We visit Bar San Juan on a very wet, very dark Friday afternoon. The rain is pelting down as hurricane Ian makes his presence felt on both sides of the Atlantic, but inside it’s a different story entirely.
This cosy little slice of Spain on Beech Road is as unassuming as it is full of European charm. It’s also something of a local treasure, gradually achieving cult-like status amongst the foodies of South Manchester (and beyond) over the past twelve years.
Since opening in 2010, Bar San Juan had famously never taken reservations. Queues were not uncommon, and the conventional wisdom amongst regulars has always been that you should come for an early lunch or dinner if you don’t like to wait.
It tried to operate a walk-in system where diners join a waiting list and are called 15 minutes ahead of time, but has since succumbed to an online booking system with the added promise that, if you can’t find the time you want, you can always Whatsapp to see if they can squeeze you in.
A testament to its popularity, after the easing of the first lockdown in 2020 owners bought neighbouring pub The Parlour to ‘accommodate social distancing’ – but inside it still feels incredibly snug.
On our visit, every table is full. The tapas bar has just won the Manchester Food and Drink Festival’s Neighbourhood Venue of the Year award, and well deserved it is too. Clearly, it’s well-loved, but until now we’ve never visited – to our shame.
Until the small plates hit our table, we don’t truly appreciate just how much we’ve been missing out.
Out come plump pastry parcels stuffed with pulled lamb on a Tempranillo red wine reduction, truffled quails egg toast liberally spread with sobrassada (chorizo paste), juicy tiger prawns swimming in garlic butter and melt-in-the-mouth beef cheeks topped with crispy leek in a homemade gravy.
We dig in with gusto, oohing and ahhing as even more treats arrive in quick succession: a plate of deep-fried piquillo peppers filled with cod and bechamel and topped with red pepper sauce, followed by discs of chorizo from the northern region of Asturias cooked in white wine until they’re sumptuously soft.
Washed down with a hearty half-pint of sangria and a tall, refreshing Mahou beer, we’ve almost forgotten that the sky is black with rain outside.
For the past hour and a half, perched on a high table next to a heater inside the enclosed terrace, we really felt transported – a feat not easily achieved when you’re soaked through with biting cold Manchester rain.
From the warmth of San Juan’s staff, for whom nothing is too much trouble, to its impeccable dishes, it’s easy to see how this cosy neighbourhood spot is so beloved.
To see the full menu and find out more about Bar San Juan, visit the restaurant’s website here.
Feature image – The Manc Eats
Police appeal for information regarding ‘serious assault’ around Old Trafford before United game in October
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are appealing for fresh information on a “serious assault” committed around the Old Trafford area earlier this year.
GMP issued a press release on Friday, 9 December, asking for members of the public to come forward and share any details they might have on the attack carried along Seymour Grove in Trafford around 1:30pm on 16 October 2022.
They go on to explain that “a man in his 20s was assaulted by a group of unknown males” on the way to the game at Old Trafford, adding that “it is believed that the suspects were also attending the Manchester United vs Newcastle United match.”
It remains unclear whether or not the assailants were travelling fans in town to support the away side but GMP are looking to speak to the men pictured as they may be able to help with enquiries.
As detailed in the statement, “the victim suffered a severely broken jaw, a broken nose, numerous cuts to the face, and damage to the nerves of four teeth which he is likely to need further medical treatment for.” Terrible stuff.
The authorities are continuing to investigate the Seymour Grove assault after having followed up on a number of lines of enquiry since the incident took place and are now asking for the public’s help.
Anyone with information, or anyone who may have footage/images, or can identify the men in the photos, can contact Greater Manchester Police on 101, quoting log number 1589 on 16/10/22; or, alternatively use the Live Chat service HERE.
Alternatively, information can be shared anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Featured Image — Greater Manchester Police/David Dixon (via Geograph)
Football fans call out ‘tone-deaf’ FA TikTok for mocking ‘life-threatening’ head injury
Football fans are calling out the official FA Cup TikTok account for mocking a serious head injury suffered by a Stockport County player earlier this week.
The Hatters beat Charlton Athletic in fine fashion with a 3-1 victory on Wednesday, 7 December, with Will Collar’s hattrick (the club’s first since 2019) sending them through to the next round of the cup.
However, another notable moment from the night was right back Macauley Southam-Hales’ collision with advertising hoarders after a shove from Charlton captain George Dobson.
As the likes of County fan Joel Ward wrote on Twitter, many online were quick to slam the clip for joking about an injury that hospitalised the player, the consensus being that it isn’t a “great look” for the FA.
While many reacting in the comments recognised that Dobson didn’t intend to hurt Southam-Hales by shepherding the ball out of play, the Stockport defender does hit the predominantly metal structure with some force and was left in clear discomfort following the smash.
The video itself has since been removed from the official account following the backlash but people are still reacting as the clip continues to be reshared on social media.
The clip was branded as everything from “disgusting” and “disgraceful” to “simply unbelievable”.
What’s most concerning is that despite the recent push to promote awareness surrounding concussions, brain trauma and even heading the ball – which, historically, haven’t been properly monitored in football – whoever posted the video on behalf of the FA didn’t consider the very serious nature of the incident.
As alluded to above, perhaps what makes the post even more shocking and tone-deaf is that it comes just weeks after Bath City player forward Alex Fletcher was placed in intensive care following an almost identical accident.
The 23-year-old underwent life-saving brain surgery and although he has since been discharged from the hospital, he is said to have a “long road to recovery ahead of him”.
County confirmed that despite being the all-clear pitchside, Southam-Hales was taken to the hospital as a precaution after he suffered significant swelling around the neck area. Nevertheless, as we know all too well, it could have been much worse.
As for the FA, they have now apologised for the inappropriate attempt at humour, confirming that they have removed the video from all official accounts, admitting that “it should never have been published and assuring that they will “review [their] processes to ensure this never happens again.”
You can watch the full highlights from Stockport County vs Charlton Athletic HERE but we’d recommend you watch Alan Shearer reminding everyone who plays football to be more vigilant when it comes to head injuries.