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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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…
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 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.
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.
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.
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.