A chef near Greater Manchester has expressed his disbelief after his pub was named one of the best in the UK.
Luke Payne, who is both head chef and co-owner of The Pack Horse in Hayfield, tweeted his delight yesterday after his pub was ranked as one of the country’s finest offerings.
The ‘seasonal, contemporary gastropub’ in Hayfield, which is located near Kinder Scout in the Peak District, has been named as one of the top 50 gastropubs for 2022.
Writing “thank you, thank you, thank you” on his Twitter, the chef tweeted his heartfelt thanks to all of those who had supported the pub during the voting process and helped them make it into the prestigious top 50 list.
“The top 50. Wow. I genuinely didn’t think we would do it,” he wrote, seemingly in disbelief.
The news comes after the pub ‘sneaked’ into the 2021 long list at number 79, following one of the most difficult periods for hospitality in recent history.
Each year, Top 50 Gastropubs list fifty of the best in the country (although we know all too well in the north that there are many, many more than that, being particularly spoilt in this part of the country).
Last year, however, the guide extended its list to 100 in a bid to encourage more diners to get out and spend money in their local venues.
At the time, list Editor Nicholas Robinson told the Morning Advertiser: “What’s great about gastropubs is the diversity of the food they offer. It’s not all fine dining with foams and gels, but a real mix of high-end, refined restaurant quality dishes mixed with pub classics and simple food.”
“But what ties all amazing gastropubs together is the quality of their ingredient, the skill of the chefs behind the dishes and the environment you eat in.”
At The Pack Horse Hayfield, there are several menus on offer: an a la carte, a bar snack menu, and a Sunday roast list.
Regularly changing to fit the seasons, those that appear on the website are sample menus just to give you a flavour for the variety on offer.
With a snacks section offering everything from rock oysters (served raw or Korean-style) to Manchester eggs and Cobble Lane charcuterie; and starters ranging from High Peak lamb kofte to Loch Fyne diver scallops and Cured chalk stream trout, the menu is certainly a varied one.
Elsewhere, impressive-sounding mains listed on the sample a la carte include the likes of local estate venison loin wellington with a pickled walnut duxelles, Swaledale mutton rogan josh, and a wild rabbit and smoked pig’s head pie with its own liquor.
As for pudding, crowd-pleasing favourites include poached pears, vanilla creme brulee with shortbread, salted caramel custard tart, pistachio cream, or Baron Bigod cheese served with a treacle and walnut malt loaf and balsamic onions.
It’s easy – for us at least – to see why the Pack Horse has made it onto the list. We think Luke Payne is just being very modest, which is rather charming actually.
To find out more and book a visit, head to the pub’s website here.
‘Please help’ – plea to save one of Manchester’s oldest theatres as beautiful building falls into disrepair
A fresh appeal and Crowdfunder has been launched to try and save one of Manchester’s oldest and most beautiful theatre buildings.
The Hulme Playhouse Theatre and the Nia Centre are at risk of closing down once again as both the list of repairs and the cost of living rise.
The venue, used now as a community hub and events space operated by NIAMOS, is in ‘desperate need of repair’ and they need to raise £50,000 for the urgent work.
Without it, it’s feared that the ‘cold and leaking’ building could be lost forever and ‘another cultural institution could be turned into flats’.
At present, the historic Grade II-listed building doesn’t have a heating system, and winter has brought new pressures.
NIAMOS, a group of local residents and community volunteers, say they want to ‘honour the important legacy of this renowned venue’.
The beautiful building in Hulme was first opened in 1902 and is one of only two remaining W. H. Broadhead theatres.
At one time, Broadhead owned an empire of theatres, and designed the space to resemble a factory from the outside, hoping to help working class audiences in Manchester feel at home.
In 1956, the BBC took over and turned it into BBC Soundstage North, where The Beatles’ first-ever live radio performance was broadcast from.
Then the legendary Nina Simone opened it theas The Nia Centre in 1991, becoming the first African and Caribbean-led theatre in Europe.
The cultural significance of this building really can’t be overstated, and the NIAMOS team are desperate to save it.
They said in their Crowdfunder: “Our mission is to preserve the heritage of the Nia Centre and Playhouse Theatre, by keeping the building and the Arts it facilitates accessible to all communities, all ages and capabilities.”
NIAMOS’ message continued: “We need help to be able to keep all the incredible projects that happen in the building going and make sure the space stays open as a hub for the Hulme community and beyond! We need to honour the important legacy of this renowned venue, still independent in the heart of Manchester, and not let another cultural institution be turned into flats.
“We want to make sure the building stays open as much as possible over winter and improve the equipment that local and young artists have access to through us, including music production, sound and lighting engineering, arts workshops, film and media production and acting classes.
“The building is in desperate need of repair and a heating system which we currently do not have at all! Alongside all of this, the running costs of the building and the rising cost of living mean we are under pressure this winter.
“We rely on volunteer support to run and host events for our community and our voluntary members have worked extremely hard to keep the building afloat, but our members cannot give as much of their time as we need and with the challenge of a cold and leaking building we are in need of help to save this space from closing down!!
“When the current directorship took over the running of the building they also took on significant debts, this has meant we have been two steps forward and one step back. Despite all the hard work of the people who have been running the space voluntarily we need help over the quieter winter months.
“We need to stay open long enough to apply for further funding bids, including long term support from the Heritage Lottery fund, as we are a grade II listed building. We have an amazing programme of events and projects we want to put on this year that will build on sustaining us financially and provide opportunities for community artists and creatives.
“Keeping this building open and functional is of great importance for Hulme and the surrounding areas communities; we need your help! Developing heating solutions and doing necessary repairs in the building will enable us to stay open during the colder months and help us with our aim of making the building more conscious and sustainable.
Tim Martin is blaming ‘people drinking at home’ for UK Wetherspoons closures
It’s no secret that times are hard for hospitality right now, with pubs and restaurants shutting left, right and centre – but when UK pub giant Wetherspoons starts closing its doors you have to wonder if anyone can survive in this climate.
In September last year, the budget pub chain began listing sites for sale with 32 boozers going up as part of what it described as a “commercial decision”.
Now, it has listed even more – and arch-Brexiteer Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin is apparently blaming people ‘drinking at home’ for the closures.
After the chain suffered a £30 million pound loss, CEO Tim Martin told PA news agency that people ‘have got into the habit of staying in’ ever since Covid and that that was why sales were down on 2019.
He also blamed lockdown restrictions brought in to stop the spread of Covid during the heigh of the pandemic for the pub’s losses,
He said: “The aftermath of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions have been far more difficult than anyone thought.
“That is the picture for the whole pub and restaurant industry. People thought that after lockdown there would be a boom in people suffering from cabin fever but, instead, it has almost become the opposite situation as people have got into the habit of staying in.
“That’s the big thing that means sales are down on 2019. Things are improving now but it’s slow.”
The pub sales are being handled by CBRE and Savills. Toby Hall, senior director at CBRE, said: “The excellent mix of locations in this portfolio is rarely seen in the market.
“With more than half the portfolio located in London and the South East and other strong locations in the South West, Midlands and North we believe the pubs represent an excellent opportunity for existing pub operators and new entrants.”