There’s nothing that sounds more inviting on a cold January evening than a lovely warming pie, so when we heard that The Black Friar’s now annual Pie Festival is returning once again for 2024, we have no shame in admitting we did a little dance.
In case you never had the pleasure, The Black Friar pub over in Greengate, which was resurrected and lovingly restored to an unparalleled level of personal glory back in 2021, serves some of the best you’ll find on the Salford side of the Irwell and a couple of years back they started their own Pie Festival.
Now entering its third edition, the public house and gourmet restaurant is bringing back the parade of meat and gravy, sweet and savoury, and pretty all things pie and pastry-encrusted in the New Year.
Best of all, not only are there some seriously enticing flavours on offer but this thing is also all about value for money and we can never resist a good deal.
Launching from Monday, 8 January and running all the way up until the end of February, The Black Friar will be helping warm your cockles all winter with some proper northern pies.
Following rave reviews of Head Chef Ben Chaplin’s recipes from revered food critic Jay Rayner in 2022, the festival’s inaugural year, you can expect beloved menu signatures as well as an ever-rotating lineup of lip-smacking daily specials for two whole months.
Boasting flavours such as Creamy Chicken and Pancetta, Minced Aged Beef and Root Vegetable, as well as a Classic Fish Pie for their three fixed offerings, alongside a host of daily specials like a breakfast pie, curry fillings, sweet dessert pies and even a ‘doggy’ pie (man’s best friend’s got to eat too).
Every single one of those is getting a firm Churchill the dog nod and a hearty ‘Oh yes!’ from us. Unbelievably, each pie will be available for just £10 and if you don’t mind spending more than a tenner, you can also grab their seasonal desserts like sticky toffee pudding, apple crumble and a gingerbread rice pudding for just £7 extra. Banging.
£10 pies will be available all day every Monday and will be served until 6pm from Tuesday-Friday. Even if you don’t fancy a pie whilst the festival is on but still fancy popping in, the new 2024 menu will also have a range of winter warmers mains, including Grandma’s Pork Sausage served with mash and onion gravy, a creamy Mushroom Tagliatelle and a fragrant Vegetable Bhuna made with seasonal veg.
As for starters, we’re talking Boddingtons Rarebit with hen’s egg and chard (yeah, you heard us), White Anchovies on Toasted Sourdough, as well as Roasted Cauliflower with Ras El Hanout, harissa ragu, grapes and almond, just to name a few.
And for dessert, we’ve already reeled off the seasonal specials but you’ll know there’s always plenty more to choose from when it comes to The Black Friar’s impressive gourmet menu. It’s pub grub done proper and never disappoints.
To book a table for the Pie Festival, head over to The Black Friar’s website HERE and if you wondering where it ranks amongst the best places to get pie in Greater Manchester, look no further:
The Failsworth pizzeria with queues of delivery drivers and mac and cheese pizza
There are a lot of contenders vying for the title of the best pizza in Greater Manchester – but judging by the endless stream of delivery drivers traipsing up to Failsworth, Corner Slice might be up there…
This little pizzeria has carved out a niche for itself serving Detroit-style pizzas, and though some have attempted the same, no one comes close to this quality.
These deep-dish rectangular pizzas are made with a lighter, spongier dough than the sort of chewy Neapolitan you see a lot of these days.
They’re baked in a dish so that the edges crisp up perfectly, and with toppings and cheese spread right to the edges, you get a lot of bang for your buck.
Corner Slice has just raised the bar again with its menu of creative toppings, including – and brace yourself here – mac and cheese pizza.
The Lord Lane local clearly looked at its normal thick-based pizzas and went ‘hmm, no, not enough carb. Add pasta’.
The result is their oozy, gooey mac and cheese pizza called Mr Mac – a béchamel base with macaroni, smoked mozzarella, a cheese blend, and a pesto crumb. Oh lordy.
Corner Slice’s Mr Mac pizza dipped in fermented hot sauceThe cheese pull on that…Pasta on pizza
Other menu highlights include the Red Wing (nduja, jalapeños, pepperoni and hot honey) and Sunrise (Korean BBQ cauliflower, gochujang mayo, kimchi onions and pickled cucumber) – the former leaving you with streaks of bright red chilli honey up your arms, the latter so packed with flavour that you find yourself staring down at your slice in amazement after each bite.
And if you just can’t decide, you can always go half-and-half on your pizza topping.
It’s not just about the pizzas either.
Half-and-half Detroit-style pizza at Corner SliceParmesan waffle fries and buffalo chicken
Corner Slice also has incredible sides, like Korean BBQ popcorn chicken, parmesan waffle fries, and garlic dough rolls with rotating flavours.
There are dips too, made on-site, like the fermented hot sauce that’s probably most closely related to Buffalo sauce (but infinitely more interesting) and BBQ ranch.
The whole time we’re there (which is midday on a Friday) there’s a constant stream of delivery drivers coming to collect orders. The phone never stops ringing.
At one point, they take an order that’s fit to feed an entire American football team.
It looks like the future is bright for Corner Slice. And thank god – we’re already lusting after those crusts.
Corner Slice in FailsworthA spread of pizzas and sides at Corner Slice in Failsworth