All The January Dining Offers You Need To Know About In Manchester

Feels good to get that first week of January out of the way, doesn’t it? You’ve finally stopped eating meat, cheese, Baileys soaked cornflakes for breakfast and entire selection boxes in one sitting. That weird sweating/wheezing combo that follows you everywhere throughout the last week of December has disappeared and now all that’s left is to navigate the remaining three weeks of the year’s shittest month with the roughly £7.48 residing in your bank account until payday.

Which is where this big fucking list of money saving dining offers comes in handy.

January is bleak at the best of times, let alone when it’s crusading towards us with a boatload of Omicron and hapless government indecision. The Baltic, wheelie bin disrupting winds and jean dampening downpours feel a lot less fucking charming when they are a few days removed from the tinsel and turkey. Instead they merely serve as an ear numbing slap across the chops as you leg it from another joyless, muscle manipulating torture session at the gym you will abandon about a fortnight into February, to the tram heaving with similarly melancholy commuters, all yearning for the fast forward button to propel them to a Spring bank holiday weekend.

Yet there is reason to be cheerful. Actually, there’s a few dozen.

Restaurants and bars across Manchester, reeling from a barren second half of December, are doing their best to entice you away from whatever overhyped series you’re planning on dedicating your life to for the next month and instead want to maintain a perpetual pang of positivity among the general public by keeping them sat across tables from each other, rather than on settees, resentfully picking at a plate of steamed fish and cauliflower rice with an episode of The Tourist.

But who’s offering what? What sort of percentages are we talking here? What days are these discounts valid and is there any small print attached?

Let’s run you through it, shall we?

First up, how does 50% off food at Refuge sound? Because between Monday and Wednesday until the end of the month, you and up to five mates can gorge on all the Voltini your expanded post-Christmas waistlines can handle. Book in advance and dine from the all day menu and you’re all set for a mammoth midweek for the ages. That pork chop with chimichurri and grilled pineapple never looked so appetising. Not to mention the slow cooked ox cheek with mole and crispy onions.

For just £25 per person, Cottonopolis are weaving their way into our hearts with a SEVEN COURSE ‘Taste of Cotton’ set menu. Available all day from Monday to Thursday and from 4pm on Sunday, this banquet of baos, sushi, robata grilled goods and more not only adorns your plates with everything from tiger prawn and water chestnut gyoza to crispy tofu and teriyaki mushroom baos and beyond, but also comes with a free drink to wash your joyful Japanese journey down with.

Yeah, just gonna take the lot, ta”. Image: Cottonopolis

On the outskirts of the Northern Quarter, Ramona are seeing 2022 in with ‘Marguary’ between 5-7pm from Wednesday to Friday every week. Margaritas will only set you back a fiver, while their cheesier, saucier, differently spelled namesake Margheritas are just a quid a slice. Thicc slices at Poundland prices. Happy fucking New Year.

Should you prefer your slices inspired by the East Coast of America rather than the Midwest, however, then Nell’s has your hook up. At both of their city centre sites (Common and Kampus) and Chorlton outpost The Beagle, the New York slice lords are giving you 50% off their entire muddafuckin’ menu, as long as you dine in and book in advance. In short, that means a 14 inch pie could be your’s for less than a fiver (Marinara), while 22 inches of saucy dough will see you nab a quid back from a tenner in some cases. Put those quids towards a half off ice cream sandwich for £2.50 or maybe a few 75p dip pots for those spare crusts. Bing Bong.

Your’s for a fiver. Image: Nell’s Pizza

The half price deals are not restricted to Nell’s though, with Ducie Street Warehouse showcasing their new all vegan offering, masterfully curated by head chef Andrew Green, at 50% off from Monday to Thursday until the end of the month. Think crispy peanut cauliflower, sweet potato fritters, mafalde pasta ribbons and vegan laksa. Oh and celeriac shawarma. Do not forget the celeriac shawarma. Or I will fucking fight you. Or just be really disappointed in you. Either way, don’t forget it.

Blues Kitchen are also getting in on the 50% off game, with their supper menu only setting you back half as much as it usually would from Sunday to Thursday until the 31st. But if you’re craving a big, mucky burrito over baby back ribs, then you can nip over to Luck, Lust, Liquor and Burn all day Sunday to Thursday and from 5pm on Friday for half price tortilla wrapped decadence.

If half price food in wraps is your bag, then Bab are also knocking 50% off all their kebabs between Monday and Wednesday. More of a bun fan? Almost Famous’ burgers share the same discount all day between Sunday and Thursday then from 5pm on Friday. Although for those of you who operate on the plant based end of the spectrum, or who are simply giving Veganuary a right royal go, the tremendous Black Leaf are knocking half off their entire menu throughout this month and, as if that wasn’t enough, they’re also keeping the deal rolling through the first fortnight of February.

Plant based perfection under moody lights. Prime winter tackle whether you’re vegan or not. Image: Black Leaf

And it’s not just within the confines of the city centre where these BOGOF bounties are to be found (not sure why I suddenly started typing like a pirate there) with Chorlton institution The Lead Station firing off half your bill as long as you make a booking between 4.30-7pm from Monday to Friday.

Sticking with pub grub, Bay Horse Tavern have chopped the big 0.5 off their food bills for the month, which guarantees you plenty of heartwarming comfort as the temperatures hover around freezing for the entirety of January.

Down Deansgate way, BOX and Manahatta are also halving scran bills all day, every day with Corn Exchange stalwart Banyan doing likewise every day apart from Saturday, with Sunday roasts also being included in their offering, which is obviously brilliant.

Small plate connoisseurs will buzz off the El Gato Negro, Canto and Habas hat-trick of 3-for-£15, which is being offered up all day Sunday-Thursday for the entire month.

Circling back to delectable discs of dough, Crazy Pedro’s 16 inch creations are all a tenner for the length of this 31 day winter hellscape, which you could then wash down with a few £6 cocktails at Mecanica, who have introduced a menu of 22 concoctions to see in 2022. Or you could head to Moxy between 5-8pm on any weekday for their special 5.01 menu, serving up cocktails for a fiver until the 31st.

Ever so slightly below the 50% threshold are Salvi’s, who have a 40% off food deal at their NQ space and mozzarella bar between Sunday and Thursday. Cutting Room Square session spot The Jane Eyre, where so many hours can be so easily lost among their cocktail menu, is cutting a quarter off all total bills from Monday to Thursday every week of January to make the new year that little bit happier. As you might expect, booking ahead is advised at both establishments.

This and the entire cocktail menu, pls. Image: The Jane Eyre

For those of you who are perhaps feeling a tad more extravagant, especially those of you who saw Omicron decimate your Decembers, Wood has rolled out it’s Tasting For Two deal for the entire month after a wildly popular first few days. The seven course lunch menu is a twofer every Friday and Saturday (excluding Saturday lunch), while the nine course dinner version is on offer Wednesday – Friday.

Oh, and if you fancy just being given a tenner to spend, no strings attached, just download the Turtle Bay app and you’ll automatically be given £10 to spend, no questions asked. Just saunter in, spend and strut straight back out again if you wish. Or just belly up to the bar for a long session of Red Stripes and Rum & Tings. Whatever you want.

Obviously, there are far more discounts being delivered all across the city this month that are not listed above, but we believe these 25 are a pretty substantial jumping off point. Head out and help hospitality see in a much better new year than the old one we just left.

Freight Island, revisited: Manchester’s most ambitious venue thrives post restrictions

When Freight Island opened at the end of July 2020, it felt like it was the beginning of the end of life under lockdown. Pubs and restaurants had just been allowed to reopen, the Eat Out to Help Out scheme was on the horizon and things were feeling a bit more normal again.

As we know, things didn’t exactly pan out that way, but Freight Island has been the venue that has lead the way of coping under the pressures of enforced closures and restrictions.

An article published in The Business Desk last week wrote that Freight Island “has been a huge Manchester success story and is set to become one of the most visited destination tourism locations in the UK. It is expected that with an estimated footfall figure of around 10,000 visitors per week there will be over £2.4m spent within the local economy.”

Belza Pasta in Freight Island

So after taking a huge hit over the course of the last 18 months, the entertainment industry and specifically venues like Freight Island are actually helping Manchester get back on its feet.

Since the complete easing of restrictions in July, Freight Island has hosted parties, gigs and other performances and it still remains one of the most exciting places to eat and drink in Manchester with 10 food vendors and six bars.

We headed back to Freight Island to see how it’s thriving post Covid restrictions and speak to some of the food traders to see what they’ve got going on.

Slow braised ox cheek ragu

Our first stop is Belzan Pasta who joined Freight Island in November with the opening of the Ticket Hall. Serving Italian inspired dishes made with British ingredients, Belzan already had a popular bistro on Smithdown Road in Liverpool which has won many awards for its seasonal British dishes.

Bringing that same seasonal approach and an emphasis on top quality ingredients, the Belzan team decided they wanted to do something different in Manchester, hence the Italian menu.

Head chef Jess Fenlon tells me that they like to take underutilised products, such as ox cheeks, and big them up, to make dishes like their slow braised ox cheek ragu. The menu changes each season; however, dishes on that menu can change week to week and day to day, depending on what’s available and what is best in stock at that particular moment.

Panzanella from Belzan

Currently, the new menu features a Panzanella, a chopped Tuscan salad which at Belzan is made using chunks of toasted bread and British tomatoes mixed with red onions, black olives, basil and a good glug of olive oil and vinegar.

Another classic favourite, Cacio e Pepe pasta, is a simple dish made with tagolini (thin ribbons of pasta, somewhere in between spaghetti and tagliatelle) in an emulsified sauce flavoured with garlic, pepper and pecorino cheese. “All the staff ask for it,” says Jess.

Jess also tells me how much she loves the up tempo atmosphere at Freight Island and the spectacular events that they put on. After a shift recently, she says how she got to sing along to a live orchestra playing Prince and Elton John. There aren’t many other venues where you could imagine the same happening.

Belzan is open Wednesday to Sunday at the moment but they are looking at expanding to daily, especially in the lead up to Christmas.

Madre tacos

Another Liverpudlian export, Madre Tacos has been part of Freight Island since the start. Madre is a collaboration between the owners of Belzan and London-based taqueria Breddos Tacos. With a menu inspired by the flavours of Mexico City, Madre make everything in house – the tortillas, salsas, marinades and more.

Madre’s head chef and General Manager, Matthew Burke, tells us that since the Ticket Hall opened, it’s been non stop for the team. Initially, Madre was working in a small space in Platform 15, working off a couple of barbecues, but since moving inside, they’ve been able to expand their menu which includes tacos like deep fried pollo asado, tempura cod with jalapeno aioli and salsa mexicana, and slow cooked short rib birria.

Other highlights include cadillac nachos with jalapeño queso, garlic crema, black beans, radish, spring onions, guacamole and all the salsa and a fresh tuna tostada made with sashimi-grade tuna loin.

Cadillac Nachos

Matthew tells us his favourite taco is the classic Al Pastor which has a mix of three different cuts of Iberico pork marinated in achiote, smoky guajillo and fruity ancho and spicy arbol chillies, orange juice and epazote (Mexican oregano).

Following their success at Freight, Madre is now looking to open another venue in Manchester which will serve a more complex menu and high-end experience, similar to their original restaurant in Liverpool, serving dishes like oven roasted pig’s head and the popular chicken and sweetcorn soup. Manchester is desperately in need of more great Mexican food, so I for one am very looking forward to seeing what they have planned.

Moving on to Baratxuri, where everything at their Freight Island restaurant is centred around fire – from the dishes on their Basque menu to their seats which sit huddled around their huge wood-fired grill.

The wood-fired open grill at Baraxturi

You can order food from Baraxturi to wherever you like in Freight Island, but for the real experience, I’d recommend booking one of these seats right by the fire, where you can watch as the chefs expertly their ‘asado’ dishes (meaning from the fire) like beef short rib, whole turbot and Iberico pork collar on the open grill and wood-fired clay oven.

Also on their menu are small plates like a range of Spanish charcuterie, Cumbrian oysters with beef fat and cep mushroom, seafood dishes like salt cod ‘kroketas’, fire-roasted Patagonian red prawns and pulpo (octopus) a la gallega.

Steak cooked over the open grill from Baratxuri

There’s also fresh vegetable dishes like grilled broccoli with Romesco sauce, cauliflower bravas and a heritage tomato salad with Pedro Ximenez sherry vinegar. For dessert, there’s Burnt Basque Cheescake and Orange and Almond Torta.

It’s the inclusion of places like Baratxuri and others that truly make Freight Island different to the street food led offerings of similar venues. This is a proper, high-end menu, served in a place that is welcoming to all.

Finally on our tour, we visited Mi and Pho, who make fresh, vibrant and traditional Vietnamese dishes. It’s a slightly different menu to their Northenden restaurant, tweaked to suit the needs and fast-paced service of Freight.

Photo by Jack Kirwin -JK Photography-

I have to say, when I first heard that Mi and Pho were going to be coming to Freight Island, I was excited. Like with Baratxuri, Freight Island provides a more convenient opportunity to try food from these acclaimed restaurants for people who don’t live near the original restaurants in Ramsbottom and Northenden.

Mi and Pho also joined Freight Island with the opening of the Ticket Hall and has really hit the ground the running. Everything is made in house and it’s been so busy for the team that alongside the team of chefs working in the open kitchen in the Ticket Hall, there is also a team out back in the prep kitchen constantly chopping, marinating and making the stock.

There is also a dedicated team to run the food to customers and go to the market for fresh produce, alongside using larger stores like Wing Yip.

Bahn Mi from Mi and Pho

The impressive menu includes a classic Pho, summer rolls, creamy coconut curry, Vietnamese-style barbecued meats, fresh fish and seafood, and vibrant papaya salads. They are also now offering Bahn Mi – a crusty baguette filled with grilled meats, fish or tofu.

The meats for their Bahn Mi are cooked on a wood-fired grill in a separate outdoor kitchen in the seating area in Platform 15. The char sui pork is cooked sous vide for 12 hours before being thrown onto the grill at the last second before serving.

As executive chef Justin Chung tells me, there’s nowhere to hide with Vietnamese food. The menu changes seasonally and they’re always on the look out for new dishes. Also open five days a week currently, they are thinking about moving to seven days a week from November.

Burgers from Patty Queen

Alongside these four traders, there’s also New York style pizza from Voodoo Rays, eclairs from Choo Choo, soft serve ice creams from Soft Boi and vegan burgers, shawarma and more from Plant Grill.

There are drinks from the newly-arrived Pomona Island bar, alongside Ancoats cocktail bar the Jayne Eyre, and Forever Changes wine bar and bistro, as well as Camden Town Brewery, Koppaberg and the main Freight bar.

Pomona Island bar

Each time you look, Freight Island has grown. A new trader here, a new area to hang out there. It’s a truly pioneering venue where you’d feel as comfortable coming for a few casual pints or a gig, as you would a sit-down high-end meal.

And, by visiting places like this, you’re not only supporting the venue, you’re supporting the small businesses that make it up, and you’re also helping the entertainment industry to rebound following a really challenging time.

To check out what’s on at Freight Island and book a table, visit: escapetofreightisland.com.

The Manchester Food and Drink Festival kicks off this week – what to expect

The Manchester Food and Drink Festival (MFDF) is returning this week, celebrating the city’s restaurants, bars, traders, producers and more.

Running from the Thursday 16 to Monday 27 September, the event centres around the Festival Hub on Cathedral Gardens, alongside other events and offers at venues across the city.

It’s been two years since the last MFDF and so it’s a welcome return for staple Manchester food event which is now in its 24th year.

Here is everything you can look forward to across the 11 days of the festival.

The Hub

As always, the Festival Hub is the centre of the Manchester Food and Drink Festival and this year can be found at Cathedral Gardens. There’s street food, live music, an artisan market and takeovers by Manchester restaurants.

The Hub is open across two long weekends from Thursday 16 to Sunday 19 September and from Wednesday 22 to Sunday 26 September.

In between the two weekends, there are various events taking place at the Hub and other things happening across the city – more details on all that below.

Hub Events

Manchester’s biggest chippy tea – 22nd September from 5pm

Hip Hop Chip Shop are among the venues taking part

Chippies, traders, pie shops and restaurants are teaming up to create Manchester’s biggest ever celebration of the humble chippy tea. The line up includes Anchors of Didsbury, Hip Hop Chip Shop, JJ Vish and Chips and Street Urchin, who will each will serve their own take on the classic.

There’ll be fish, chips, vegan twists, fizz, beers and, to finish, boozy ice cream from A Few Scoops. It’s free to enter and walk ins are welcome. More info here.

Bull and Bear Takeover – 20th September from 7pm

The Bull and Bear takeover

Tom Kerridge’s Bull and Bear is taking over the Hub with a take on street food – a pub grub inspired menu creating especially for MFDF. The three-course menu includes potted Loch Duart Salmon, a Braised Beef and Blue Cheese Pie, and Banana Custard with Dates, Pistachio and Honeycomb. 

Tickets cost £55 and are available to book here.

Schlosstoberfest – 23rd September from 5pm

Schlosstoberfest at the Hub

Albert’s Schloss is taking over the Hub on Thursday 23 September, with an Oktoberfest themed celebration. Schloss will be serving Bavarian favourites like bratwursts and pretzels in the MFDF Street Kitchen. There’ll be beers, lederhosen and Schloss’ signature high-energy live entertainment.

Free to enter, more info here.

Eat Well x Mana dinner

Manchester’s only Michelin-starred restaurant is hosting a special fundraising dinner, raising money for Eat Well Mcr. Each course of this dinner will be cooked by a different top Manchester chef including Simon Martin of Mana, Eddie Shepherd of The Walled Gardens, Anna Sogaard of Erst, Ben Humphreys of District and Mary-Ellen McTague of The Creameries.

Tickets are sold out for the event but there’s a chance to win the final pair of tickets by entering their prize draw which can be entered here. Tickets for the prize draw cost £20 and the winner will win two tickets for the event worth £400.

Street food

For each long weekend at the Festival Hub, there will be a different line up of local street food traders.

The first weekend (16 to 19 September) will feature burgers from What’s Your Beef, South Asian inspired street food from Aunty Ji’s, Breton crepes and galettes from Maison Breizh, and wraps and wings from Oh My Glaze.

For the second weekend (23 to 26 September), the traders will be Halloumination serving halloumi fries and halloumi burgers, I Knead Pizza with fresh Neapolitan-style pizza, Spoons Desserts serving crepes and waffles, The Spinn with their US-style dirty burgers and Northern Soul Grilled Cheese with their infamous toasties.

Also on the second weekend, Eat Well Mcr are hosting a street food stall to raise money to provide meals and support to people sidelined by poverty. Each day from 24 to 26 September, there will be a different restaurant partner taking over the stall, serving a special MFDF menu where all profits will go to Eat Well Mcr.

Across both weekends, there will also be street food dishes from popular Manchester restaurants at the Just Eat Street Kitchen. The line up includes pan-Asian chicken shop Peck and Yard, Spanish restaurant La Bandera, Vertigo Plant Based Eatery and vegan chippy JJ Vish and Chips.

Artisan Market

Open from midday to 7pm from Thursday 16 to Sunday 19 and Thursday 23 to Sunday 26 September, the artisan market will showcase some of the regions best independent food and drink producers and suppliers.

On the first weekend, the line up includes Chorlton Bread Co, Cafe Cannoli, Devil Dog Sauces, Cocoa and Bloom, Chorlton Cheesemongers, Manchester Cheesecake Co, Eat Well, Bread Flower, Twisted Wheel Beer Co, Prestwich Gin, O’Donnell Moonshine and Jack Berry.

For the second weekend, there will be stalls from Companio Bakery, Paradiso Authentic Italian, Chorlton Cheesemongers, Eat Well, The Gourmet Brownie Co, Ribble Valley Gin, HM Pasties, Crozier Drinks and O’Donnell Moonshine.

More information here.

Bars

There are three bars at the Hub

There are three bars at the Festival Hub: the Manchester Beer Bar, featuring local breweries like Burton Road Brewing, Northern Monkey, Pomona Island Brewery, Bollington Brewery, Brightside, Blackedge, Thirst Class, Stubborn Mule, Bank Top and Silver Street.

The Franklin and Sons Gin and Tonic bar will serve a menu of G&Ts each made using their 100% natural tonics paired with different flavours of Finders Gin.

Across the city

MFDF Wine and Fizz Fest – 17 & 18 September

Taking place at Halle St Peters in Ancoats, the Wine and Fizz Fest will give attendees the chance to taste their way through dozens of wines from independent drinks retailers and producers from across the region including Decent Drop, Grape to Grain, Le Social and UKiYO Republic.

As well as tasting wines, guests can book into tutored masterclasses and buy bottles to take home. There will be live music for each of the three sessions and food will be provided by Cafe Cotton. Tickets cost £12.50 – book here.

Fringe events

Kampus is hosting its own mini food festival

As part of the Festival Fringe, there are various supper clubs, dining events and tastings taking place throughout the 10 days of MFDF.

This includes a collaboration between Ancoats restaurant Elnecot with natural wine suppliers It’s Alive on Tuesday 21 September,

At Kampus, there is a mini food festival taking place with various events hosted by Kampus residents in the Bungalow throughout MFDF. This includes a bespoke five course menu from Tine throughout the festival, tastings and an all-day disco from Le Social, and Jewish-inspired supper club hosted by baker and florist duo Bread Flower.

Offers

Restaurants, bars and venues across the city are offering special deals, discounts and set menus which are available throughout the festival dates.

See the full list here.

The Awards

It feels like a very apt time to celebrate the food and drink industry. Much has changed since the event last took place in September 2019, and so the awards will celebrate those who have worked hard to achieve great things in food and drink over the last two years.

The MFDF Awards Ceremony takes place on Monday 27 September where the winners of the awards in the various categories will be announced.

There’s still time to vote for your favourites in each of the categories. Voting closes at midnight on 20 September. Vote here.

The Manchester Food and Drink Festival is taking place from 16 to 27 September. For more information and to book tickets for various events, visit: foodanddrinkfestival.com.

Patrón Paloma, the drink of summer – have you tried it yet?

Tequila cocktails and long drinks are on the rise. The Margarita has already earned its spot as a classic on cocktail menus and now there’s a new cocktail to try; the Patrón Paloma, which is much simpler, refreshing and just as Mexican.

In its most classic form, the Patrón Paloma is a mix of Patrón Reposado Tequila, grapefruit, soda and lime. And this week, is the UK’s first ever Patrón Paloma Week which is running until Bank Holiday Monday, bars across Manchester and London are offering their own bespoke twists on the classic Paloma with free food pairings too.

One of those bars is Ducie Street Warehouse which is serving classic Paloma cocktail made with Patrón Reposado Tequila alongside a menu of tacos throughout the week.

Ducie Street Warehouse’s classic Patrón Paloma, available until 30 August

Gethin Jones, Beverage Director at Ducie Street, has been working behind Manchester bars for 14 years and has noticed the increased buzz around the Paloma cocktail.

He said: “As the Margarita is now an established classic, drinkers are after the next tequila cocktail and the Paloma has all the characteristics to be just that: refreshing, light and flavoursome, it is perfect for summer. Plus, its fizzy element makes it a great alternative to the trendy spritz cocktails.”

“We have been seeing a rising interest in the Paloma cocktail and, more generally, in long drinks. People are starting to understand Tequila better, appreciating its quality and mixability and therefore looking for new ways to drink the Agave spirit.

He continues: “The Paloma is a refreshing and vibrant cocktail and can be simply made and enjoyed at home too, but as such it requires good quality ingredients, starting from Tequila. Patrón Reposado is a perfect base as it conveys the mellowly and herbaceous character that blends perfectly with the taste of the grapefruit, lime juice and the agave syrup.”

The Paloma is a simple yet versatile cocktail which can be adjusted to suit your tastes and mood.

Gethin says: “The simplicity of this cocktail equally allows a lot of creativity, you can refine and cater it to your taste. For example, in summer you can add fruity elements and notes by simply infusing your Patrón Paloma with strawberries or raspberries without need to cut down or readjust any other element of the recipe. This is perfect for any social gathering requiring pre-batching.”

Gethin has shared with us their classic Patrón Paloma recipe, so if after visiting bars during the Patrón Paloma Week,  if you’d like to try your hand at making the drink at home, you can get the ingredients delivered to your door through the Patrón Pantry on the UK Amazon Store.

Ducie Street Warehouse’s classic Patrón Paloma

Ingredients:

50ml PATRÓN Reposado Tequila
40ml freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
10ml fresh lime juice
10ml agave syrup
Soda water to top
A pinch of sea salt

Method:

Fill a highball glass with ice. Combine all ingredients apart from soda into a shaker, shake with ice and strain into the glass. Top with soda water and garnish with a pink grapefruit slice.

Patrón Paloma Week is taking place from 23 to 30 August.

For more information, visit: jiggerbeakerglass.org/article/paloma-week.

Where to find Patrón Paloma cocktails (and free food) in Manchester this week

The UK’s first Patrón Paloma Week has officially started and bars across the city centre are getting involved making their own versions of the Mexican cocktail.

The Paloma, which if you haven’t already tried it is a refreshing mix of tequila, agave, pink grapefruit juice, lime and soda, is thought to have originated in the town of Tequila (obviously) in the state of Jalisco in Mexico. Don Javier Delgado Corona, the owner of a local bar called La Capilla is most often credited with its creation.

Bars in Manchester have created their own special menus, serving the classic Patrón Paloma alongside their own innovative twists. Some of them are even offering complimentary food pairings (we’re talking tacos and pizza slices) on selected nights.

Patrón Paloma Week runs from 23 to 30 August and here’s a run down of all the bars involved and the drinks you can try across the city.

Escape to Freight Island

Freight Island’s Patrón Paloma Week cocktail

Until 30 August, the Freight Island bar will be serving an exotic twist on the Patrón Paloma called ‘La Columba’. It is made with Patrón Reposado tequila, Aperol, passionfruit syrup, pineapple juice and pink grapefruit soda. Super fruity and perfect for sipping in the sun.

Cottonopolis Food & Liquor

Cottonopolis will pair Japanese and Mexican flavours

Cottonopolis is joining the Patron Paloma week celebrations, pairing their Japanese inspired menu to the classic Mexican cocktail. They will be serving fresh sushi alongside a signature Hacienda Paloma made with Patrón Reposado tequila, bitter liqueur, Maraschino, mezcal, lime juice and pink grapefruit soda.

Plus, on Tuesday between 5 and 7pm you’ll get two free tacos with your Paloma.

Ducie Street Warehouse

Tacos and Palomas at Ducie Street Warehouse

Sticking firmly to the Mexican theme, Ducie Street Warehouse will be serving tacos during throughout the week with the classic Patrón Paloma cocktail – Patrón Reposado tequila, freshly squeezed pink grapefruit, fresh lime juice, agave syrup, soda water and a pinch of sea salt.

This Wednesday between 5 and 7pm, order a Paloma and get a complimentary Mexican Pulled pork taco too.

Liquor and Burn

The White Fruit and Chilli Paloma and Liquor and Burn

Liquor and Burn have come up with a fiery concoction for their Patrón Paloma Week cocktail. Their White Fruit and Chilli Paloma features Patrón Reposado tequila, peach liqueur, pear Liqueur, pink grapefruit juice, lime Juice, soda water and a pinch of red chilli flakes.

Get any snack from the Liquor and Burn menu for free when you order their Paloma special between 5 and 7pm on Thursday.

Motley

The newly-opened cocktail bar on Deansgate, Motley has created a special summery menu with three fresh takes on the classic Patrón Paloma. All made with Patrón Reposado tequila there’s the Blood Orange Paloma with Martini fiero, the Rhubarb Paloma with bitter liqueur and the Grapefruit Micheloma with Schofferhoffer beer.

There’s also a free taco for Paloma drinkers at Motley this Friday between 5 and 7pm. Choose from a fish taco or a beef taco.

El Capo

La Tucita Paloma from El Capo with Midori

El Capo certainly knows its way around a bottle of tequila and this week is serving four variations on the Patrón Paloma including a simple mix of Patrón tequila and fresh pink grapefruit juice; La Tucita with Melon liqueur, grapefruit juice and soda; Summer Breeze with St Germain elderflower liqueur, Pamplemousse liqueur and soda; and the Lone Ranger with sparkling brut rosé and fresh lemon juice.

On Saturday at El Capo between 5 and 7pm, when you order a Patrón Paloma, you’ll get TWO free tacos to enjoy.

Crazy Pedros

Crazy Pedro’s will be pairing pizzas and Palomas

Tequila and pizza is already a classic combo at Crazy Pedro’s in the form of margaritas, and so for Patrón Paloma Week, Pedro’s take on the Patrón Paloma is being paired with pizza across both their sites. Their Patrón Paloma twist is made with Patrón Reposado tequila, El Bandarra Al Fresco aperitif, lemongrass, lime and Ting grapefruit soda.

On Bank Holiday Monday, enjoy free slices of their Gringos pizza (topped with spiced pulled pork, peppers, jalapeños, sweetcorn, tortilla Chips, sour Cream) when you order their Patrón Paloma special.

The Washhouse

The Washhouse has three Palomas to try

Laundrette-disguised speakeasy, Washhouse has created three unique cocktails for Paloma Week using Patrón Reposado tequila. There’s a Paloma with coriander syrup; the Palroni with sweet red vermouth and Palmpelle liqueur; and the Frozen Patrón Paloma with grapefruit, basil and tonic sorbet.

Patrón Paloma Week is taking place from 23 to 30 August.

For more information, visit: jiggerbeakerglass.org/article/paloma-week.

The UK’s first Patrón Paloma Week comes to Manchester: what is it and where can you celebrate it?

Touted as ‘the official cocktail of summer 2021’ by The Sunday Times, the Paloma is quickly becoming a popular fixture on cocktail menus across the UK.

A refreshing mix of tequila and grapefruit soda, the Paloma is thought to have come from the iconic town of Tequila in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. Until not long ago, this cocktail was little known outside of Mexico, but that’s all about to change.

Now, Patrón Tequila is celebrating this zesty drink with the inaugural Patrón Paloma week which will take place in Manchester and London from 23 to 30 August.

Paloma week will feature bespoke cocktails and complimentary food at selected venues across Manchester

Bars across the city centre will take part in the first ever dedicated celebrations, each creating their own innovative twists on the Patrón Paloma. Participating venues in Manchester include Escape to Freight Island, Ducie Street Warehouse, Motley, Crazy Pedros, El Capo, Washhouse, Cottonopolis and Luck, Lust, Liquor and Burn.

As well as the bespoke Patrón Palomas, there will also be complimentary food at some of the venues on selected dates.

How to make a Patrón Paloma

The Patrón Paloma

As well as trying it at bars across the city, if you’d like to make the Patrón Paloma at home, we’ve got a couple of the classic recipes below for you to try out.

You can get the ingredients delivered to your door through the Patrón Pantry Amazon Store. There are also videos showing you how to make them.

Patrón Paloma

50ml PATRÓN Reposado tequila
150ml Grapefruit soda
A pinch of salt  
Grapefruit slice for garnish 
Salt rim (optional)  

Method

Combine ingredients into an ice-filled highball glass and stir. Garnish with a grapefruit slice, and salt rim if desired. Recipe, tips and ingredients here.

Patrón Paloma and Juice

50ml PATRÓN Reposado tequila
30ml Freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
15ml Lime juice
10ml Agave syrup
30ml Premium soda water
Pink grapefruit wedge for garnish
Half salt rimmed glass with pink salt

Method

Combine all ingredients apart from soda, shake and strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Top with soda water and garnish with the grapefruit wedge.

Patrón Paloma Week is taking place from 23 to 30 August.

For more information, visit: jiggerbeakerglass.org/article/paloma-week.

Tine and Le Social move into Kampus

Two new restaurant and bar concepts have opened in burgeoning city centre neighbourhood, Kampus.

Restaurant Tine and wine bar Le Social have taken over the Bungalow which, if you haven’t been down to Kampus yet, is a building on stilts across from Canal Street. This collaboration is the latest in a series of residences taking place in the Kampus Bungalow, which has previously hosted pop ups from Isca Wines and Summer Beer Thing.

Both Tine and Le Social will occupy the space throughout August and September, Le Social operating the bar outside and Tine running the restaurant upstairs in the Bungalow itself.

Le Social has an impressive selection of organic and natural wines, beers, spirits and non-alcoholic options. They also have a bar snack menu including nibbles like Manchego cheese, olives, mini saucissons and spiced mixed nuts.

Le Social at Kampus

This will be the first time Le Social has had a full bar set up. Started during lockdown while owner Jerome was put on furlough from his job as an alcohol sales rep, Le Social has been operated out of one of the containers at Pollard Yard.

Throughout August and September, Jerome has curated a series of events planned throughout his stay, including DJS, street food takeovers and brunch events. When we were down there were three performers roaming the space, including a leotard-clad hula hoop dancer.

Le Social is open from 4-10 on Thursday and Friday and 12 till late on Saturdays and Sundays. For more information visit Le Social’s Instagram page.

Jerome from Le Social with Josh and James from Tine

Tine was first set up by chefs Josh and James as a pop up in Blossom Street Social in February 2020.

Josh said: “We set up Tine as we thought Manchester has a big lack of local Mancunian chef run restaurants, so we got together with the focus on finding the best products in the UK and some from Ireland. I’m from an Irish family and James has Irish heritage also which relates to our name. In English it means the tip of a fork or deer antler and in Irish means a fire or blaze as we intend to cook on wood embers in a really refined way.

“We set up tine in February 2020, two weeks before Covid hit, which obviously hurt us massively in every aspect and worked around government restrictions as a pop up at blossom street social wine bar until November 2020. We’re now at Kampus trying to restart our brand and hopefully get one step closer to opening a permanent restaurant.”

The opening week menu at Tine

Josh has been chef for 10 years, training with Michelin-starred Simon Rogan. He worked at Where The Light Gets In in Stockport before becoming Senior Sous Chef at Mana for the first year. James has worked as a chef for 15 years, notably working as Aiden Byrne’s Senior Sous Chef for 6 years at Manchester House.

The multi-course menu will change based on the produce available. When we visited the first course was an oyster sat on top of a wild plum. A perfect mouthful, it was salty-sweet and as fresh as anything.

Next, we had Dayboat Ikejime Sea Bass which had been brought up from Cornwall, having only been caught the day before. The fish was lightly cured and served on top of a creamy smoked yolk which formed the sauce of the dish, and topped with fresh orange tomatoes and lemon rind.

The meat course was Hogget loin, two thick slices of lamb with perfectly crisped fat and juicy pink middle. Hogget is a lamb that has been aged for a year or two which means that the meat has a fuller flavour than that of lamb but not as strong as mutton. It was served with a rich pumpkin seed stew and a side of fermented potato bread (a nod to the pair’s Irish heritage).

Dessert was green strawberry which had been pickled (so it tasted almost like lychee) and served with a walnut parfait and frozen Eccles cake.

Hogget loin with pumpkin seed stew

Finally, we had cheese to finish – a soft Connage cheese, topped with thin slices of fresh pear and served in a crisp cracker cup.

The menu is as refined as you’d expect from a pair with these credentials and each dish isn’t quite like anything I’ve eaten before.

Tine is open Thursday to Sunday until the end of September. To book visit: tinemcr.com.

CBRB and Henry C join forces to open French bistro 10 Tib Lane

Late night ramen joint CBRB and Chorlton cocktail bar Henry C have come together to announce a brand new restaurant and bar concept – a French-style bistro in the old Bock Biere Cafe site.

Ten Tib Lane is a three-storey restaurant and bar which aims to ‘push the boundaries of Manchester’s food and drink scene’.

The venue looks casual and cosy with a muted colour palette, dark wood floors, terracotta walls, a tiled bar, leather seats and rich velvet booths.

10 Tib Lane

The EATMCR team were chatting other day about the distinct lack of French restaurants in Manchester. While French gastronomy is renowned the world over and was even added to the UNESCO list of “intangible cultural heritage” in 2010, it seems to have fallen out of favour with UK restaurants who are favouring other cuisines over the traditional French cookery.

That’s not to say there aren’t some great independent French restaurants in Manchester like 63 Degrees in the Northern Quarter and Man Bites Frog in Chorlton. However, when you compare it to the number of Italian, Spanish or even Japanese restaurants in the city, the French are lagging far behind.

An absolute Francophile myself, I think this is a real shame, so I’m excited to see a venue bringing a fresh and forward-thinking take on the cuisine. The food and drink menus at 10 Tib Lane will be constantly evolving, with a focus on seasonal, homegrown and locally sourced ingredients.

The menu at 10 Tib Lane

There will be small plates such as lamb rump, braised broad beans, saffron aioli and rosti; a ‘Club Sandwich’ made with chicken, truffle, smoked bacon and celeriac; and carefully thought out vegetarian options like potato and chive financier, ginger, sweet potato aligot.

The chef behind the menu is Alex Shaw of Volta, who has previously been awarded Chef of the Year by the Manchester Food and Drink Festival and Restaurant of the Year at the City Life awards.

For drinks, there is a refined cocktail menu, including both well known drinks and more progressive additions.

Examples include the understated Whisky and Soda, which consists of milk washed Chivas 12y whisky, Chivas Mizanura blend whisky, burnt caramel vanilla and citric acid.

There’s also Le Mastrou which has Lilliet Blanc vermouth, Cacao Blanc liqueur and olive oil-washed Plymouth gin – a technique which consists of infusing (or “fat-washing”) gin with olive oil. It looks and feels like a martini, but it’s light, chocolatey and sweet.

Unfortunately the news of the new opening was coupled with the announcement that CBRB will be ‘laying low’ for a bit. The team has decided to take a break due to the increasing pressure from Covid guidelines and the test and trace system.

A post on CBRB’s Instagram read: “The toll the past couple of weeks has taken on our team is immeasurable. The uncertainty caused by test and trace, combined with behind the scenes issues of a struggling supply chain and goods shortages nationwide… you get the picture.”

Talking about the launch, Ben Gretton, who launched CBRB in 2018, said: “We wanted to create a high end experience, but without any of the stuffiness that usually comes with that. We want to be a place people come for a nice bottle of wine and a few oysters after an afternoon of shopping, as much as for a special date night or anniversary spot or just a place for a few afternoon cocktails and a couple of light plates. It really is a place for everyone and we’ve worked hard to create a relaxed vibe that isn’t trying too hard, it’s just a cool place to be.”

Sophie Robson, co-owner of Chorlton’s Henry C, added: “We’ve been customers in each other venues for years and have total respect for how we approach the industry, so when we saw the venue and the opportunity it gave us, it was a no brainer to do it together. We all believe in honest service, incredible food and drink and that’s what 10 Tib Lane is about.”

Ten Tib Lane opens on Thursday 29 July. To book a table visit 10tiblane.com and stay up to date by following their Instagram here.

An evening of cricket, live music and food: The Hundred at Emirates Old Trafford

A brand new cricket competition – The Hundred – is coming to Manchester, with four home games scheduled at Emirates Old Trafford over the next few weeks.

The matches, which will be hosted on 25 and 28 July and 5 and 10 August, will also have a full programme of entertainment, food and drink for visitors to enjoy.

The Hundred is a new, shorter, more fast-paced format of cricket where only 100 balls are bowled for each team. Each game lasts less than three hours, as opposed to Test cricket matches which can last three, four or even five days.

This competition will see the Manchester Originals compete against seven other teams from across the country in men’s and women’s competitions.

For the matches at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester will take on Birmingham Phoenix on 25 July, Northern Superchargers on 28 July, Southern Brave on 5 August and London Spirit on 10 August. There will be women’s and men’s fixtures at all events.

At each event there will be a live set from a different band. BBC 6 Music has collaborated on the line up which includes Wigan band The Lathums for the first event, followed by The Orielles, Porij and, finally, Everything Everything. The matches will all be hosted by BBC Radio Manchester DJ Roesh.

Now, the food. We’ve teamed up with Manchester Originals to curate the line up of independent food traders who will be dishing up the goods at each of the four events.

There’ll be burgers from Solita, gourmet bangers from Grandad’s Sausages and hot salt beef bagels, burgers and fries from Triple B.

Crunched Tacos will also be there for the last three fixtures, serving their hard shell tacos. And A Few Scoops will be there serving their alcohol-infused ice cream, sorbets and ice pops from their baby pink tuk tuk.

Overall, it looks set to be a pretty cracking day out. Outdoors, watching some sport, some live music and digging into some delicious food. Lovely.

Tickets for Manchester Originals home fixtures available here.