people fleeing the blaze.
It’s since been confirmed that the cause of the fire was real pine Christmas trees that were fastened to the ceiling, set alight by celebratory sparklers inside the bar.
Ever since that fateful night, One Eight Six has been quiet – until now.
The popular Deansgate bar is finally ready to quite literally rise from the ashes, having undergone an extensive refurbishment.
Its interior was completely destroyed in the New Year’s Eve fire, but has been reborn better than ever before.
Customers will again enter the bar through a barbershop at street level, with in incredible twisting neon light feature hanging from the ceiling.
Then after heading down the stairs you’ll find yourself in an art deco speakeasy, with the stage set for live music until the early hours.
Huge curved velvet booths in shades of pink and red will provide guests with a luxurious night out setting.
One Eight Six has installed opulent black marble floors and glowing light arches too – not to mention a giant ‘One Eight Six’ sign in mirrors.
Walls and pillars have been covered in even more mirrors to reflect the huge mirror ball and stage lights.
Founder Dean Mac said: “After nearly two years, we are finally allowed to be back on our feet giving the people of Manchester what they have been waiting so patiently for.
“Thank you again for sticking with us and supporting our journey this far. This new chapter of ONE EIGHT SIX will be better than ever. Same vibe. Same location. Just a whole lot sexier…”
It’s all looking pretty luxurious – just like before.
One Eight Six will officially open its doors this weekend on Deansgate, with bookings live here.