A new pub has opened up in Altrincham, serving carefully chosen craft beers and wines alongside small plates inspired by Hong Kong’s street food scene.
From numbing morsels of spicy Szechuan pepper chicken kidneys to salted egg yolks with chips and deep-fried crispy prawn toast, whilst we know the whole point of a pub is that you don’t actually have to order any food, if you’re coming here you’d be a fool not to give it a go.
Called Harcourt Pub, inside it feels more like a cool Northern Quarter bar than an old-school boozer per se, with a snazzy green-tiled bar backlit by neons and a mix of seating options: ranging from high bar stools to four-top tables and low-slung leather couches and coffee tables.
A huge floor-to-ceiling window opens out onto the street and, as we tuck into generous helpings of sesame-topped prawn toast and crispy-bottomed dumplings, we feel the intrigued eyes of passersby moving over our sizeable feast.
It’s only been open for three weeks, but the new pub certainly seems to be catching the attention of curious locals already. Having made the 30-minute tram ride down from town, it’s not hard to see why.
Brought to the Trafford market town by married Hong Kongers Priscilla So and Brian Hung, Harcourt draws on its owner’s experience working in the craft beer industry and, as a result, carries a pretty impeccable beer selection.
The pair came to the UK about a year before opening the pub and had both worked in breweries and beer shops before leaving Hong Kong. Once in Manchester, Brian soon got a job as a barrel ageing manager at Cloudwater Brewery and it was here that he reconnected with his now-business partner Kyle Wong.
Hanging around in the brewery taproom one day, he happened to overhear some customers chatting in Cantonese and to his surprise it was Kyle. The pair already knew each other from home, as Brian had frequented a craft beer bottle shop of Kyle’s when still living in Hong Kong.
After a few drinks, they settled on the idea of opening up their own pub – and as they say, the rest is history. Kyle’s wife Fiona Chan oversees the kitchen, making the whole thing a real family affair.
With fourteen different craft beers on tap and two casks to choose from, local Manchester breweries are well represented here with familiar names like Cloudwater, Wander Beyond, Track and Pomona Island sitting alongside the likes of Deya, Wild Beer and Left Handed Giant.
When it comes to their tap list, everything is on rotation except for one lager, the Cloudwater Helles, which Priscilla firmly insists is the best beer of that style they have ever tried.
It’s been a while since we’ve had it, but after she pours us off a quick taster we can’t help but agree. It really is quite special: subtly zesty and herby, pouring a lightly hazy light golden with hints of grass and fruit mixed in. And you’ve always got to have a lager on, you know, for the lads.
Scouring the beer menu, there are some exciting choices including a milk stout from Wild Beer and US Cream Ale from Stubborn Mule. In the end, though, we settle on a fruity rhubarb and raspberry sour from Pomona and Track’s Double Hazy IPA to go with our meal.
Alongside the dumplings, numbing kidneys, and crispy prawn toast, we opt for thinly-sliced spiced beef shin and a soft-boiled egg topped with outrageously delicious pickles. Dessert, meanwhile, comes in the form of Hong Kong-style French toast served with a choice of either condensed milk or Golden syrup.
After some umming and erring, we opt for the syrup – a choice that is quickly validated by the staff, who tell us that’s their favourite, too. Paired with a third of Wander Beyond’s 12% Pastry Stout, we’re in pudding heaven.
A nostalgic favourite of Hong Kongers everywhere, Harcourt’s version featured bite-size cubes of eggy bread filled with peanut butter, topped with cubes of melting butter, and then drizzled in sweet, sickly, syrupy goodness.
It’s only the second time we’ve had it, but we completely get the hype. This is a must-try dish, for sure, and a dish that can typically be found on the menu in any Hong Kong greasy spoon-style cafe.
Now, there’s no denying that we Brits have a special relationship with the pub. In fact, we practically invented it. Having inherited the concept from the Romans, we’ve spent centuries honing it into a fine art.
That said, we certainly don’t have the monopoly on the concept anymore – so if you’re getting bored of Scampi Fries and pints of bitter we strongly recommend you give Harcourt Pub a try. You won’t regret it.
Feature image – The Manc Eats
Food & Drink
Archie’s has installed a bright pink train carriage at its original burger bar
Archie’s has fully reopened the doors of its original diner in Manchester, installing a hot pink train carriage inside.
The beloved burger and shake bar has today unveiled a ‘subway station’ in the basement as part of the Oxford Road site’s £1m transformation.
Diners can now tuck in to their smashed burgers, wings and tater tots from their own train booth.
The bright pink addition to the site has been designed like a New York City subway car, down to the handrails and the train windows with a graffiti-covered wall behind them.
The Archie’s team have even created a fast food-inspired underground map, featuring stops like Milkshake Gardens, St Pancakes, and Scrannington Place.
There’s enough seating inside the train carriage for around 25 diners, plus extra room outside it, where banks of metal train station-style benches are arranged.
The newly-revamped site also has new self-ordering screens at the entrance and a click-and-collect service.
The brand’s original site will be open from 11am (with its new breakfast offering on proud display) until 3am at the weekends.
Archie’s has become famed for its Instagram-friendly pink interiors since its launch in Manchester in 2010.
Features at other sites include giant ball pits and swings, plus masses of neon slogans, mirrors and colourful booths.
It’s lured in more than its fair share of celebs over the years too, with visits from famous faces like Floyd Mayweather, NeYo, Rita Ora, The Game, Kevin Hart and Conor McGregor, many of whom have designed their own milkshakes for the menu (Conor McGregor’s The Mac Life is a mad mix of Wispa Gold, peanut Lion Bar, hazelnut sauce and blue sherbert, if you were wondering).
Archie’s now has diners and burger bars across the country, including five here in Manchester, plus sells its food on Deliveroo.
There’s an apple crumble stall with unlimited custard under the Mancunian Way
A new food stall has opened underneath the Mancunian Way selling pots of apple and rhubarb crumble with unlimited custard.
Called Crumbled, it is one of three new food traders to have moved into Hatch street food village on Oxford Road – joined by Caroline Martin’s new Rio Mex taco joint, and Pakistani and Indian fusion spot Phukt.
Opened by Manchester-born fashion model Chloe Peers, the new crumble stall at Hatch offers two different types of crumbles with some eye-popping toppings including edible glitter, rose petals, Biscoff crumb and huge scoops of ice cream.
Customers can also opt to pay an additional £1 to enjoy unlimited custard refills, something that is well worth it when you find yourself halfway down the pot.
One of the newest additions to the street food lineup at the shipping container village, Crumbled neighbours a mouthwatering new Rio Mex taco joint from Michelin-trained chef Caroline Martins.
Having previously wowed Mancs with her fine-dining Sao Paulo Project menus at Blossom Street Social, not to mention starring in the north west heat of the BBC show Great British Menu, Martins is now also dabbling – eloquently, might we add – in the world of street food.
Inspired by her passion for the food of her home country of Brazil, combined with the time she spent living in Texas, Rio Mex sees one of Manchester’s most exciting chefs reflecting two of her favourite cuisines.
Must-try taco fillings include baja fish with biquinho pepper mayo and lime sour cream, ground pork al pastor with pineapple salsa, a five-hour chilli con carne with beef and black beans, and a melt-in-the-mouth barbacoa with cheddar sauce and house pickles.
Speaking on her new opening at hatch Caroline Martins, owner of RIO-MEX, said: “I fell in love with Hatch back in 2022 when I visited for the first time – the whole vibe was awesome! It’s the home of diversity in Manchester and a place where you can get everything done in one place.
“You can pop in, get your nails done, buy a cool vintage vest, get a cocktail at Miami Ice and have some incredible street food for dinner. And now RIO-MEX is joining; we can’t wait for everyone to try our beautiful Brazilian-Mexican fusion menu.”
You’ll also find butter chicken burgers and loaded masala fries over at newcomer Phukt, which is serving up Pakistani and Indian fusion dishes.
Promising a ‘feast from the East’, think tandoori gyros and biryani burritos, plus chaats, salads, dirty burgers and more.
Feature image – The Manc Eats
Hatch, Manchester’s award-winning food, drink, and retail destination, has welcomed a number of fabulous new traders with a Brazilian-Mexican eatery from one of Manchester’s most acclaimed chefs and there’s also a brand new vintage retailer making a new home for itself within the Hatch community.
Great British Menu’s Caroline Martins, who has worked in some of the world’s most highly-esteemed restaurants and was responsible for Manchester pop-up success story Sao Paulo Project, is bringing her brand new concept RIO-MEX to Hatch. RIO-MEX is a Brazilian-Mexican fusion street food project, and will be serving tacos, loaded nachos, churros and salgadinhos, which translates to ‘savoury nibbles’ and are often served at Brazilian pubs. Menu highlights include the Chilli Con Carne Taco, which takes five hours and the perfect blend of herbs and spices to prepare.
The inspiration for RIO-MEX came from Caroline’s passion for the food of her home country of Brazil, combined with the time she spent living in Texas. Whilst there, Caroline developed a passion for fusion cooking and RIO-MEX was born – a brand new concept for one of Manchester’s most exciting chefs reflecting two of her favourite cuisines.
Caroline Martins, owner of RIO-MEX commented:
“I fell in love with Hatch back in 2022 when I visited for the first time – the whole vibe was awesome! It’s the home of diversity in Manchester and a place where you can get everything done in one place. You can pop in, get your nails done, buy a cool vintage vest, get a cocktail at Miami Ice and have some incredible street food for dinner. And now RIO-MEX is joining; we can’t wait for everyone to try our beautiful Brazilian-Mexican fusion menu.”