“If you’re not hungover at least one day of the weekend, you’re a boring person,” jokes Eunji Noh with a joyfully infectious giggle as she takes our order.
It’s early still, but at 5 o’clock on a wet Friday afternoon spent stomping around Chorlton I’m more than ready for a drink and speedily order a pint.
Ok, honestly it’s not my first, but it seems that Eunji and I are on the same page. My date, however, has already had enough. She asks me if it’s ok if she orders a Coke.
When I say yes, of course, Eunji laughs, then explains – saying I’m a good friend, and that all of hers would have flat-out refused to allow her to have a soft drink on a night out.
Considering this place is called The Thirsty Korean, I guess we should have both known what we were getting into.
Straddling the line between bar and restaurant, drinking is, evidenltly, highly encouraged here – but the dishes are also substantial and well-worth coming in for on their own (if you can swerve the peer pressure, that is.)
Eyeing the menu eagerly, and almost instantly deciding that I want all of the kimchi, we opt for a pot on the side as well as one of Eunji’s spicy, thin fermented cabbage pancakes.
Served with a dipping sauce littered with tiny sesame seeds, it’s hot, spicy, crispy, a little sweet, sour, and a little salty at once. Chunky slices of cabbage keep coming to the fore. It’s stunning.
Perfect washed down with a pint of beer, after some enthusiastic slicing and dipping we move onto the main attraction: beef noodles and fried chicken.
The chapaguri noodles are relatively simple to make, famously comprised of two different packets of instant noodles – slightly sweet jjapaghetti and spicy neoguri – then topped with steak and, in Chorlton, a sprinkle of spring onion.
Internaionally renowned thanks to their appearance in the four-time-Oscar-winning South Korean film Parasite, which took home Best Picturem Best International Film and Best Director in 2020, I couldn’t resist opting for a portion despite wondering if they had been a bit overhyped at the time. How wrong I was.
Stir fried in a black bean sauce with hefty chunks of sirloin on top, it’s simple but effective with a mild spice.
As for the KFC? It’s a perfectly crisp and casual end to a rainy afternoon, served with a sweet and sticky chilli dipping sauce on the side.
Quite a few people, prior to my visit said that if you want to eat like a true Korean then this is the place to go.
Its walls are decorated with Korean film posters, post cards and photographs of friends, whilst the furniture has something of a hodge-podge, thrown-together feel about it that merely adds to the bar’s charm.
The real highlight, food (and soju) aside, though, has to be Eunji herself – a bonafide bubble of positivity, with a friendly, jokey way about her that just makes you feel instantly at home.
If there was any doubt about her happy radiance, it was my trip to the ladies that really sealed the deal.
It’s not something you’d usually put in a food review, going to the bathroom, but this has to be mentioned.
The walls, inside, are plastered with inspirational quotes dating back to 2019 and stretching all the way through the pandemic – a difficult time for many eateries, The Thirsy Korean included.
En masse, they are overwhelming, especially after a few drinks, a long day and a belly full of fried chicken, kimchi and noodles.
One, dated to June 2019, reads: “You don’t inspire others by being perfect. You inspire others by how you deal with your imperfections.”
Another says: “Stop trying to make everyone happy. You’re not tequila.”
All signed ‘Your friend EJ”, it’s hard not to feel a bit emotional as we make our departure. Yes, part of that might be the drink, but even on our way out I find myself making plans to come back – just to bask in Eunji’s warmth.
It’s easy to see why Chorltonites rave about this place so much, and after a visit I’m definitely joining their ranks.
Featured image – The Manc Eats
You can now go on a wine tour around Manchester city centre
We’ve had pub crawls, lockdown gin tin walks – and now there’s an organised wine tour you can do around Manchester.
A new series of events, simply titled Manchester Wine Tours, will whisk guests around town sampling some of the city’s very best bars and pubs.
The leisurely three-hour tours will showcase the best places to buy and drink wine around our city, with plenty of plonk to drink on the way round.
Launched by local food and drink writer and WSET-qualified wine expert Kelly Bishop, the Manchester Wine Tours will feature Manchester bars, restaurants, pubs and wine shops specially chosen by Kelly.
She’ll be picking places with an interesting range of bottles, and that are true local favourites.
These ‘posh pub crawls’ will give people the chance to try something new, learn a little about wine, and discover a new favourite boozer.
And Kelly is promising to keep them accessible to everyone from total wine beginners to long-term enthusiasts.
Each tour will cost £75 per person and will include a guided tour around Manchester city centre, six small glasses of wine and a series of wine-matched snacks at four different places.
Along the way, Kelly will also be on hand to point out local points of interest and things you might not already know about the city.
On this wine tasting ‘with legs’, guests will have the opportunity to learn about wine in a relaxed, fun, sociable and informal way.
Kelly Bishop said: “I started Manchester Wine Tours to celebrate the incredible wine offering in Manchester. Manchester is known for great restaurants and bars selling nationally celebrated craft beer and cocktails, but there is a really impressive wine scene here too.
“I’m passionate about wine and am really excited to share my knowledge and enthusiasm with locals and tourists alike.
“I want to show people that although this might be classed as a ‘high-end activity’ with really good quality wine and matching snacks, wine tasting definitely doesn’t have to be snobby or stuffy. I want it to appeal to anyone over 18 who is interested in wine and introduce them to some of my favourite wine spots in Manchester.”
Tours will start in October 2023 with the first events on Sunday 22 and Sunday 29 October (3pm-6pm). From November onwards, tours will be every Wednesday evening (7pm-10pm) and Sunday afternoon (3pm-6pm).
There will also be four special Christmas tours on 10, 13, 17 and 20 December. These are £100pp and will feature extra special wines and festive snacks.
Manchester City’s Matheus Nunes rolls back the years and goes to work at Flat Baker in Ancoats
Manchester City star Matheus Nunes has already impressed many during his short time at the Etihad so far, but he impressed a few more this weekend not with his skills on the pitch but in the kitchen after moonlighting at a popular Manchester bakery, The Flat Baker in Ancoats.
The recent Man City signing might only have the one assist to his name during his time as a Blue thus far, but he’s served up more than a baker’s dozen to local Manc residents thanks to a quick shift as a pastry chef this past weekend.
However, it was by no means his first time in the kitchen, as Nunes revealed that he used to work in a bakery during the earlier days of his footballing career.
Getting put to work on one of The Flat Baker‘s bestsellers, their unbelievably addictive pastel de natas — trust us, they’re utterly sinful these things — the bakery’s owners Débora and her husband, also called Matheus, got the City star back up to speed. You can see the full video here:
That being said, as you can see, the 25-year-old midfielder was a bit of a dab hand after a few goes at it; the fact he not only had prior experience but also shares the same heritage as the bakery’s founders no doubt helped.
Born in Brazil but raised in Portugal — two places where these unmistakable sweet treats are most famous — Nunes explained how he, his mother and English step-father moved to Europe for “a better life” and to help his chances of becoming a footballer.
The former Wolves player went on to explain how he “failed a lot in school” and eventually his mum gave him a choice: “give up football or school, in order to start working”.
Starting out in his godfather’s bakery, he went on to spend a fair bit of time making bread and pastries and even appeared in a similar video back in Portugal after signing for Sporting Lisbon.
Naturally, the trio did eventually touch on football a little bit, with Nunes discussing what it’s like to play under Pep Guardiola and how nice it’s been to arrive at a club where there are plenty of Portuguese-speaking players like Ederson, Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva and others.
Débora also joked about how he has fared getting used to ‘Rainchester’ and he was polite enough to smile it off and simply reiterated that playing for City was oppurtunity he culdn’t pass up.
So, if things don’t work out in the Premier League, he can always swap the sky blue shirt of city for a lovely chef’s apron and help out over at The Flat Baker.