Over in Bury, there’s a charming East Lancashire Railway pub that’s just won a huge award for its collection of real ales and ciders.
Called The Trackside, you’ll find it at the heritage railway’s Bury Bolton Street Station serving up a huge selection of special beers and ales from local breweries, like Brightside’s Odin Blonde – brewed just down the road in Radcliffe.
Recently voted the area’s Pub of the Year by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), the award-winning booze is also a former CAMRA Cider Pub of the Year winner -boasting five different ciders, all dispensed from its cellar.
The pub combines some really excellent cask and keg ales with the nostalgia of the East Lancashire Railway, with a whopping 11 different hand pumps all permanently in use – one permanently pours the pub’s house ale, whilst the rest fluctuate with a variety of regularly-changing guests beers.
It also offers canopy seating on the station platform itself for those wanting to make the most of the full train station experience, a spot that’s a veritable sun trap when the Gods are blessing us (and with ample wall heaters that can be switched on the rest of the time).
Inside, arches and alcoves are covered with old beer pump labels, whilst old globe chandeliers hang from the ceiling throwing a warm light across happy punters swigging their pints of local beer.
It’s easy to see why the Rochdale, Oldham and Bury branch of CAMRA named The Trackside its Pub of the Year for 2022.
Voting was carried out by members of the local CAMRA branch, who looked at a number of elements including the selection of real ales and ciders available at the pub, service, welcome, inclusiveness, comfort and community feeling.
Tim Stronach, Supervisor at The Trackside, said: “After the difficult last few years we’ve come back stronger than ever, the entire Trackside team especially Thomas Jackson who runs the cellar. I could be here mentioning names all day over who deserves a shout out – the whole team work incredibly hard to deliver an excellent experience for our customers and it’s an honour to have played a part in the pub being named Bury area Pub of the Year.”
Local CAMRA Chairman, Peter Alexander comments: “I am delighted that this excellent pub has been chosen by a vote of our members. These awards are always closely contested and the exacting standards plus a great choice of real ale and cider have clearly been recognised.
“The whole team at the Trackside is to be congratulated, with a special mention to Tim Stronach for his superb cellar work in ensuring beer and cider is always presented at its best. Congratulations to a very worthy winner.”
ELR Chairman, Mike Kelly, added: “The Trackside at Bury Bolton Street and Buffer Stops at Rawtenstall are an important and integral part of the heritage railway experience. Today we pay tribute to the entire Trackside team past and present, and this award is for them and recognises that they know their beers.”
Tipped for a renovation any day, make sure to get in touch before planning your visit – just in case they’ve started work already.
For information on upcoming events at The Trackside, visit the pub’s Facebook page here.
Food & Drink
Namaste Nepal – West Didsbury favourite reveals new look and even more phenomenal curry
Namaste Nepal, one of the best restaurants in West Didsbury – if not all of south Manchester – has undergone a big refurbishment, with new menu dishes to boot.
The family-run business has become a local institution over the last 15 or so years, famed for its comforting, authentic Nepalese food.
For the first time since it opened, Namaste Nepal has had a full-scale cosmetic transformation to become a modern – but still cosy and welcoming – neighbourhood restaurant.
You’ll now find green suede, gold, and marble, in amongst the Nepalese artefacts on the shelves.
Namaste Nepal is known for its menu of curries and street food which takes influences from India and China.
One of its hero dishes is its handmade Momocha dumplings, which are stuffed with lamb mince and topped with a classic peppery, spicy sauce.
There are platters of mixed shashlik, the meat slow-cooked in the tandoor oven; fiery traditional Chwela; and Kantipur Methi, where Tandoori chicken and minced lamb are mixed together.
Curries range from the mouth-numbingly spicy (looking at you, vegetable naaga) to a crowd-pleasing Makhan Chara (aka butter chicken).
There’s plenty to keep vegetarians well-fed, from saag paneer to aloo gobi.
Namaste Nepal has been spicing up our lives since 2005 and is well and truly standing the test of time.
Habas restaurant in Manchester announces shock closure – with huge closing-down discount
Habas, the Middle Eastern restaurant launched by the team behind El Gato Negro, has announced its shock closure.
The subterranean restaurant will be going out with a bang though, promising one last knees-up with a big discount.
Habas will be doing 25% off its entire food and drink menu this New Year’s Eve so that fans of the eatery can raise a glass to the Manchester restaurant.
They’re also hoping that Mancs will raise a glass to new beginnings, teasing a brand new concept.
Habas is located at Brown Street in Manchester city centre and has been serving up its Middle Eastern menu since 2021.
It comes from Mills Hill Developments Limited, the company also responsible for El Gato Negro and Canto, fronted by celebrated chef Simon Shaw.
Habas has stressed that its closure ‘is not forever’ as it announces details of its New Year’s Eve closing down party.
You can ring in the new year with a selection of mezze dishes, sharing platters and small plates, feasting on chicken tagine and traditional tzatziki, all 25% off on Sunday 31 December.
Drinks, too, like the cranberry elderflower martini, blackberry ginger smash and clementine daquiri will be with 25% off.
Simon Shaw, Chef Parton at Mills Hill Developments Limited, said: “As of January 2024, we have made the decision to close the doors of Habas Bar & Restaurant, however we are thrilled to announce that our Brown Street venue has an exciting new concept on the way.
“Throughout December, Habas, will continue serving up the city’s best middle-eastern cuisine, so make sure you pop in and see us. AND on New Year’s Eve, Habas, will be hosting an unforgettable celebration with 25% off food and drinks. We want to rejoice with all of our customers, with one final hurrah!
“We would like to thank all of our guests and reassure Habas fans that this is not the end of Habas Bar & Restaurant forever, simply a farewell from Brown Street for now.
“We look forward to welcoming you to our new exciting concept in Q1 of 2024.”