Manchester’s giant food hall and music venue Escape to Freight Island is switching things up this spring by moving in a host of new food traders.
Dessert shops Choo Choo eclairs and Soft Boi are going, as is Baratxuri’s basque country-inspired grill from the award-winning Ramsbottom restaurant and burger joint Patty Queen.
In their places will come some exciting new additions – such as Carnival, a brand new meaty grill concept from Hawksmoor co-founder Richard Turner; and Lucky Foot, a chargrilled and deep-fried chicken offering from the same team behind popular Liverpool spots Belzan and Madre.
With all the new traders due to all be in place by mid-May at the very latest, the revamped food market will open five days a week from Wednesday to Sunday.
Keep reading to find out who’s moving in – and what to expect from their menus.
Carnival is a new collaboration concept from food writer, butcher and restauranteur Richard Turner, a co-founder of some of the best grill restaurants in the country including Hawksmoor, Pitt Cue Co, Blacklock and Meatopia Festival.
Turner and the team will be taking over the grill of what previously was Baratxuri, following the departure of Rachel Stockley at its Ramsbottom site. The brand said on its departure: “After almost two years we have decided it is the time to move on to explore some new opportunities for our family-run restaurant so watch this space.”
Using the finest produce from a single producer farm, Carnival menu highlights will include fine cuts of premium rib, porterhouse and T-bone steak, as well as pork chop with apple tamarind ketchup, lobster with wild garlic, smoked beef short ribs, crispy fried scampi and potato gratin with anchovy and parmesan.
There will also be a limited ‘Front Row Seat’ chef’s table-style tasting menu available to those who like to see all of the action. Bookings will open later this month.
The team behind Belzan refresh their current counter this month with a brand-new deep-fried and charcoal-grilled chicken offering called Lucky Foot. Serving first-class birds, there’s no need to feel guilty about where your chicken is coming from here.
As for what’s on the menu, think fried chicken burgers, different salted fries (chicken, spicy, seaweed and plain), plus massive chicken tenders and sweet potato chunks – and that’s just for starters. We’ve had a little sneak peek, and already can’t wait to go back.
Known for their outrageously rich (not to mention ginormous) cookies and doughnuts, Manchester bakery Gooey will move into Freight Island as part of a new 2022 dessert offering.
Fans can expect to find specials like hot cookie dough and ice cream here, as part of an exclusive offering for the market, alongside the other tasty products they’ve become so well known for.
Manchester bakehouse Batard will join Gooey this April in catering to Freight diners with a sweet tooth, serving up dessert pies and ice cream to the masses.
Pitching up outside the Plant Room, the bakehouse will have its very own diner in partnership with Wildfarmed, a community-led farming system on a mission to fix soil through regenerative farming co-founded by Andy Cato of Groove Armada.
The one and only Burgerism will take over from Patty Queen at Escape to Freight Island in May, bringing what are widely considered to be the best smashed burgers in town to this corner of Piccadilly.
Fans of the brand can look forward to the famous ‘Cheesed’ burger with two smashed patties, cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion and Burgerism sauce in a brioche bun, alongside the mouthwatering chicken burger.
Feature image – The Manc Eats / Batard / Burgerism
Ancoats restaurant publicly exposes ‘angry influencer’ after spat over free meal
A restaurant in Ancoats has publicly exposed an influencer (twice…) who tried to ask for a free meal in exchange for exposure.
Lucky Ramen, a tiny spot on Blossom Street that has had queues forming for its noodle soups and Asian brunches, has become embroiled in a spat with an unnamed social media star.
It all started yesterday when the restaurant went public with a message it had received, which was requesting a complimentary brunch in exchange for a post on Instagram.
Lucky Ramen shared the message and wrote that they were ‘thrilled you appreciate our food’ but that the team ‘appreciate paying customers even more’.
They described it as ‘another thrilling DM from a blue tick superstar asking for a free feast in exchange for an Insta post’.
Which was already dramatic enough, but the influencer in question has been quite cross that Lucky Ramen in Ancoats has taken a swipe at them publicly.
It appears they’ve followed up with a much less polite message, saying the independent business is ‘bang out of order’ for trying to expose them.
The influencer asked: “So you think people like us don’t deserve to eat for FREE???”
They argued that they were trying to promote the restaurant for free, offering ‘time, labour, effort and positive energy’ in exchange for the free meal as compensation.
The unnamed user then said: “Your arrogance makes me sick. Haha very funny, you got a couple of giggles but we’re the ones that are laughing.
“We go where we want, eat what we want and lastly – it’s all for free! WHOS LAUGHING NOW???”
Of course, Lucky Ramen hasn’t left that message in the DMs either, once again sharing screenshots on its Instagram page.
And they’ve chosen to smack the influencer with pure sarcasm in retaliation…
They wrote: “Dear angry influencer. Okay, aaalright… you got us! We’re truly sorry for attempting to uncover your behind-the-scenes tactics yesterday and, you know, us trying to make a living and sh*t.
“But hold on, the new message we just got deserves more than a standing ovation!
“This follow-up DM is a total game-changer, and guess what? We’re now rolling out the red carpet for all the free meals you desire. And that’s not all – our chefs are ready to part ways with their Crocs and Birkenstocks, throwing them in as an extra bonus for your tender love and labour! Even my dad’s medal of honour from the Japan war is up for grabs – he’s feeling generous the old geezer, and he’s even contemplating wheeling in his new eco-friendly hybrid wheelchair for you!
“Just hit us up with another DM, let us know when you’re swinging by to collect your well-deserved goodies, and don’t forget to leave a glowing 5-star review on both Google and TripAdvisor.
“We appreciate your understanding and, once again, sorry for the “inconvenience” we caused.
“Bon appétit + Arigato-the-f*ck-outta-here.”
Will the influencer reply again? Someone pass the popcorn.
‘Dangerous’ disqualified driver jailed after crashing into funfair in Wigan
A “dangerous” disqualified driver has been handed jail time after crashing into a funfair in Wigan last year.
Jordan O’Reilly, from Platt Bridge in Wigan, has been sentenced after pleading guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, driving without insurance, perverting the course of justice, and failing to provide a specimen.
The 21-year-old was given three years behind bars following a trial at Bolton Crown Court yesterday (29 February).
O’Reilly’s sentencing comes after he crashed his vehicle into a funfair in Wigan while trying to evade a police pursuit back in October 2023.
#JAILED I A disqualified driver who led police on a chase and crashed into a crowded funfair in #Wigan has been jailed for 3 years
After failing to stop for a Greater Manchester Police (GMP) patrol, O’Reilly then drove in excess of the speed limit and overtook a number of vehicles, all before proceeding to abandon his own moving vehicle to escape.
The vehicle O’Reilly abandoned then carried on moving, and shockingly, ended up colliding with two members of the public at the funfair – with one woman sadly left with “serious injuries” as a result.
But thanks to the help of members of the public, O’Reilly was identified as the driver and later arrested by police.
A ‘dangerous’ disqualified driver has been jailed after crashing into funfair in Wigan / Credit: GMP
After he was released on bail, it was established that he had attempted to engage others into assisting him in evading prosecution.
Speaking following O’Reilly’s sentencing this week, PC Wood, of GMP Transport Unit, commented: “O’Reilly’s disregard to his driving disqualification and actions behind the wheel that day were reckless and dangerous, and he put countless people at risk of harm. The injuries caused to the victim show the consequences dangerous driving has on other people.
“GMP would like to thank the members of the public who ensured that O’Reilly faced justice for his actions.”
PC Wood also took a moment to remind the Greater Manchester public that if they know someone who is driving whist dangerously, or while disqualified or unfit to be doing so, then they should report it to GMP.