Chicken Run: A proud poultry legacy

“Where I’m from, it’s all rain and music – but I’d go to this chicken shop after school and get a chicken split” 

This was a very real conversation I’d had with a friend at uni halls in 2009 (shut up) about what’s so great about where we came from. I’d heard about the long-standing institution that is Chicken Run even before my first trip to Manchester, so pretty fair to say this feature has been a loooong time coming. Kwame, who now runs the family gaff with his brother Leon, took a hot 5 to step out from the mad crowd of regulars and (believe me when I say-) KEEN new diners, and give us the Chicken Run story, of which he is a main cast member. 

“Funnily enough, no one actually realises this but you know the actual movie Chicken Run? The guys that made it lived around the corner, so we were there before that was even around… 

Theres a lot to it. I wasn’t born when it first started, but for the most part my mum and dad started it just as a way to support their children. My dad has 13 kids, he’s always been cooking.” 

Kwame’s father retired after running it for 31 years, to fulfil a lifelong dream. “My whole life he’s been setting up to go to Africa. Since the beginning, he’s been trying to build a house there and sort stuff out to live there and now finally he’s been able to. So he’s left it to me and my brother.” 

With such a cult following, it’s a lotttt of pressure. But if anyone knows how to carry on this legacy, it’s Kwame and Leon, who spent most of their childhoods in and around the joint: 

“In Primary, after school, we’d all be sat upstairs most of the evening til 9pm”. 

So it’s widely known that you go to Chicken Run for one main thing, their holy grail: The Chicken Split. While I wait for the interview, it’s all anyone in the packed place orders, so it’s important to relay to you just how deserved the hype is. 

Tasting notes: A long dumpling, pillowy on the inside and with that sweet, sweet crust on the outside – sliced through and stuffed to within an inch of its poor delicious life with CR’s signature fried chicken and tart salad cream. It’s messy, it’s glorious, and it’s a joy to eat. It was a good part-way through our chat that one of Kwame’s well-meaning friends stopped to tell me I had salad cream on my nose, which should give you an idea as to how this behemoth of beauty is to be eaten. No regrets tho huns, you’ve got to lean into this party in your hands and not GAF. It’s the only way. 

They also serve home-made cakes (Kwame’s favourite is the marble, but I think my heart belongs to the pineapple, with hot custard. Oh god.) Wash all the goodness down with some homemade juice – go for the sorrel, you won’t regret it. 

Standing proudly in Moss Side since 1989, the place has seen a lot of changes over the years, and the whiff of gentrification is permeating the area. The shop used to have a bullet hole in the wall, for those who remember, and Kwame reflects on how different things are: 

“Its way calmer than it was then, even in terms of things you’d see outside. The odd shooting here and there, you don’t really get anything like that anymore.” 

Manchester is rapidly becoming one of the fastest-growing cities in the UK, with the property market a bloodbath. Make no mistake though, Chicken Run’s going nowhere. 

“We’ve been here long enough so not much is gonna affect us, but you can see it more when you go up princess road. Like, they’re building slowly away from town all the way down. It’s mad.” 

On his way back into the shop, which is now heaving, Kwame calls over his shoulder and asks if there were any requests. ‘How do you want it?’ My indecisiveness due to ordering-regret and thoughts of Tu Pac serve me well, as

I’m presented with a Kwame Special. And oh sweet baby J, this thing is weighty. Unwrap the paper and behold: a chicken split BUTONLYWITHMACANDBLADDYCHEESE. These things are filling as fuck as it is, but why not treat yourself? You’ll be full for a week. 

Ending on the Chicken Run ethos, Kwame shows that he’s staying true to his parents’ vision and nothing will shake this institution. 

“Feeding the community, that’s what it’s always been about. There’s a lot of people that rely on us” 

Now, more than ever, this resonates. Do yourself a favour and get to Chicken Run, where you’ll be eating history, community and soul. 

The Hangover Food You Need Now The Pubs Are Open Again

Brilliant, isn’t it? Pubs, bars and restaurants being open again. Beyond words almost. The sight of reunited friends and families engrossed in passionate conversation over half empty glasses, plates and dishes. Not having to race through reunions because of some bullshit 10pm curfew and just being able to enjoy the hum of revelry and contentment bouncing from every corner of a beer garden or patio. Just off for a big cry. Excuse me.

Stuttering home with sticky shoes from spilled drinks and waking up on your settee at five in the morning next to a half eaten, burned-to-shite Chicago Town pizza is an irreplaceable experience topped only by what follows it a few dry mouthed hours later.

Hangovers may be an anxiety ridden hellscape, punctuated with insufferable pangs of existential dread and throat shredding vomit, but they’re also, actually, a right laugh.

JUST LOOK AT HOW BEAUTIFUL EVERYTHING IS

Hear me out: Hangovers from impromptu nights out may be an utter horror show because they were never intended to happen and now they’ve bled into some very serious business you need to take care of the day after. OK, nuclear situation there, wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But for the most part, you’ve intentionally decided to throw back your own body weight in lager, questionable cocktails and, for some reason, black sambuca. So you’ve planned on not being any use to anyone the day after. Perfection. There are literally no expectations of you and the day is your’s to wear a big jumper, watch Superbad, reminisce in group chats and soak up last night/this morning’s hedonism with as much food as your stomach can physically handle. What’s not to love?

Fortunately, Manchester has no shortage of spots to soak up a hangover/kickstart the next one and, with most of us definitely nursing one at some point this weekend, we thought it would be wise to point you in the direction of a handful of places that can help cure them…

Birria Brothers Tacos

You’ve all seen the dip a hundred times over by this point and it doesn’t get any less hypnotic with each drool inducing viewing. Slow…cooked…beef/goat…tacos…dipped…in…spicy consommé. That consommé, known as ‘red gold’ is made from the delectable cooking juices that drip from the beef and goat that fills each tortilla and has been responsible for the most ‘uhhhhhhhs’ per capita since Master P in ’97.

This and about five Margaritas. What more could you possibly need? Image: Birria Brothers/instagram

Birria Brothers is an offshoot of the Northern Quarter’s longstanding hangover curers Koffee Pot (shoutout Big Yins and Ulster Fries), inspired by the breakfast of choice in Tijuana, Mexico and, upon debuting on Oldham Street last month, generated queues that ended roughly somewhere around Stockport. The hype is very fucking real and so is the majestic spice/flavour combo that kicks you clean in the jaw when you first douse your mouth and face in all that hot, hot goat and Oaxacan cheese. Chuck some diced onion in there, a few sprigs of coriander and your choice of red or green jalapeño salsa and any cobwebs will be blown clean off.

Speaking to eatmcr in March, owner Sam said, “Chris (the other co-owner) has been going on about these for ages, he first tried them in his 20’s when working in New York, great on a hangover. Our consommé is inspired by our favourite curry the Nihari.”

A portion of these should also probably be followed by a sampling of the Margaritas on offer, too. The rhubarb one is an absolute winner, fyi.

Mumma’s Fried Chicken

Yes, we know the temptation to Deliveroo the Colonel to your door so you don’t have to peel yourself out of your pungent trackie bottoms is very over-fucking-whelming, but you absolutely should make the effort when the end result is going to be devouring Mumma’s Fried Chicken.

All of this, pls. Image: Mumma’s Fried Chicken/instagram

Whether it’s from their Altrincham Market or Mackie Mayor outposts, Mumma’s is always worth the trip, no matter how substantial the hangover. Their birds are brined for 12 hours then fried twice in the in-house spice blend. Thigh meat only, of course, so you’ve got all that dark, juicy flavour pouring out with every bite, the aforementioned blend of herbs and spices perfectly permeating the various adornments, whether it be Nashville hot sauce, buffalo and blue or the house hot sauce and aioli. The accompanying sides are also a delight, with the jacket fries a particular favourite. The Yuzu slaw and pickled chilli newcomer also looks a bit special. Prime tackle for soaking up last night’s mistakes and putting a big, dopey smile back on your face.

Yadgar Cafe

Seriously, even if the food at Yadgar’s wasn’t up too much (it is. And then some) they’d be making this list for their instagram feed alone. One minute there’s a close up of a Delhi Garlic Shashlik, the next there’s a video of a chimpanzee and a tortoise sharing an apple together. A roti or paratha shot will sit seamlessly alongside an aerial image of the cafe’s location. There was much more madness on there a little while ago, but much of it has since been deleted, which is a crying shame.

One of the most spectacular landmarks in all of Greater Manchester

What is not a crying shame, however, is just how spectacular Yadgar’s dishes are across the board. Their rich, deep Nihari will nourish your soul, the various breads will soak up your ills. Everything about the place will make you grin deliriously. It’s one of the few establishments where there’s really no wrong way to go. Whether it’s karahi or keema, chana or kofta, you’re going to come away feeling a lot better about the waves of tequila still sloshing around your system. This NQ stalwart is a Hall of Fame worthy rice ‘n’ three that is wonderfully ungentrifiable, with it’s day-glo pink and yellow signage a Thomas St landmark that should be preserved for posterity for generations to come. Shuffle down here on a doomed Sunday aft and save your weekend.

Bada Bing

In life, whether absurdly rough from eight solid hours of Pilsener or fresh as a daisy after a morning of peppermint tea and yoga, there is absolutely nothing that tops a massive, triumphant sandwich. Nothing. Actually, the only way slapping a selection of your favourite fillings and condiments between two slices of bread can be evolved into a superior experience is by enjoying it with your favourite TV show. Which is obviously The Sopranos.

“OH, there he is”

Fortunately, in Manchester we can now combine these two elements by immersing ourselves in the two fisted sans being slung every weekend by Sam Gormally and Meg Lingenfelter at Bada Bing, the hoagie hole-in-the-wall named after the finest fictional strip club in North New Jersey. Gabagool, mortadella, sharp provolone, salami (both Napoli and ventricina) and various other assorted meats are piled high on in-house rolls, accompanied by mounds of fresh salad, olives, homemade giardinara and pickled peppers. Veggie options, such as the magnificently named, ‘oof marone!’ inducing, mushroom shawarma filled ‘Paulie Walnuts’ are equally as satisfying as their cured meat counterparts. It’s safe to say the Bing produces the very definition of Hero Sandwiches, so slip on the Italian branded leisure wear of your choosing and a crisp white vest and be prepared to shout “OH!” a whole fucking lot. Oh, and their fizzy pop selection is Lilt and Vimto heavy, so you know they’re absolutely unfuckwithable.

Tokyo Ramen

Let us count the ways in which we’ve missed Tokyo Ramen over these last 13 Covid ridden months. How could we not? So many hours have been lost daydreaming about slurping up their chicken bone broth soaked noodles, feeling that torched pork belly effortlessly fall apart between our teeth and the sense tingling crunch of that koji fried chicken. Seriously, it’s been a whole lot. But now with the team at TR landing on Deliveroo, as well as offering up their sensational instant ramen meal kits, there’s no need to merely fantasise over each face steaming dish, they are once more a reality, long awaited and rapidly devoured.

ART. Image: Tokyo Ramen/instagram

This haven of eye glazing umami and yuzu notes has long been one of our favourite spots in the city, hungover or not, but when you’re trying to flush about 12 litres of rum soaked toxins out of your system, there are far, far worse ways to do it than via a Shoyu steam bath.

Cà Phê Viet

Pho, with it’s glacial clear, bone broth, usually of beef, chicken or oxtail (with seafood and vegetarian variants also popular) draws you in like a siren, all furiously flavoured scents and hypnotic colours. In Manchester, we’re blessed with plenty of premium options when it comes to the Vietnamese delicacy, but our hangover haven of choice has regularly been the unassuming Ancoats joint Cà Phê Viet, on Oldham Road.

A ‘Little Vietnam’ original since 2014, Cà Phê Viet can sort you out with some of the city’s finest Pho. Pre-lockdown, you could be sat, back to the window, eyes closed, with the chattering of a regular Vietnamese contingent (the cafe is reassuringly popular with the city’s Vietnamese community, many of whom live around Ancoats and Miles Platting) dancing around your ears, being transported to Ho Chi Minh for a brief, brilliant few seconds. For the time being, of course, you’ll have to make do with takeaway, but the pilgrimage to Oldham Road is never not worth the effort, especially as it affords you the opportunity to peruse the in store grocery, deciding what items to take with you to replicate the experience from your own kitchen for when you don’t feel like someone’s taking a sledgehammer to the inside of your head.

Wolf At The Door

One…Quid…Tacos…And…Baos. ONE…..QUID.

Very difficult to get past that, isn’t it? Even if you’ve been French kissing porcelain all morning and afternoon, if someone tells you there’s baos and tacos on offer for a quid each, you’d make the effort to shovel them down your throat, wouldn’t you?

OK, so it’s just a small selection of the menu that is actually available for a quid each (one of them is the Chippy Tea bao with curry dust, though. Don’t sleep on it), but even so, the pricier offerings aren’t going to set you back that much more at the Thomas Street cocktail bar. Personal favourites include the Volcano Beef Bao, all full of sumptuous, spicy, beer braised brisket and the jerk chicken tacos with their invigoratingly effective pineapple salsa, sharply piercing through the final throes of slurry still lodged in your stomach from the night before. Blissfully basking in the NQ sunshine, WATD has plenty of outdoor space for you to enjoy, soaking in that sweet, sweet serotonin as you decide that yes, you should add a portion of garlic butter fries to your order and, now you’re here, let’s see what this natural wine menu is all about…

Al Zain

Let’s face it, we often don’t make very wise kebab related decisions when we’re staggering around at 4am like a knackered shire horse that’s about to be led into a quiet barn, never to be seen again. Rubbery Doner (good name for a band, that *makes note*) stuffed into a tooth extracting naan, crudely adorned with boulder sized hunks of tasteless tomato and drowned in curdled garlic mayo and searingly aggressive, fluorescent chilli sauce, is not a combination that is going to agree with you a few hours later. But in the cold light of day, when your decision making is perhaps a bit more up to scratch, you should be 100 percent affirmative about your need to hit up Al Zain’s in Rusholme.

A master at work

A Kurdish owned shawarma joint, Al Zain’s serves up the finest vertical Lebanese lamb in town. Two shawarma spits (one lamb, one chicken) twirl mesmerically like ballerinas in front of you upon entrance, the much fuller chicken version a clear second best to the ludicrously popular lamb variety, crowned with tomatoes and onion, which permeate through knee tremblingly tender meat. All wrapped in a traditional flatbread that delivers the perfect amount of chew, as you proceed to tear through meat that just glides apart, mixing effortlessly well with the bread and accompanying pickles and salad, all luminous oranges, purples and greens. The mule kick of chilli sending the utter bastard of a hangover you’re enduring running for it’s fucking life, not to return for another week.

Depending on how hellacious you’re feeling, you could frequent a few of our other favourite establishments on Wilmslow Road, all of which featured in this little ditty we put together back in November with Luke Unabomber.

That’s Thai

Now, ordinarily you wouldn’t expect a garage on Cheetham Hill Road to be the source of some of the most glorious Thai food in all of Greater Manchester. But somehow, there is wizardry occurring at That’s Thai that we can’t explain. But what we can explain is how obsessed with it we are and how you all should be flocking there immediately.

Just to confirm, the food isn’t being served in the garage, but rather next door. A worse-for-wear black awning provides the distinction between restaurant and mechanic’s shop and lures you in with the sizzle of chilli, allowing you to drift helplessly towards the street side serving hatch to place an order that, and we’re not being dramatic here, will probably change your life.

Owned by Wan Pradit Hewitt and her husband, who also owns the garage next door, That’s Thai is as ‘hidden gem’ as it gets, all secluded and secretive in an area of town more synonymous with Middle Eastern and Eastern European cuisine. The usual suspects of Pad Thai and green curry are available if you want to keep things simple, but Wan is also cooking up more adventurous tackle in her diminutive unit, such as Kual Tiew Num Tok (broth with sliced pork, pork balls, rice noodles and morning glory) and Laab Moo (spicy minced pork salad with rice powder, chilli powder, lime leaves and Thai herbs), so you can rest assured that you’re being revived with the good stuff when you take the trip to Cheetham Hill. And, if your car’s as knackered as you are, you can get it sorted while you wait for your drunken noodles. Perfect.

Gladstone Barber & Bistro

Palestinian breakfast rolls? Yes fucking please.

OK, when you hear the word ‘barber’ in the name of any restaurant, you’re immediately going to be a bit suspicious. Especially when we’re out here suggesting hangover cures. No one is going to fancy a funky new summer ‘do when they’re nursing an absolute whopper. The nauseating buzz of the clippers, the itch of the rogue hairs drifting down the back of your neck. It’s not the one. Which is why a trip out to Gladstone’s in Stalybridge comes with much more than a fresh trim.

This followed by a nice wholesome country stroll. Absolute magic, tbh

Owner Yezzan has laid on a selection of childhood favourites, like his Mum and Dad’s beans on toast and egg kofta roll. The extra large hash brown muffin with house made brown sauce is also another surefire winner, while the chicken musakhan is a speciality you really can’t miss. Aaaaaaaaand, maybe decimate a shawarma hash and the big, dippy yolked fried egg that’s sitting atop it. Belly full and suds soaked up, you’re then free to have a big wholesome stroll around the nearby Stalybridge Country Park. Fresh air and a flask of tea and you’re absolutely laughing.

Honourable Mentions

Obviously, there’s a distinct lack of pizza on here, but with Manchester’s ‘za options now operating at a ludicrously high level of quality and variation, we’d need to dedicate an entire article alone to them. However, one option that does criminally slip under the radar is Cuckoo’s stonebaked menu, out in Prestwich, where you can also revitalise your weary brain with their blisteringly good Bloody Mary and baked eggs. Hot sauce, eggs, marinara. Yes, yes, yes.

Elsewhere, since the beef patty renaissance of 2012, there’s been no shortage of burger blessings to keep our hangovers occupied in the city – shoutout Almost Famous, Burgerism and Triple B as well as Wholesome Junkies and V Rev for those top quality beyond meat choices.

Or, if somehow none of the above are ringing your bell (and we’re not sure how they couldn’t), just head to your nearest chippy. Chippy teas are eternal, aren’t they? Don’t ever trust anyone who’s ever not in the mood for one.

Michelin star restaurant Mana opens as a burger takeaway

For Manchester’s restaurants and bars, (and, well, all of us really) the last year has been all about pivoting.

Businesses have been challenged with the task of continuously adapting their offering, thinking on their feet in the endlessly changing restrictions.

We’ve seen distilleries making hand sanitizer, IPAs in milk bottles and beer and gin drive-thrus.

And now, in a move similar to one made by NOMA last year, Manchester’s only Michelin starred restaurant, Mana, has reopened as a cheeseburger takeaway for lockdown.

With 100 available per day, the burgers are available for pre-order only from Wednesday to Saturday. The first available slots booked out quickly, but we managed to get ourselves booked in to try this high-end burger.

The burger costs £17 and includes a patty made of a Lake District Belted Galloway beef made using a mix of shin, brisket and rump cap.

It is topped American-style cheese made with St Andrews cheddar and beer from Cloudwater, a koji and dill mayonnaise, iceberg lettuce and green onion paste, all piled into a potato and brown butter bun made by Pollen.

The unexpected star of the show was the tangy and fresh green onion paste which cut through the depth and smokiness of the cheese and patty.

Overall we really liked it. To just say it’s a Michelin star burger is a bit too simplistic. What we do know is that Mana plan to keep tweaking and improving and that it’s a very different burger experience to what we’re used to.

At £17 a burger it’s more of a one-off experience than a weekly takeaway (not that you could get a weekly slot if you tried), but it looks like there will be some different options on the takeaway menu soon.

Mana’s head chef Simon Martin has said he’d like to look at adding tacos and fried chicken to the takeaway menu, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for more news and dates as they are announced.

If you want to try Mana’s cheeseburger, they have just released more dinner slots at the time of writing.

To book or to join the waitlist visit: exploretock.com/mana.

What to eat #8 – Gooey Hot Chocolates

Gooey has launched some of the finest looking hot chocolates that we’ve ever seen.

The hot chocolates launched last weekend at their kiosk in Ducie Street Warehouse and they were so popular, they’re bring them back for a final weekend before Christmas.

The festive classic, a Bailey’s hot chocolate, has been ramped up a gear. Hot Belgian chocolate is topped with Bailey’s-infused whipped cream and red velvet cookie dust. There is also a Hot Chocolate Orange with Cointreau and chocolate liqueur, chocolate and orange whipped cream, and dehydrated orange dust.

The Gooey hot chocolates cost £5 each with booze or £3.50 without. Each of the hot chocolates is topped with two beautifully golden, toasted marshmallows which can be dunked straight into the hot chocolate of your choice.

Gooey has also just launched their Christmas Box with three indulgent Christmas specials.

Death by Chocolate Donut

The first is Death by Chocolate Donut, a chocolate dough filled with Belgian chocolate ganache and chocolate creme pat, which is then dipped in Belgian chocolate coting, topped with chocolate cream, a white chocolate gooey square and cocoa nibs. And, it looks sensational.

There’s also the Orange Blossom Alaska Bomb, a sable biscuit infused with orange blossom, filled with a pomegranate jam and clementine curd centre and surrounded by toasted Swiss meringue.

Finally, the Pistachio Praline Dacquoise has a crunchy pisachio meringue sponge layered with a white chocolate and pistachio praline ganache.

The Gooey Christmas specials are available to preorder now

The Christmas box is £10 for all three and there are very limited numbers of these specials, which are available to pre-order for collection only at the Gooey kiosk.

Gooey is open at Ducie Street Warehouse from Thursday 17 to Wednesday 23 December for the final few days this year before they close the kiosk until 7 January.

Collections are available from 1pm daily. Pre-orders can be made on thegooey.co with the code COLLECTINGGOOEY at the checkout.

What to eat #7: Maray’s Middle Eastern at-home meal kit

This week, we tried a DIY delivery kit from a much-loved Liverpool restaurant.

Popular Middle Eastern restaurant, Maray has launched their at-home meal kit and they are now delivering nationwide.

The box which serves two people and costs £45, includes a selection of mezze, a falafel kit and either lamb kofta or aubergine shawarma, as well as a lemon and lime posset for dessert.

We had the lamb and the falafel, which were each very easy to put together. Simply pop on the gloves provided, divide and roll. Both beautifully spiced, the lamb especially smelled gorgeous while frying in the pan.

Each came with little pouches of sauces and sides, the lamb with tahini and a rich cherry sauce and the falafel comes with tabbouleh and a spicy sauce to drizzle on top.

The mezze, which simply needs to be assembled and plated, includes; wonderfully creamy hummus topped with chermoula, pomegranate, pumpkin seeds and sumac; whipped goats cheese with fresh grapes and mini breadsticks for dipping; a fattoush salad with tomato, radish, cucumber, feta, crispy flatbread pieces and fresh herbs. There are also pickles, spicy cashews and flatbread.

Wines and ready-mixed cocktails can also be ordered with the box. We tried two of the cocktails, the Saffron Negroni and Prickly Pear, which come in small bottles ready to pour over ice and garnish.

The box is really well thought out with just enough prep to feel like a fun activity, but not too much that it uses every pot and utensil in the kitchen and leaves you with loads of washing up.

Tom White, co-founder of Maray, said: “We’ve road tested loads of boxes from across the UK and have loved the attention to detail and experience, especially from the likes of Sabor, Arabica and Elite Bistro’s. Gary from Elite went as far as inviting us into the kitchen to see how they put their boxes together.

“We’ve had such great support from our customers and community, so we really hope these boxes bring a bit of a smile back to people’s faces over the next few weeks. We’ve tried to pour as much Maray into them as possible, from the second you tear off the tape, we want you to enjoy yourself.’’

The boxes are delivered weekly on Fridays and Saturdays. Orders close at midday on Wednesdays for the following weekend.

If you’d like to order, visit their website: home.maray.co.uk.

What to Eat #7 – The Butcher’s Quarter burgers

To help boost trade over the challenging lockdown period, one Northern Quarter butcher has taken to the streets, serving takeaway meals to passers-by.

The Butcher’s Quarter on Tib Street has opened a burger van outside their shop; a purpose-built BBQ van with a metal hatch which lifts up to reveal an open grill balanced over pools of white hot coals.

The artisan butcher and cheesemonger has used some of their finest ingredients to create this mighty fine burger.

It consists of 100% dry aged beef patties and melted raclette cheese, topped with homemade miso mayo, pickled red onion and gherkins, inside soft brioche buns from Companio bakery in Ancoats.

The burger van is normally open from 12-4pm Friday to Sunday during lockdown. This weekend, the BBC are filming on Tib Street on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 November and so if you want these delicious Butcher’s Quarter burgers, you’ll have to get down on Friday. The BBQ van will reopen as normal next weekend.

The Butcher’s Quarter shop itself is open Tuesday to Sunday with amended hours over the lockdown period. This weekend, it will be open 8am to 12pm on Saturday 22 November due to the filming.

For further updates, visit their Instagram page.

What to eat #6 – An unexpected favourite from Porta Salford

Our favourite dish this week was a bit of an unexpected hit among the EATMCR team.

We found it when we visited the Salford tapas bar, Porta. A simple dish consisting of long slices of Picos de Europa blue cheese served with golden candied walnuts and sultanas, and drizzled in honey.

It’s a beautiful contrast of flavours and textures, the sharp hit of blue cheese and the slight bitterness of the candied walnuts, brought together beautifully with the sweetness of the honey and sultana.

This dish just shows you want Porta is all about: the very best ingredients, handled with care and served in a relaxed environment.

The menu here is simple with a few special dishes rotated in like the Spanish black pudding with fried egg. Everything we had felt like best of the best, the best quality produce served the right way. And that’s exactly what we’re after from a place like this.

An independent restaurant, Porta was started by two brother in a cosy spot in Altrincham. The idea they had was to open a simple tapas bar, a place for casual dining where you sit, eat, drink wine and lose track of time.

Now with three restaurants, including Chester and the beautiful and spacious Salford restaurant we visited, which is located in a former Midland bank just down the road from Salford Central in Bexley Square.

For full information and menus for each location, visit: portatapas.co.uk.

What to eat #5 – the Katsu Sando

Manchester’s sandwich game has been significantly raised with the arrival of the Katsu Sando.

New Wave Ramen, who opened their space at Mackie Mayor in July, are the first to bring this Instagram-famous sandwich to Manchester.

Although it sounds a bit like Mancunian slang, ‘sando’ is what sandwiches are commonly referred to as in Japan.

Traditionally made using shokupan (Japanese milk bread), they can be filled with an array of ingredients including meat, egg and even fruit.

The Katsu Sando was first made famous in the UK by London restaurant Tata Eatery.

And, ever since we saw their version take over Instagram feeds, we’ve been hoping some one in Manchester would bring this beauty of a sandwich a little closer to home.

Well, this one certainly didn’t disappoint.

Alongside their menu of ‘craft ramen’ and other Japanese dishes like bao buns, the Katsu Sando is latest addition to New Wave Ramen’s ever-evolving menu.

Described as ‘the perfect lunchtime treat’, the sandwich consists of consists of toasted brioche, crumbed pork belly, plum tonkatsu and a zesty yuzu cabbage slaw.

There are limited numbers of this dish available every day, so make sure you get down to Mackie Mayor before they go.

Mackie Mayor is not taking bookings so it’s walk-ins only from 11am to 10pm Tuesday to Friday, 9am to 10pm on Saturday, 9am to 6pm on Sunday and closed on Mondays.

What to eat #4 – the daily chef’s special at Evelyn’s

This week’s suggestion of what to eat in Manchester is not actually any one dish in particular.

Northern Quarter café-bar, Evelyn’s has come up with a new concept where head chef Phil Cardy create a new dish each day, based on … well, whatever the hell the kitchen team feel like cooking.

The first of many specials that the head chef is planning to work on was a ‘Beef Bennie’ – a toasted English muffin was topped with shredded fresh slaw, roast beef, a poached egg and smothered with miso hollandaise sauce.

This was followed by a lobster roll – buttered lobster stuffed inside a toasted brioche bun with wasabi Marie Rose sauce and fresh salad.

The chef’s special dish will be served alongside Evelyn’s regular brunch, lunch and dinner menus.

There will be limited availability and the dishes will be rotated often. So, once it’s gone, it’s really gone.

For more information and to book, visit: evelynscafebar.com.

What To Eat #3 Long Live The Jambon-Beurre

Next on the list of the best things we put in our mouths is the ‘Jamon Beurre’ served fresh & daily at the Butcher’s Quarter in the NQ, an artisan butchers, cheesemongers and tasting room. All the curated produce on offer is seriously high grade from some of Europes highest pedigree artisan producers, whilst the meat is sourced within a 20 mile radius, including their grass fed beef which is aged in house, as well as free range chicken and pork.

All the components for the perfect sandwich exist within the four walls of Butcher’s Quarter. It’s no surprise then, with skill and nous, these guys combined said ingredients to create what we think is the best sandwich on offer in the Northern Quarter.

Jambon-Beurre

The quintessentially Gallic ‘Jambon-Beurre’ is more than a French staple, in fact, they go nuts for it. Selling 3 million of them every day of the week. Second only to the hamburger in terms of national demand, thanks to Ronald for knocking off this classic from the top spot.

The daughter of the owner lives in Paris, and it was there in neighbourhood boulangerie ‘Charactre De Cochon’ on Rue Charlot in the 3rd Arrondisement, that they discovered the buttery baguette. So simple but so good. The team decided to bring it to the Northern Quarter.

A real bite, silky smooth beurre and a delicate hint of Dijon.

Butcher’s NQ have mastered balancing the pure quality of the ingredients on offer. The perfect crispy baguette from Companio Bakery using 100% French flour, silky smooth raw Bungay butter (from a breed of Montbéliarde cows in the UK) and traditional roast ham from Hall & Roberts who have been curing perfect hams for over 30 years.

All lovingly served up with classic Dijon mustard and pickled cornichons.

For us. This sandwich is perfect. A real bite of french bread, a burst of silky butter with a delicate hint of Dijon heat and of course the ham.

Even better than the tastes is the value. At just £3.75 a pop. Pourquoi pas?

Long live the Jambon-Beurre.