There’s no question that one of the things we’ve missed most during lockdown is dining out.
Sitting in my favourite restaurants with friends whilst eating, drinking and putting the world to rights – surrounded by the gentle hustle and bustle of others doing the exact same thing – is something I cannot wait to do again (not to mention the utter joy at the thought of having someone do the washing up).
However, right at the very beginning ‘of all this’, our hospitality friends were dealt a huge blow and were left with no option other than to innovate at the speed of knots or close altogether. There were a few places that reacted in a flash and began to launch ‘At Home Kits’.
Pretty much straight off the starting line were the guys over at Six By Nico.
The Spring Gardens restaurant is still a relatively new addition to Manchester – having found success in Edinburgh and Glasgow with their rotating six-course tasting menus.
Six By Nico went down an absolute storm from the minute it opened just off King Street and quickly amassed a fiercely loyal customer base, so when the venue launched the ‘Home by Nico’ concept – it was no surprise it sold out immediately.
I remember ordering the Mexican menu right at the start of lockdown and it was like trying to get festival tickets; poised with both phones and a laptop hoping we’d get through and secure a slot (which we did and it was delicious).
As the lockdown has dragged on, Six By Nico have fine-tuned their offering and launched Home-X – which is described as a ‘mission to deliver you food, drink and lifestyle experiences that can be brought to life and enjoyed, in the comfort of your own home.’
The offering includes The Cheese Club, Green Haus and Chateau-X – and I’ve been lucky enough to try their Surf and Turf Chateau-X April edition a little early.
It’s no exaggeration to say this was something really special.
Each part of the meal was already prepared and it was just a case of cooking it. The recipe/instructions were super easy to follow and before we knew it – we were sat down with the most perfectly cooked Chateaubriand, topped with juicy king prawns, beef fat carrots, the most divine nduja spiced new season potatoes, and a fantastically velvety Cote du Rhone.
There was something genuinely different about this to other ‘At Home’ kits I’ve tried before. It felt like the real deal – as if we were having a real restaurant experience at home (so, the guys over at Six by Nico have really nailed it there!).
The absolute knock out though, was the dessert. The Chocolate and Orange fondant was just sheer indulgence and everything you’d want from a sweet treat: Oozy, gloriously silky and just bloody delicious.
I would highly recommend you treating yourself to a Home-X when you can. It’s ridiculously good value and gives you just a glimmer of ‘normal-ness’ in an otherwise strange time.
Yes, things are slowly going back to normal. But luxury home delivery like this will surely continue beyond lockdown. I, for one, could definitely see this being the perfect dinner solution when you just want to stay in.
Check out all the kits available through the Home-X website here.
Sir David Jason set for TV return in Only Fools and Horses documentary Christmas special
In a surprise bit of festive news, the only and only Sir David Jason is returning for an Only Fools and Horses Christmas special this December. Lovely jubbly!
The best-loved and most-watched British comedy of all time will be back on our screens in documentary form this festive season, with Del Boy himself David Jason revisiting the iconic comedy character after 20 years he last played him on screen.
While the legendary sitcom was broadcast on BBC back in the day, the highly-anticipated Only Fools doc will be airing on Channel 5 right before Christmas as a special one-off programme.
Looking back on the show’s incredible run on UK screens over seven series and the several ‘Christmas Cracker’ specials, specifically, the latest Only Fools and Horses documentary will see Jason and a number of other guests appearing to chat about the legendary show.
While it’s still unclear how many of the original cast will be appearing, Jason’s on-screen wife Tessa Peake-Jones (Raquel) is confirmed to be appearing along with other special guests including newscaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Bendiorm‘s Sherrie Hewson.
Sadly, a full theatrical reunion just isn’t on the cards following the deaths of Roger Lloyd Pack (Trigger), Kenneth MacDonald (Mike the Landlord) and Buster Merryfield (Uncle Albert) in the 30 years since the show ended its run.
Only Fools writer John Sullivan also sadly passed away aged 64 in 2011 and fellow co-star Nicholas Lyndhurst, a.k.a. Rodney Trotter, told Metro: “We can’t. John is no longer with us. John was the driving force of the show and we have also lost quite a few cast members now.
“I don’t think I could do it without them and I certainly couldn’t do it without John. At the risk of depressing everyone, I think the last two times I’ve seen David has been at funerals.”
Simply entitled, ‘The Story Of Only Fools And Horses At Christmas’, the 90-minute special is yet to have its broadcast date fully confirmed but you best keep your eyes peeled on the TV guide — we’ll let you know as soon we do.
Jason, 81, has only just recovered from hip surgery earlier this year, so it’ll be nice to see his familiar grin back on our screens.
Right, we’re off to binge a whole series on UK Gold.
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.”