It’s another great week for eating and drinking out in Manchester, with a host of new pop-ups, one-off events and new dishes to be getting stuck into.
Dare we say it – but there seems to be a general feeling of optimism in hospitality right now.
Launch parties are finally being thrown, residencies are being announced, and nature – as the meme goes – is finally healing.
Keep reading to discover our top food and drink picks for the week.
A hidden bar takeover with natty wine and french fries
Natural wine hustlers Vin De Bodega team up with Amsterdam-inspired Fry By this week – taking over the small cocktail bar hidden underneath The Corner Boy, formerly known as Double Down, for a night of top-tier natty wine and loaded fries.
Wines, all handpicked favourites of the Vin De Bodega team, will be available by the glass or the bottle – as well as fries from upstairs, loaded with your choice of over 50 different flavour combinations. There will also be a special portion of fries available on the night to enjoy with a paired wine.
Find them underneath The Corner Boy, Stevenson Square this Thursday 12 August from 5 pm.
“A gift from the pasta Gods” at Sugo
Such is the excitement around Sugo, a single new dish is more than enough to have us shouting from the rooftops.
Described by the team as “a gift from the pasta Gods,’ the new Paccheri all’ Amatriciana is a simple classic based on guanciale (cured pork cheek), pecorino romano cheese, white wine and datterini tomatoes. To be enjoyed with “at least” half a litre ofBarbera on the side, it looks and sounds absolutely divine.
Find Sugo at 46 Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6BF.
A new pop-up restaurant in the KAMPUS bungalow
Fine dining fans, this one is for you.
Tine, the restaurant project by chefs Josh Shanahan and James Lord, is popping up in the KAMPUS bungalow with some gorgeous seasonally-inspired dishes until the end of September starting this Friday.
Calling on experience at Mana, Where The Light Gets In and Manchester House, the pair plan on serving a 5-course set menu of British flavours with their signature umami twist. Find them cooking up a storm on Thursday to Sunday evenings right through to the end of next month.
The lads are also working with Le Social Wine (KAMPUS’s other residents right now) to curate a wine list in tandem with bottles from their own cellar, so expect some really special pairings on the side.
Reservations are live now. Find Tine at KAMPUS, Aytoun St, Manchester M1 3DA from Friday 13 August.
Indian chippy teas from a hidden Chorlton gem
If you’d like to try a chippy tea with a twist, Roti in Chorlton has to be the spot. It opened just before the pandemic so hasn’t been given the shine it should – but we’re here to fix that.
Here you’ll find some great Indian Scottish fusions. Think a ‘chip butty’ roti, filled with curried aloo and chickpeas marinated in an aromatic pickle, or ‘mince and tatties’ Roti spiced pork with house chole potatoes.
That said, it’s the take on fish and chips that’s got us really excited. Made with fresh Panga fried in Roti gram flour batter, it’s then served with fluffy masala potatoes and curried chickpea ‘mushy peas.’ Enjoy with an Irn-Bru cocktail and for the ultimate naughty treat finish with a deep-fried Mars bar.
Find Roti at 559 Barlow Moor Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 8AN.
Focaccia sandwiches from Lazy Tony’s Lasagneria
Not busy enough with two kitchens on the go and the launch of a new packaged meal service in South Manchester, Lazy Tony’s has just added two new focaccia sandwiches to the menu to coincide with the fact that they’re now open for lunch as well as dinner at Radium Street.
This weekend just gone, the Ancoats kitchen premiered two new butties using focaccia from Batard: one with pulled beef, sage mustard, taleggio, rocket and balsamic; another with buttermilk fried chicken, chilli marinara, garlic, mozzarella and parmesan.
They’re currently taking classic requests for this weekend – we see someone’s put ‘lasagne sandwich’ in the comments already, which we’re completely here for.
Find Lazy Tony’s new sandwiches at 23 Radium St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6AY this weekend from midday.
Guardian critic Grace Dent raves about ‘pointedly bonkers’ Manchester restaurant Musu
The food critic Grace Dent has published a rave review of one of Manchester’s new restaurant openings, Musu, bestowing national kudos on the Bridge Street eatery.
Referred to by the Guardian reviewer as ‘very possibly the most expensive restaurant in Manchester’, in a glowing write up she compares it to ‘the Starship Enterprise, albeit one with geishas on the walls and a £110 seven-course menu’.
Already a favourite of Ilkay Gundogan’s notoriously hard-to-please wife (it’s the only eatery she’s praised since famously saying that the Manchester food and drink scene was ‘horrible’), thankfully, Musu has now found a more discerning reviewer to recommend it.
Dent opens by advising ‘all who have already taken terrible umbrage that Musu even exists’ to ‘abandon reading this review here’, before going on to say she, personally, is ‘rather cheered that there are still people north of Watford who have the faith and gumption to open places as pointedly bonkers as this.’
The 55-cover restaurant is described as being ‘as dark in places as Adrian Mole’s bedroom’, with plenty of attention paid to its ‘theatrical’ detailing.
A glass-fronted private dining room that, ‘at the touch of a button, turns frosted’, gets a special mention, as does Musu’s bold ‘Japanese murals, globe lighting and […] nakedly open kitchen’.
But the real praise is reserved for the cooking of chef Michael Shaw, formerly of Gordon Ramsay Inc and Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, hailed as ‘minuscule portions of exquisite pleasure that linger in your mind.’
As she reels through the seven-course tasting menu, praising each dish as she goes, things go from great to excellent.
At one point, after digging into Musu’s sashimi (described as ‘ three of the finest pieces of sashimi imaginable’) she proffers: ‘I felt like handing my badge back there and then – it’s over; I won’t ever taste better’, before moving on to another ‘outstanding’ dish.
If there is a criticism, it’s that upon finishing the seven courses she still finds herself hungry – commenting: ‘Very rarely – in fact, never – do I wish I’d chosen the longer tasting menu, though at £150 plus drinks, that would have been guaranteed to cause a reader revolt.’
This, in turn, leads to some good-natured musing on just who all these people are spending hundreds in ‘mobbed’ Musu on a Friday night, with Dent asking pointedly: ‘Where are they getting their money? None of them seemed to be the type to have Brink’s-Mat gold buried at the bottom of their garden.’
Summarising, she writes: “If you’ve already decided to boycott Musu over the sheer cost, the din and the small portions, I must at this point stress that the food is outstanding.
“Sure, Musu isn’t for everybody, but if someone else is funding your wanton extravagance, then drag them there. It’s unforgettable for many reasons: some of them are hilarious, yes, but mostly they’re just plain good.”
Read more:The best restaurants and bars to open in Manchester in 2022
Feature image – The Manc Eats
Food & Drink
Manchester brewery Squawk is opening a bar in the Northern Quarter
Manchester brewery Squawk is opening a new bar in the Northern Quarter this week, taking over the former Beatnikz taproom site.
Called Pelican, it is the first bricks-and-mortar site for the indie brewery favourite which first launched in Manchester ten years ago.
Until now, the brewery’s humble home has been located in an old railway arch in Ardwick and, for the first few years, it was just owner Ollie and his dog Bernie running the ship.
Over the years, though, it has grown into one of Manchester’s best-loved breweries – with Ollie slowly taking on new recruits along the way.
Now, as of this Friday, fans of Squawk’s locally-brewed beers will be able to head down to Dale Street for a taste of its famous fruity IPAs, light lagers and punchy sours.
The new bar will sit next door to Idle Hands cafe and take over the former home of Beatnikz Republic taproom, which sadly closed its doors in April last year.
With 14 keg and 4 cask lines in total, there’s plenty to tempt craft beer and ale fans with lots of room to host Squawk’s own beers alongside a wide variety of rotating guest selections.
As for those who aren’t into craft beer, there’s more on offer too with a beautifully-curated selection of wine and spirits to choose from as well as a mean hangover-curing Bloody Mary.
The bar will also host live music and a number of fringe events, with DJs spinning beats throughout the opening weekend and going forward.
Punters can also expect film nights, karaoke hosted by Andy Baukham of Wizard King fame, foodie offerings, games nights and Crafternoons for all and sundry to enjoy at Pelican when it opens its doors this Friday 31 March.