It all began with the appearance of a mysterious door on Dale Street in 2020.
First materialising at the end of last year, the door – tall, imposing, and a bit too grand for this particularly run-down part of town – quickly prompted questions from locals as to what could be going on behind it.
After all, prior to its emergence, the area had only ever been known as a hang out for rough sleepers and was nearly always littered with drug-taking paraphernalia. How times change.
Neighbouring book shop Chapter One – long-overlooked (unfairly, might we add) as a relic of a Northern Quarter from days gone by – has suddenly become the focus of every hipster in the city as they clamour to find out more about its new ‘secret garden’ opening.
Created by Chapter One in partnership with Manchester real estate developer Buzz Ventures, planning permission for the new drinking and dining spot at Chatsworth Gardens was first granted in August 2019.
Like many planned openings, it’s suffered some delays due to the events of the past year (and a bit). But today the vision, a Victorian-inspired blossoming pocket park, becomes a reality as Mala opens its doors to the public for the very first time.
Filled with ski chalets, cute cable car carriages, upturned beer barrels painted in pastels and plenty of foliage, it’s a peaceful oasis in the midst of the bustling city centre.
There’s plenty of covered seating, with a mass of long tables and picnic benches dotted around the split-level garden. Twinkling fairy lights above will give the garden added ambience once night falls.
Dog friendly and strictly no smoking, the 4,000 sq. ft plot is all about the drinks right now – but has plans to introduce food offerings provided by local restaurants in the near future.
Drinks on offer seem to focus quite heavily on cocktails, with a decent spritz menu catching our eye and sounding perfectly refreshing for a long, hot summer.
Of course, there are also some classic staples on there- think Pornstar Martinis and watermelon mojitos.
There’s a decent selection of pints, too, with Camden Town beers and Paulaner pilsner both served on draught.
There’s no need to book, in fact, you can’t – it’s strictly walk-ins only. A good one to remember this weekend if you can’t get in anywhere else, considering Mala still seems to be slightly off the radar for now.
We don’t expect that will last very long, though, so don’t hang about.
Government refuses to deny reports HS2 may not run from Manchester to central London
The UK government is refusing to deny recent reports that HS2 may not run from Manchester directly through to central London.
The Sun reported this week that HS2 is currently in “shambles” and that rising inflation and construction costs could mean that trains may terminate in the suburbs of west London instead of London Euston, as has always been planned – with the paper saying transport bosses were considering pushing back the service’s Euston terminus to 2038, or even scrapping it all together.
The paper reported that trains would be instead stopping at a new hub at Old Oak Common in west London’s suburbs, which is about 8km (five miles) away from Euston.
Passengers would then have to finish their journeys into central London by using the Elizabeth Line.
On top of all of this, the paper also reported that anywhere between a two to five-year delay to the entire project is also being considered by the government, however ministers are refusing to confirm or deny any of the reports.
A statement provided by a Department for Transport (DfT) spokesperson reads: “The Government remains committed to delivering HS2 to Manchester, as confirmed in the autumn statement, and as well as supporting tens of thousands of jobs, the project will connect regions across the UK, improve capacity on our railways and provide a greener option of travel.”
HS2, which has the full name High Speed 2, was originally intended to connect London with Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds.
The leg to Leeds has since been scrapped in November 2021, but work on the first phase of the project between London and Birmingham is now well under way, with a part of the line due to open by 2033, despite the fact the project has faced delays and mounting concerns over the exact route, and its potential environmental impact.
While a budget of £55.7 billion for the whole of HS2 was set in 2015, this was made before the Leeds leg was cancelled, and the estimated cost of HS2 was therefore set between £72 billion and £98 billion at 2019 prices.
A report published last October found it was unlikely that the £40.3 billion target for the first section of the line would be met.
A senior figure at the DfT warned last week that ” tough decisions” could lie ahead for the scheme.
Featured Image – HS2 (via gov.uk)
This hidden Manchester pasta and dumplings restaurant has just made the Michelin Guide
Michelin has just added some new additions to its guide, and one of our favourite Manchester restaurants has finally made the cut.
Loved by locals for its continental pasta and dumplings, gorgeous European wine list and sake collection, The Sparrows in the Green Quarter is something of a hidden gem – tucked in a disused railway arch on Red Bank.
It received rave reviews from local and national critics alike when it first opened in 2019 in a tiny space with room for just 12 covers. Since then, it’s relocated to a bigger home and its following has grown significantly.
After spending years wowing foodies in the know, the restaurant has made it onto the radar of Michelin’s inspectors at last – and we have to say, the accolade is well deserved indeed.
Front of house is headed up by Polish-born Kasia Hitchcock with her chef partner Franco Concli at the helm in the kitchen. Plates celebrate Franco’s Tyrolean heritage, with their signature dish spätzle, a rustic fresh egg pasta from which the restaurant takes its name, sitting front and centre.
Traditionally made by scraping dough from the wooden board straight into a pot of boiling water, these irregular-shaped delights translate from Swabian-German to mean “little sparrows.”
Served in multiples ways, they can be enjoyed either savoury or sweet – mixed with braised onions into a creamy gruyere and Emmental cheese sauce, as is traditional, or transformed into a pudding with a touch of cinnamon, brown sugar and butter.
Joining the now seventeen Manchester restaurants to be featured in the prestigious guide, its description reads as follows: “Nestled under the railway arches in Manchester’s Green Quarter is a restaurant whose name is (almost) the English translation of the word ‘spätzle’ – which gives some clue as to the style of food on offer here.
“The dumplings and assorted pasta dishes are all made in-house and include excellent pierogi. The focus on Eastern Europe carries through to the wine list, which has a leaning towards Polish wines.”