A superfan of the iconic Manchester band The Smiths has decided to pay homage to them in one of the most genius ways there is.
By giving a nod to them in the name of his new business venture.
Madchester music fanatic Max Paley has opened up a curry house celebrating his favourite band – named This Charming Naan – with dishes also named after some of their most famous songs, including Girlfriend In A Korma and How Saag Is Now?
The 25-year-old Smiths superfan – who is originally from Oxford – sells 20 dishes with lyric-inspired names from a kitchen he rents inside the Retro Bar music venue on Sackville Street in the heart of Manchester city centre, and the food is even endorsed by band members too, with former The Smiths drummer Mike Joyce naming a dish on the menu – Last Night I Dreamt That Some Bhaji Loved Me.
In what will surely be music to the ears of the meat-free among us – Morrissey included – the new restaurant is completely plant based.
The restaurant opened for takeaway in December of last year, and Max has plans for customers to eventually be able to sit-in and eat among Smiths’ memorabilia with their tunes playing in the background when the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown restrictions are finally lifted.
“We’ve had Johnny Marr’s son message me saying he loves it and will be down when we can open to dine in.
“Johnny is my favourite Smiths member – I’ve seen him live six or seven times.”
“We are inside a music venue which has gigs on, so people will get a real experience when they eat in.”
Max – who previously ran a music venue – had just six months’ experience working in a kitchen before starting the business venture.
He opened March and hoped to run it as a restaurant and a festival van, but both plans were halted due to lockdown, and so as a plan B, he opened as a pop-up stall at the street food hub Hatch in Manchester city centre through the summer, going on to earn rave reviews from customers and deciding to open up again before Christmas.
The two-man operation – Max and his pal Joe, who do all the cooking and take all the orders – has seen orders flood in from music fans in the city.
Max added: “I have been going to music festivals since I was 12 and I’d always had a dream of taking a food truck to festivals. I was thinking of ideas with a friend a few years ago and I had the idea of This Charming Naan and wanted to get a food truck together of that name.
“We opened as a restaurant last March and two days later, lockdown hit so we had to stop.
“I fully intend to go around the festivals in This Charming Van as soon as we can and as soon as festivals can start up again.
“We opened again as a takeaway on December 1 and business has been good, but the reaction has really blown me away.”
He continued: I grow the menu organically whenever I want to update it,”
“I’ve taught myself to cook using the internet and videos.
“I’m a vegan, but I don’t push the vegan aspect of the restaurant to the forefront, it just is what it is. I’d rather people judge the food for what it is.
“We started off with just a few dishes like Girlfriend In A Korma and Madras is Murder.
“As I expanded the menu, I tried to keep it to just Smiths songs, but it’s too hard thinking of them all to fit, but most of them are named after songs from Manchester bands.
“I had to go with a Jimi Hendrix song for a dish called Vindaloo Child.
“Supergrass is included on the menu as a little ode to Oxford, they are one of my favourite bands and they are from my hometown.
“My favourite dish to cook is Heaven Knows I’m Masala Now or Vindaloo Child, because I’m a spice man [and]I like making spicy dishes.”
This Charming Naan is currently delivering across Manchester via Deliveroo and Just Eat, and you can read the full menu via the restaurant’s website here.
Popular London bakery Gail’s to open string of North West cafes next year
Popular craft bakery Gail’s has hinted at plans to open a string of new cafes in the North West next year.
The group, which already has a large number of bakery-cafes in the south of England, has announced it will open its first North West site in Wilmslow in early 2023.
Bosses have also said that ‘further locations in the North West’ will be announced in the new year, adding that all the new bakeries will serve GAIL’s artisan sourdough breads, pastries, sandwiches, and cakes alongside its specialty House Blend coffee.
The news also seems to potentially confirm speculation that the brand is planning a move into Manchester after The Manc shared news of potential plans for a Gail”s opening in the city centre in October.
Having already seen planning documents that suggest the chain is planning to take over the former White Stuff unit on King Street, it now appears that more news on that opening will be coming in 2023 – although it’s hard to say if it will be the first Manchester site to be announced.
The bakery group already has strong ties with Manchester, having run its sister wholesale bakery The Bread Factory in Openshaw since 2017.
Formed in the early 1990s by namesake Gail Mejia, Gail’s began when its eponymous founder decided to bring together the best bakers in London to create bakes for the capitals top chefs and restaurants.
Today, is known more as a customer-facing cafe and bakery whilst The Bread Factory continues the original wholesale legacy – supplying high quality, artisan breads to some of the region’s top local restaurants.
Gail’s first cafe opened on Hampstead High Street in 2005, and now the brand has 79 in neighbourhoods in and around London, Oxford, Brighton and more.
Turning back the clock on industrialised baking practices and moving to bake bread as it used to be baked: by hand, using quality ingredients and time-worn artisanal methods, Gail’s soon established a name for itself and has come a long way since those early days.
Still, the stuff that matters – the ethos, the suppliers, the skill and a handful of tried-and-tested sourdough starter cultures – hasn’t changed.
A champion for sustainability, the bakery also prides itself on minimising food waste by carefully setting aside any leftover food and donating it to a selection of local charities in each eatery’s neighbourhood
A stylish new art deco restaurant and waterside brasserie are coming to Manchester, it has been revealed.
Brought to the city by operators behind brands like Soho House, Isabel Mayfair and Michelin-starred Petersham Nurseries, new opening Maya will be situated within an iconic location of Manchester’s nightlife history: 40 Chorlton Street.
It will take part of the ground and lower floors of the early 20th-century warehouse building, which is also home to the newly opened neighbourhood hotel LEVEN.
Split across three floors, Maya will house numerous areas: from a canal-side brasserie space serving modern-European classics to a lower ground-floor, elegantly designed dining room that will centre around an ingredient-led, locally sourced and seasonal menu.
The kitchen team will be led by Mancunian chef Gabe Lea, who cut his teeth at Michelin-starred establishments like Le Manoir.
The interior backdrop, meanwhile, will merge the original industrial nature of the space with inspired details of art deco grandeur references in beautiful and surprising ways.
Menu development for the new opening is currently underway with Lea commenting: “There is a lot of creativity going into the design and overall concept of the restaurant, and the menu development is no different.
“Our approach will be to champion the beauty and simplicity of exceptional produce and, where we can, we will focus on sourcing seasonal ingredients locally.
“By having more than one dining space, we can run separate menus. The brasserie menu will be about long-standing favourites that we know people will love, alongside more creative and ingredient-led dishes in the dining room that will change regularly and react to what’s seasonal and available.”
Maya is scheduled to open in the spring of 2023, with more details set to be released in the new year. For more information and to be the first to hear about Maya’s launch, visit MayaManchester.com, or follow Maya’s Instagram @maya_mcr.