The summer is here, al fresco dining is on the cards, and it seems like the suburbs are having a moment again.
Urmston has not one but two exciting new openings to shout about, whilst Withington has just welcomed Almost Famous into its neighbourhood as Manchester’s original dirty burger bar takes over the short-lived Libertine site.
Elsewhere, Gordon Ramsay moves into town with his Lucky Cat restaurant moving into the former Jamie’s Italian site at the top of King Street.
Simply put, there’s a lot to get excited about this month – and we’re only scratching the surface.
Keep reading to discover where to put on your list this June.
Restaurant Orme, Urmston
An affordable tasting menu restaurant inspired by the British seasons with a nod to Mancunian charm, this new eatery opened on Urmston’s Church Road at the end of May.
Serving up a 6 course tasting menu, there is the option to add extra courses and wine pairings on top – with some charming British wines on offer that have been hand-selected by the team.
A very welcome addition to Urmston, there’s a focus on seasonality and sustainability – enhancing humble British produce by preserving, pickling and fermenting throughout the year.
Prices start from £45 for the tasting menu, and £50 for the wine pairing.
Ciaooo Loaded Garlic Bread
For lovers of garlic bread, this new restaurant is a dream come true. Brought to Shudehill by the team behind Swan Street’s fluffiest pizza, diners can choose from seven different styles of classic, cheesy and loaded garlic breads – all priced from £5.
Available in 10″ sizes, the offering here is geared towards the lunch rush with opening hours from 12-6pm daily.
Elsewhere, you’ll also find hot slices of Ciaooo’s famous deep-fried lasagne, milkshakes, 10″ pizzettes and more.
Manchester’s original dirty burger spot Almost Famous has officially moved to the suburbs, taking over Cottonopolis’s short-lived Libertine pub and transforming it into one of their signature burger joints.
Open now, on the menu you’ll find it serving up its ever-popular combination of loaded burgers, flaming cocktails and winning fries.
Offering a ‘neighbourhood friendly vibe’ with movie and quiz nights, the new site also boasts its own special burger ‘The Southside ’, which is exclusive to the Withington branch.
The latest offering from the team behind Northern Quarter institue Evelyn’s, new bar Public will open on Stevenson Square this month.
Sandwiched inbetween The Quarter House and the square’s new ice cream parlour, Sweet, it will serve up cocktails designed by the team behind its underground cocktail bar The Daisy alongside plenty of pints for sun-soaked days.
A selection of small bites, noodles and sandos will also be on offer, inspired by the Lower East Side’s late night bars and the bustling energy of NYC’s Chinatown.
Monkey Trio, Circle Square
A new sake and Japanese whiskey bar at Circle Square, Monkey Trio has been hotly anticipated with its opening on the cards for nearly a year now.
This month looks set to finally be the one it opens, serving up offer drinkers a range of different Japanese sake styles, as well as various Japanese-made whiskies and craft matcha beers.
Bar Etna, Altrincham
A new addition to Altrincham’s ever-growing foodie scene, this bistro and deli is already becoming a hit with locals.
There’s a counter bursting with Sicilian meats and cheeses, plus a menu boasting everything from arancini and lasagne to sweet treats like cannoli, pistachio torte and more.
Find everything you want at Bar Etna and more. – ranging from fine wines and limoncello to Italian biscuits, cakes and more
Desert Island Dumplings, Northern Quarter
Desert Island Dumplings has newly opened on the top floor of Affleck’s serving up vegan dumplings with non-traditional settings, surrounded by The Simpson’s memorabilia.
There are a bunch of Simpson’s-themed menu items, ranging from steamed hams to an array of combo boxes inspired by different characters in the show including ‘The Lisa’s Lunch Special’. ‘The Homer’s home Early Mega Box’, ‘The It’s All Coming Up Millhouse Special’ and ‘The moe Syzslak Mystery Mega Box.’
As for drinks, these are limited to soft drinks with favourites like Ribena and Coke available alongside delicious Columbian filter coffee, various teas and mugs of hot chocolate.
This month sees London bakery Gail’s continue its expansion into the north with its second Manchester cafe on King Street.
The new bakery will serve Gail’s artisan sourdough breads, pastries, sandwiches, and cakes alongside its speciality House Blend coffee, which changes four times a year with the seasons.
An outside terrace on the historic shopping street will give fans the option to enjoy a spot of al fresco drinking and dining, whilst a lower floor space offers the chance to host local events and gatherings.
The second site from Sale’s hit Indian Fusion restaurant Roti is opening in Urmston, suggesting that the town is really on its way up with not one but two inclusions in this month’s list.
The team had to close its original Chorlton restaurant at the start of the year, but promised something new would be coming – and now, finally, we know where.
Head down from 12 June to find all of the restaurant’s classic fusion dishes, ranging from Irn Bru negronis to haggis pakoras, burgers and masala fish and chips.
Not new but rather recently reopened under new management, this popular suntrap spot welcomes a new owner and a new chef in the kitchen.
Having poached a chef from nearby Porta, head down this summer to soak up some rays and enjoy some gorgeous views of the water as you tuck into some tasty tapas dishes.
Opened inside the former Doctor Feelgood site by its former manager Aaron Davies, Amp takes over a legendary spot close to Stockport’s historic market with renewed enthusiasm.
With a host of gigs lined up for the summer and plenty of beers on tap, plus a terrace overlooking one of Stockport’s prettiest parts, it’s definitely worth a visit. If you’re really lucky, time it to see the house band – Creme Brulee (yes, really).
This new taco joint will bring the spirit of Mexico City to Manchester when it opens at Kampus this May.
With a menu of mouth-watering tacos, wood-grilled seafood and steaks, fresh oysters and ceviche, not to mention ice-cold margaritas – aka the perfect drink on a hot summer’s day.
Evolving from a lunch spot to a buzzing bar with Mexican party vibes as the sun goes down, expect a destination that celebrates Mexico City’s cuisine, culture and personality in equal measure.
Featured image – The Manc Eats
Inside the underground Manchester noodle bar serving Chinatown’s spiciest scrans
Over in Chinatown, there’s a relatively new little noodle bar that’s been making a big, spicy stamp on the city’s dining scene.
Its owner, Wendy Ren, hails from the Chinese province of Sichuan – a region that’s home to giant pandas, traditional Sichuanese opera, and some of the spiciest food going, thanks to its famous Sichuan pepper.
Also known as the Chinese prickly ash, the citrus-like peppercorn leaves a tingly numbness in the mouth and on the lips that you’ll either love or hate.
It’s an acquired taste, by all accounts – but those who love it can’t get enough. In fact, on my visit during a packed-out Wednesday lunch service, Wendy stopped to chat with an Italian family holidaying in Manchester who had been in to eat three days in a row. Now that’s an endorsement if I ever heard one.
She’s opened the restaurant alongside her Cantonese husband, Ken Chen, but the recipes are all hers – and on our visit she laughs with us about how it has taken him some time to get on board with her spicy food, saying: “he found out pretty quickly that he either eats it or he doesn’t eat at all.”
For big fans of spice, this is fast becoming the absolute go-to spot in Chinatown – and for those who aren’t so tough, don’t worry, because Wendy’s put some things on the menu for you too (and possibly, also, for Ken).
Called Noodle Alley, the restaurant is tucked away underground on Faulkner Street and beautifully decked out in red and green with little nods to the famous wide and narrow alleys of Chengdu.
Formerly home to China City, a real old-school Chinatown legacy restaurant, the space has a special place in Wendy’s heart.
She tells me that she and her husband used to come and eat here “all the time” when they first started dating, so the location really means a lot to both of them.
Chinatown restaurants aren’t exactly known for their glamorous interiors, and China City, Wendy jokes, was one such place – with the same old carpet, and the same old tables that had been used for the past twenty years.
Now the space is her own, though, it’s markedly different – lovingly decked out in cheerful colours, with little green windows, hanging lanterns, and bamboo rattan paneling on the walls.
Her story of getting into the restaurant business is something of an unusual one. Prior to opening Noodle Alley, she tells me, she spent nearly two decades working at The Marriott Hotel.
After seventeen years of service and the birth of her second child, she asked to go part-time but her request was refused – so she quit the very next day, and began building her own route to independence.
It was during the Covid lockdown, she says, that she really got into cooking group meals – making meals for her friends and spending hours in the kitchen busying away happily over her stove.
A friend with several restaurants in Chinatown suggested she start her own business, and the rest – as they say – is history.
Dish-wise, her menu spans a mouthwatering selection of dry noodles, soup noodles, street food, and small plates, including the likes of deep-fried wavy potato chips with chilli and Szechuan pepper and steamed beef strips wrapped with chilli paste, numbing Sichuan pepper, and five-spiced rice powder.
Dan Dan noodles, the Sichuan dish we probably all know the best, don’t feature – they’re a bit old news now, apparently, and Wendy has some cooler alternatives for us to try.
One is her Su Jiao Mian, a mixture of minced pork, sesame sauce, and house chilli oil, the other is the Wan Za Mian, a fiery mixture of spices combined with minced pork, soft yellow peas, and more chilli which Wendy says is “one of the most popular noodles in Sichuan.”
Apparently, if you’re eating with the cool kids in Sichuan, you should order this. Not one to argue, I dig in – and it’s safe to say her food is pretty damn exceptional. Almost immediately, I’m planning my next trip back.
Other signature dishes here include Wendy’s steamed beef strips, which can be eaten alone or dipped into one of her noodle soups, and a dish of ‘saliva chicken’ – a crunchy, cold, textural dish with steamed chicken, fresh chillis and ribbons of cucumber that sit swimming in a bath of homemade Sichuan chilli oil, so named because it literally makes your mouth water.
We also opt for a dish of pork knuckle with butter beans in an umami-rich pork bone broth. Not one for the faint-hearted, even Wendy seemed a little cautious to recommend this one, but as fans of ‘the weird stuff’ we insist – and it really ends up being a highlight of the meal.
We end up needing a little help with it. It’s a slippery bugger and I end up wearing a fair bit of the broth. before she returns with a knife and fork to cut it up properly for us.
That broth it’s in, though, is so beautiful I could happily bathe in it. Some might say I did, to be fair. As for the soft, succulent pork meat? When sliced into tiny morsels and dipped into an extra special Sichuan chilli oil she retrieves from the kitchen, is something else entirely.
If this is Sichuan heaven, then I’ll happily stay here forever. From plump hand-made dumplings stuffed generously with flavourful pork and drenched in chilli oil, to chicken giblet soup noodles, there’s so much on the menu I will be coming back for.
And for those who really can’t handle the spice, I guess I’ll be recommending the scallion oil noodles with soy sauce and crispy egg. No matter what you order here, I don’t think you can go too wrong.
Featured image – The Manc Eats
Manchester Coffee Festival returns to celebrate all things caffeine
The Manchester Coffee Festival, presented by Cup North, will make its grand return to the city later this autumn.
The renowned event celebrates all things caffeine and is a must-visit for anyone in the industry, or just anyone who’s a coffee fanatic.
You can connect with other coffee lovers from around the UK while doing your favourite thing – drinking loads of coffee.
Visitors can work their way around the vast event at the Bowlers Exhibition Centre, where there’ll be everything from a Markets Marketplace for shopping, a tasting room where you can sample loads of different coffees, workshops to have a go at, and talks and panels with industry experts.
As well as that, Manchester Coffee Festival will have live music featuring incredible local artists, and a fun and entertaining LGBTQ+ friendly family program in collaboration with Drag Queen Story Hour UK and The Proud Trust.
Cup North will be hosting the coffee competition, Extracted Development, over the two days of the event. Baristas and roasters from across the UK will be bringing the real life behind-the-bar scene on stage.
Unlike the usual competitions, attendees will be encouraged to interact with the competitors and get to taste their delicious competition coffee at a brew bar setting.
There’ll be more than 60 exhibitors joining Manchester Coffee Festival 2023, each bringing their unique coffee products, artisanal treats, and coffee-related products.
And coffee fiends will find plenty of familiar names about, such as Oatly, La Marzocco, Stores, KeepCup, WaterCare and Brew-It Group.
This year, the festival will be going paper cup-free – attendees are encouraged ‘sip responsibly’ and to bring their own reusable cups.
KeepCup will be on hand with free cups you can borrow for the day too.
This year, the Manchester Coffee Festival will be partnering with Farmers’ Voice Radio as part of its Community Partner Program, which aims to support different charity organisations who share their ambition to make a positive contribution towards specialty coffee communities and the communities local to their events.
Farmers’ Voice Radio has a mission to transform the lives of millions of farmers and rural communities through the power of radio.
It is also working with The Proud Trust to build a more diverse and inclusive event for the local community.
6% of all ticket sales will be evenly donated to both organisations, who will be on site to chat to attendees too.
Festival co-founder Hannah Davies said: “The Manchester Coffee Festival is all about celebrating the vibrant world of specialty coffee and creating a welcoming community, not just for the industry but for all.
“We’re thrilled to be back, bigger and better than ever, with a program that showcases the very best of coffee, sustainability, and accessibility.”
Manchester Coffee Festival will return to Bowlers Exhibition Centre between 18 and 19 November. Tickets are now available to purchase online at manchestercoffeefest.com/tickets.