Since its arrival in Manchester, Michelin-recommended new wave Thai BBQ favourite District has staked its reputation on two things: fantastically surreal, delicious food and an extremely inflexible tasting menu.
Until recently its diners have had two choices, opt for the ten-course tasting menu or spring for the twelve, and whilst everyone I’ve ever known to go has swooned in delight over the whole experience, there’s no denying it hardly makes for a cheap night out (or an easily organised one).
Deposits have always been required up front, and adaptions have famously never been made for a customer’s dislikes, or even religious needs. It’s for this reason, and this reason alone, that until last week I’d never made it over – despite wanting desperately to go.
Simply put, I’d just struggled to find anyone prepared to give up a whole evening (and a shed load of cash) to come with me. Amazing, I know, but thankfully, that’s all now changed.
Last year, the kitchen made headlines after getting embroiled in a ‘religious diet’ row with a Jewish customer who’d taken umbrage with its refund policy.
The whole affair culminated with District posting the entire altercation to its social media pages, alongside a caption stating it ‘will not be bullied or threatened into returning deposits’.
During the row, the customer had asked, “why not shout loud on your homepage ‘We don’t cater for Jews’”. Still, they held firm.
A year on and it seems that external pressures may have caused that iron will to buckle, because for the first time ever the Michelin-acclaimed restaurant has moved to offer dishes individually.
In a complete change of direction, diners can now pop in off the cuff to enjoy a few plates and a couple of drinks. Personally, I think it’s the best news ever, but then I would. It’ll be much easier to get my friends in now.
Suddenly one of the best restaurants in the city has become so much more accessible, and its timing couldn’t be better. After all, we’re all getting poorer, and whilst not everyone has £100 to spend on dinner, everyone deserves a taste of the magic happening in the kitchen here.
Whilst the restaurant maintains that diners can either curate their own District experience or simply pop in for a few dishes, on our visit it is very much a small plate, tapas-style service, with everything appearing on the table in front of us in quick succession.
Translucent stone bass (£9) floats alien-like in its dish with crispy purple yam antennae suspended above a shimmering nam jim, whilst a pinky-purple pigeon satay (£9) is rich and gamey, dressed with sweetcorn, pumpkin seeds and crisped turnip all unfolding on the plate like a flower in bloom.
Every dish here is a surprise, ranging from a beautifully fresh salad of peach, pear, ginger and shrimp floss, to chicken fat rice, which comes showered in a generous helping of crumbed crispy skin.
That rule extends into the desserts too. Homemade ‘tangfastic’ tamarind and chicken fat fudge sweets appear, suspended, on their own white marble platform like some sort of futuristic offering.
Elsewhere, a calamansi curd pavlova with sheeps yoghurt and passion fruit reinvents any preconceived notions I might have had about Thai food – or pavlova for that matter.
As Marina O’Loughiling wrote in her review of District for The Times last year, this is “Thai, but not as we know it”.
Speaking on the change of direction for the restaurant, owner Ben Humphries said: “We are passionate about creating the highest quality experience for our customers.
“Our aim is to capture the essence of Thai flavours whilst maintaining the highest quality produce, suppliers and dishes.
“Changing our service style will give us creative freedom in the kitchen. We can develop dishes that don’t have to fit into a tasting menu format. We will also have the opportunity to offer daily changing special dishes.”
The new menu is available now with bookings being taken under ‘New Wave Thai’ on District’s bookings page here.
Feature image – The Manc Eats
Police search for Moors murder victim Keith Bennett resumes as ‘skull is found’
Police are back searching for Moors Murder victim Keith Bennett after a skull was reportedly found.
12-year-old Keith was snatched by notorious serial killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in 1964.
The pair’s victims were five children, Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans, all aged between 10 and 17 years old at the time of their murder.
The victims were buried on Saddleworth Moor, but Keith’s remains have never been found.
Now a major breakthrough may have come from an author, Russell Edwards, who alerted police to ‘potential human remains in a remote location’.
Specialist GMP officers have now begun initial exploration activity but say it is ‘far too early’ to confirm if human remains have been discovered.
Officers have also updated Keith’s brother Alan Bennett, who was just eight years old when his sibling vanished and who has dedicated much of his life to solving the mystery of the missing body.
MP Force Review Officer Martin Bottomley said: “At around 11.25am on Thursday 29 September 2022, Greater Manchester Police was contacted by the representative of an author who has been researching the murder of Keith Bennett, a victim of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.
“Following direct contact with the author, we were informed that he had discovered what he believes are potential human remains in a remote location on the Moors and he agreed to meet with officers yesterday afternoon to elaborate on his find and direct us to a site of interest.
“The site was assessed late last night and, this morning, specialist officers have begun initial exploration activity. We are in the very early stages of assessing the information which has been brought to our attention but have made the decision to act on it in line with a normal response to a report of this kind.
“It is far too early to be certain whether human remains have been discovered and this is expected to take some time.
“We have always said that GMP would act on any significant information which may lead to the recovery of Keith and reunite him with his family. As such, we have informed his brother of the potential development – he does not wish to be contacted at this time and asks that his privacy is respected.”
A further GMP statement published by the Manchester Evening Newsadded: “We have always said that GMP would act on any significant information which may lead to the recovery of Keith and reunite him with his family.
“Officers met with Mr Edwards yesterday evening (29th September) and he was able to locate a site of interest and provide us with further details of the work he has been carrying out.
“We are at the very early stages of assessing the evidence which he brought to our attention, but have taken the decision to excavate an area of land with a view to determining what lies there.
“It is far too early to be certain whether human remains have been uncovered, but out of respect for Alan Bennett, who we regularly maintain contact with, we have informed him of this potential development.
“Alan does not wish to be disturbed at this time and we would ask that his request for privacy is respected.”
Featured image: GMP
Question Time audience stunned as first-time buyer says mortgage quote DOUBLED
Thursday night’s Question Time audience could be heard audibly gasping after a fellow crowd member revealed that her mortgage quote had doubled followed the recent mini-budget.
Taping in Manchester on 29 September, the current events and politics programme was discussing property when would-be first-time buyer Rabia revealed that her mortgage offer had jumped from an initial amount of 4.5% interest to a shocking 10.5% in just a matter of days.
As you can see in the incredible clip, both the audience and the panel are taken aback at the revelation.
The Greater Manchester resident said she is desperate to know what the government’s plan for mortgages is as following the latest revision, she says she simply cannot afford to put the money down on her first home.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer weighed in on the social media reaction, quote tweeting the clip from his party’s own account and stating that “the Tories must get back to Parliament and reverse their kamikaze budget” as the current economic mess is being “paid for by working people”.
To make matters worse, Rabia was given no clarification from her lenders, only that they were pulling her offers. Conservative MP and Minister for Local Government, Faith and Communities, Paul Scully had little information to offer her either, simply stating it is a short-term effect and that the market will stabilise.
Scully was subject to an entirely different reaction from the audience as well after his blind attempts to defend Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng were met with laughter. Conversely, Richard Bacon was met with applause after he labelled the mini-budget “absurd”.
As if the anti-Tory sentiment wasn’t already at a high, the chancellor’s mini-budget – which saw the corporations, bankers and the generally wealthy benefit ahead of the working class – has seen fresh calls for a general election to be held as soon as possible.
Beyond declaring a so-called £2,500 limit on energy bills (which many have warned isn’t a guaranteed cap), there was seemingly very little in the way of policy that
For those still unclear as to what was announced in the divisive mini-budget, here is a quick summary:
Speaking in a speech at the Labour conference in Liverpool on Tuesday, Starmer said that the government “haven’t just failed to fix the roof, they’ve ripped out the foundations, smashed the windows and now they’ve blown the doors off for good measure.