The great British countryside – rolling hills, bleating sheep, lush greenery, and… plump little Vietnamese dumplings.
It’s quite a switch-up on the usual post-hike pub lunch, but the picturesque village of Marsden is now home to authentic gem of a restaurant specialising in dimsum.
Since Oi Dumplings opened earlier this summer, it’s been doing a roaring trade, with groups of people queuing up for a perch on their wooden benches.
Some are in hiking gear – the restaurant is right at the edge of the beautiful Marsden Moor, after all – others are dressed up for dumplings, and dumplings only.
The dinky restaurant is operated by Mollie Power and Maisie Davies, out of a cabin jammed into a courtyard beside the river.
I’ve seen bigger kitchens in Toys R Us, but while they might be limited on square footage, they’re definitely not short on talent.
Mountains of dumplings, loaded fries, wonton skins, puffed tofu and bao steadily make their way over to our sunny corner of the courtyard (the entire restaurant is currently al fresco).
Big bully flavours like kimchi, pickled ginger, and crispy shallot are all balanced with impressive precision, for a Sunday lunch experience that will make you forget all about your Yorkshire puddings and gravy.
The stars of the show are the mushroom, kimchi and peanut dumplings, neatly folded into soft wheat wrappers and topped with hibiscus pickles.
A mound of bright yellow Xôi Xéo (Vietnamese sticky rice) come on top of a banana leaf (a nice touch) scattered with peanuts and shallots.
We go right ahead and dump a side of Chinese puffed tofu on there too, all sticky with hoisin and chilli.
Then there are the loaded fries – seemingly a compulsory item on British-pan-Asian menus these days (not that I’m complaining) – which groan under the weight of their rich, sweet and spicy peanut sauce.
For dessert, there’s currently one option only, but it’s a good one – a deep-fried bao wrapped around condensed milk ice cream. You will end up with melted ice cream down your chin and forearms, and you won’t even care.
As for drinks, Oi Dumplings is currently BYO – which means a trip to the Co-Op around the corner for a nice chilled bottle of £7 prosecco will see you right.
If you, like us, are clinging onto the last dregs of summer with the very tips of your fingers, we might have stumbled upon the greatest day out the north of England has to offer.
This one’s well worth a trip across the border. Trust us.
Featured image: The Manc Group
Neighbourhood favourite Sale Foodhall announces shock closure with ‘heavy heart’
Sale Foodhall, one of the first independent businesses to open in the redeveloped Stanley Square, has announced its shock closure.
The Trafford business blended a convenience store, where shoppers could pick up their basic groceries as well as items produced by local suppliers, with a food hall space hosting a rotation of street food operators.
Sale Foodhall is part of the Store Group, which also operates Ancoats General Store, Stretford Food Hall, and Deansgate Square General Store.
The group quickly earned themselves the title of ‘Manchester’s coolest corner shops’ and have been praised for revitalising town centres around the region.
But in a statement shared today, Sale Foodhall said that the ‘unprecedented cost increases’ over the last year have pushed it to closure, with its last day of trading named as 2 April 2023.
The statement wrote that it had been ‘tough to let it go’ and is now focused on ‘keeping our colleagues in jobs’.
Sale Foodhall first opened as a Groceries and Beer site in 2019, before expanding and relaunching as a food hall concept in 2021.
In its statement, the business shared: “Dear all – An update to share regarding our wonderful Sale Foodhall…
“After facing unprecedented cost increases over the last 12 months, we are unable to keep the business moving forward sustainably. Sadly, we have made the decision that Sale Foodhall will close. We will be trading up to and including the 2nd April 2023.
“We share this news with a heavy heart. It is really tough at the moment for hospitality businesses, independent businesses, retailers, makers – everyone really! We know that you, our guests and followers, are feeling it too and we’re sorry that we couldn’t keep serving you in Sale.
“As one of the first independent businesses to arrive in Stanley Square, it’s been wonderful to be a part of the journey of the town so far. We have become so invested – it’s tough to let it go but we have not been able to find a way forward. Rising costs, especially in terms of power, have proved insurmountable for us here in Sale. We take with us warm memories of Groceries & Beer and witnessing the transformation of the mall!
“Our priority is to keep our colleagues in jobs and so we’re focussed on that right now. Our Stretford Foodhall remains open.
“We’d like to thank all the talented traders, makers, creators and everyone else who has been part of our story in Sale. And especially our customers who have welcomed us into the community from day one. Warm thanks to all the team at Stanley Square who have supported our journey since we met in 2019.
“Wishing all our neighbours and fellow businesses the best – Onwards and upwards – to everyone.”
Featured image: Sale Foodhall
Yara, the family-run Syrian and Lebanese restaurant serving Manchester for fifteen years
Take a trip down to the Stockport village of Cheadle and you’ll find a surprising glut of great Middle Eastern eateries nestled on the Cheshire border.
Amongst them sits Yara, a family-run Syrian and Lebanese restaurant that’s been serving Manchester for fifteen years.
First opened in Altrincham in 2008, today it has five sites across Greater Manchester – all serving up traditional Middle Eastern favourites like succulent kebabs, crispy donut-shaped falafels, and fluffy pittas with flavourful homemade dips.
With further restaurants in Whitefield, Chorlton, Cheadle and Alderley Edge, it’s clear that people just can’t get enough – so we made the trip down to see what all the fuss is about.
Suffice it to say, after tasting their sharp and citrussy babaganoush, stuffed vine leaves, and tabbouleh – a super fresh herb and bulgur salad dominated by parsley – we fell head over heels just like the rest.
Yara is a haven for those on the hunt for some finger-licking Middle Eastern goodness, with vegetarian starters like charcoal-grilled halloumi and creamy pots of homemade hummus pooled with rich olive oil sitting alongside crunchy pastry treats.
These include chicken or cheese and spinach bourak (often referred to as Assyrian or Middle Eastern egg rolls), lahembajeen – filo pastry topped with minced lamb, pomegranate sauce, pine kernels and onions – and mossahab, a chicken-stuffed puff pastry with added onion and herbs.
As for the main attraction: the meaty charcoal grill. This, more than anything else, is what we really came down for. At Yara, tender cuts of lamb and chicken come rich with Mediterranean spices and herbs, whilst lamb kebabs come in the shish, shawarma and kafta varieties.