We’ve officially entered ‘fool’s spring’, that time of year when even the briefest glint of sunshine has us optimistic that brighter days are coming.
Admittedly, of late the Manchester weather has been pretty mardy – but there’s plenty of cheery sunshine to be found on the plates at some of these new restaurant and bar openings.
From a globally-inspired seafood pop-up to foraged small plates, chip-stuffed souvlaki and saucy sandwiches taken from the streets of Naples, Manchester’s operators have been busy.
As a result, we’ve got some cracking new openings to shout about this March.
We’ve rounded up some of the best new restaurants to check out this month. Keep reading to discover where to put on your list next.
A new pop-up at Deansgate Square, cocktails and fishy small plates are the order of the day at Pesky.
Think seaweed martinis, prawn and cabbage Japanese okonomiyaki pancakes drizzled in Kewpie mayo, and BBQ squid in fragrant north African Chermoula butter.
Elsewhere, you’ll find ‘drunken oysters’ served with paired shots and a ‘from land’ section mostly comprised of fresh, plant-based dishes that both cut through the greasiness on the fish side and cater to vegans.
Only here for a month, find it opposite the General Store until 27 March.
Owen St, Manchester M15 4YB
Mira (Ancoats General Store)
Mira’s saucy Neapolitan-inspired street food sandwiches have moved down the road, leaving The Crown and Kettle for Ancoats General Store.
The saucy ‘Cuzzetiello’ sandwiches first became a hit with Mancs during lockdown – stuffed with the likes of giant meatballs, slow-cooked beef brisket stew, or juicy aubergine parmigiana.
The team has added some new breakfast sandwiches to the menu for the move.
Made using homemade vegan brioche (a first for them), opt for a Lincolnshire sausage butty with tomato jam or a ‘vegan bacon hashy’ with added cheese sauce.
Read more: Mira’s saucy Neapolitan sandwiches are coming to Ancoats General Store
57 Great Ancoats Street, Manchester M4 5AB
Pong & Puck
A new beer pong and shuffleboard bar, Pong & Puck is opening inside the Great Northern Warehouse this month.
Specialising in beer pong, table tennis and shuffleboard, it comes from the team behind Bar Hutte, which brings Alpine-inspired karaoke huts to the city every Christmas.
Filled with neon signs, graffiti and murals, it will be soundtracked by music from the 80s, 90s and 00s.
Another promising new addition to what might just be Manchester’s most overlooked foodie street, Another Hand opens on Deansgate Mews from 3 March.
Cheffed by Max Yorke, formerly of Hispi and Edinburgh Castle, the new opening sees him join up with Julian PIzer and Danny Foggo of Three Hands Deli to bring the project to life.
Serving a daily changing menu of seasonal small plates, the focus here is all on the quality of ingredients – with operators taking huge pride in sourcing from the very best local producers.
With room for just 24-covers, it will offer an intimate atmosphere and a mostly vegetarian menu with some sustainably sourced meat and fish dishes.
Food will be served with natural wine, craft beer, seasonal cocktails and coffee.
255 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4EN
Band on The Wall
Band on The Wall reopens from 10 March, following an extensive £3.5 million expansion project that has transformed the 200-year-old venue into a ‘bigger and better’ version of its old self.
Expect a larger ground floor venue space, a new ‘grand and ambient’ bar area and a second newly created bar and restaurant space, which will serve a menu of hot and cold food throughout the day.
The second bar space also includes a stage, perfect for smaller gigs. Elsewhere, a whole floor is now dedicated to BOTW’s learning programme with breakout rooms, a state-of-the-art AV suite and a large group space.
A new Polish bakery that’s just opened up inside Stockport’s market this week, selling locally-made breads, sweets and more.
Sweet tooths will find a large variety of breakfast pastries, all made from scratch every morning.
Everything comes hot out of the oven at 7am, with bread choices ranging from sweet Challa to crusty Italian/
There is also an extensive selection of high-end desserts to discover, so make sure to go hungry.
Market Pl, Stockport SK1 1UN
Black Milk NQ
Manchester’s favourite naughty dessert cafe has reopened following a two-month closure with a new look and a new pancake menu.
Not content with celebrating on just one day, the team is stretching Shrove Tuesday out into the whole week, serving up delightful late-night pancake stacks loaded with the likes of blueberry crumble, maple syrup, Kinderella cream and hot fudge from 12-8pm all weekend.
After that, they’ll be launching a new birthday-themed menu from 7 March to celebrate the cafe’s 7th anniversary with plans to introduce more cakes, cookies, gelato and brownies as the weeks go on.
Inside the underground Manchester noodle bar serving Chinatown’s spiciest scrans
Over in Chinatown, there’s a relatively new little noodle bar that’s been making a big, spicy stamp on the city’s dining scene.
Its owner, Wendy Ren, hails from the Chinese province of Sichuan – a region that’s home to giant pandas, traditional Sichuanese opera, and some of the spiciest food going, thanks to its famous Sichuan pepper.
Also known as the Chinese prickly ash, the citrus-like peppercorn leaves a tingly numbness in the mouth and on the lips that you’ll either love or hate.
It’s an acquired taste, by all accounts – but those who love it can’t get enough. In fact, on my visit during a packed-out Wednesday lunch service, Wendy stopped to chat with an Italian family holidaying in Manchester who had been in to eat three days in a row. Now that’s an endorsement if I ever heard one.
She’s opened the restaurant alongside her Cantonese husband, Ken Chen, but the recipes are all hers – and on our visit she laughs with us about how it has taken him some time to get on board with her spicy food, saying: “he found out pretty quickly that he either eats it or he doesn’t eat at all.”
For big fans of spice, this is fast becoming the absolute go-to spot in Chinatown – and for those who aren’t so tough, don’t worry, because Wendy’s put some things on the menu for you too (and possibly, also, for Ken).
Called Noodle Alley, the restaurant is tucked away underground on Faulkner Street and beautifully decked out in red and green with little nods to the famous wide and narrow alleys of Chengdu.
Formerly home to China City, a real old-school Chinatown legacy restaurant, the space has a special place in Wendy’s heart.
She tells me that she and her husband used to come and eat here “all the time” when they first started dating, so the location really means a lot to both of them.
Chinatown restaurants aren’t exactly known for their glamorous interiors, and China City, Wendy jokes, was one such place – with the same old carpet, and the same old tables that had been used for the past twenty years.
Now the space is her own, though, it’s markedly different – lovingly decked out in cheerful colours, with little green windows, hanging lanterns, and bamboo rattan paneling on the walls.
Her story of getting into the restaurant business is something of an unusual one. Prior to opening Noodle Alley, she tells me, she spent nearly two decades working at The Marriott Hotel.
After seventeen years of service and the birth of her second child, she asked to go part-time but her request was refused – so she quit the very next day, and began building her own route to independence.
It was during the Covid lockdown, she says, that she really got into cooking group meals – making meals for her friends and spending hours in the kitchen busying away happily over her stove.
A friend with several restaurants in Chinatown suggested she start her own business, and the rest – as they say – is history.
Dish-wise, her menu spans a mouthwatering selection of dry noodles, soup noodles, street food, and small plates, including the likes of deep-fried wavy potato chips with chilli and Szechuan pepper and steamed beef strips wrapped with chilli paste, numbing Sichuan pepper, and five-spiced rice powder.
Dan Dan noodles, the Sichuan dish we probably all know the best, don’t feature – they’re a bit old news now, apparently, and Wendy has some cooler alternatives for us to try.
One is her Su Jiao Mian, a mixture of minced pork, sesame sauce, and house chilli oil, the other is the Wan Za Mian, a fiery mixture of spices combined with minced pork, soft yellow peas, and more chilli which Wendy says is “one of the most popular noodles in Sichuan.”
Apparently, if you’re eating with the cool kids in Sichuan, you should order this. Not one to argue, I dig in – and it’s safe to say her food is pretty damn exceptional. Almost immediately, I’m planning my next trip back.
Other signature dishes here include Wendy’s steamed beef strips, which can be eaten alone or dipped into one of her noodle soups, and a dish of ‘saliva chicken’ – a crunchy, cold, textural dish with steamed chicken, fresh chillis and ribbons of cucumber that sit swimming in a bath of homemade Sichuan chilli oil, so named because it literally makes your mouth water.
We also opt for a dish of pork knuckle with butter beans in an umami-rich pork bone broth. Not one for the faint-hearted, even Wendy seemed a little cautious to recommend this one, but as fans of ‘the weird stuff’ we insist – and it really ends up being a highlight of the meal.
We end up needing a little help with it. It’s a slippery bugger and I end up wearing a fair bit of the broth. before she returns with a knife and fork to cut it up properly for us.
That broth it’s in, though, is so beautiful I could happily bathe in it. Some might say I did, to be fair. As for the soft, succulent pork meat? When sliced into tiny morsels and dipped into an extra special Sichuan chilli oil she retrieves from the kitchen, is something else entirely.
If this is Sichuan heaven, then I’ll happily stay here forever. From plump hand-made dumplings stuffed generously with flavourful pork and drenched in chilli oil, to chicken giblet soup noodles, there’s so much on the menu I will be coming back for.
And for those who really can’t handle the spice, I guess I’ll be recommending the scallion oil noodles with soy sauce and crispy egg. No matter what you order here, I don’t think you can go too wrong.
Featured image – The Manc Eats
Kellogg’s introduces domestic abuse support policy for its Greater Manchester staff
Kellogg’s has just introduced a new support policy for its Greater Manchester staff who are sadly victims of domestic abuse.
The company‘s pioneering new support policy means any one of its more than 1,360 employees across the UK who are suffering from the impact of domestic abuse will be entitled to an additional 10 days of paid leave.
On top of this, they’ll also be provided with financial help for an initial legal support meeting, and a one-off payment for expenses and costs incurred for setting up a new bank account, or any other activity that provides employees suffering domestic abuse with financial security.
The support package will be available to all Kellogg’s staff in its Manchester HQ, and those working in its two factories in Trafford Park and Wrexham.
This additional support for those impacted by the devastation of domestic abuse also comes on top of the access to a free 24-hour confidential counselling service and flexible working arrangements that Kellogg’s already offers.
A Kellogg’s employee, who wishes to remain anonymous’, has welcomed the new policy after describing their experience with domestic abuse as “completely isolating”.
The decision by Kellogg’s to introduce the new support measures has also been welcomed by charities.
Michelle Hill, who is the chief executive of the charity Talk, Listen, Change, praised the company for creating “a supportive policy” that comes with a number of “key elements” to enable its staff to feel safe and confident in disclosing domestic abuse.
She added: “The new domestic abuse policy not only commits to supporting employees, but also to increasing awareness of domestic abuse through resources.
“We know that the stress and trauma that come with domestic abuse have a profound effect on victim-survivors [and] Kellogg’s has demonstrated, as an organisation, that they are committed to supporting victim-survivors to the best of their ability.”