I don’t know if it’s because we’re all severely holiday deficient at the moment but wandering around Manchester in this weather (if you squint ever so slightly), we could just be abroad.
And what’s the best holiday activity? Correct. Eating and drinking everything in sight.
So let’s go. Here are some of our favourite things to get in Manchester in the sun – including some suggestions from you lot.
Ok, first up in this heat, it’s got to be ice cream. And for somewhere as notoriously rainy as Manchester, we’ve got a pretty great selection of places to get a few scoops of the cold stuff.
Serving at both their Ducie Street and Hatch sites, Gooey‘s cereal milk soft serve is the perfect heatwave snack. It’s like a 99 from your local ice cream van with an added dose of nostalgia. It’s made by local ice cream maker Rogue Ice Cream and is quite frankly, delicious.
Also doing soft serve at the moment are Siop Shop who have been dolloping maple soft serve onto their donuts at their Tib Street shop. Lovely.
Across the road, the newly opened Lazy Sundae on Tib Street serves a range of scoops inspired by their owners travels including Mango Mochi, Matca and Earl Grey Biscoff. There’s also bubble tea, soufflé pancakes and pineapple bao buns filled with milk tea ice cream.
Talking of ice cream sandwiches, Nell’s has got their own version, made using Cheshire Farm Ice Cream sandwiched between Nell’s signature cookies. Choose from salted caramel, cookies and cream, red velvet and vegan chocolate. Find them at Common and The Beagle.
Also on that ice cream sandwich hype are Sicilian NQ serve scoops of classic Italian gelato wedged inside a sweet brioche bun. Flavours include pistachio, chocolate, stracciatella, vanilla, strawberry and more.
For more classic Italian gelato, head over to Taste It on Blackfriars Road in Salford run by Italian husband and wife team Simona and Gianfranco. The flavours change daily and include Bronte Pistachio DOP, Ricotta and Pears, and Espresso, as well as a range of vegan gelato and sorbet.
In my opinion, the key to food in the sun is that when you close your eyes, you need to feel like you’re abroad. You need to trick your taste buds into believing you’re in Italy, Spain, Mexico or whichever cuisine/destination you choose.
The Fritto Misto from Salvi’s is just made for eating in the sun; a mix of battered calamari, prawns and courgette, served in a paper cone. While we’re at it, we’ll take one of their loaded apertivo boards which come with three types of mozzarella, cured meats, olives and bread. And an Aperol Spritz with that, thanks.
The Italians just absolutely kill it when it comes to food in the sunshine though don’t they? A Neapolitan pizza from Rudy’s, freshly-made pasta dishes from Belzan Pasta Kitchen at Freight Island or arancini from T’arricrii at Hatch – you can’t really go far wrong.
Another favourite among you lot was of course tapas. Specifically at an outdoor table at Bar San Juan in Chorlton or Porta in Salford – both stellar places to sit in the sun and nibble and drink to your heart’s content.
I don’t know about you, but if there’s one food the sun makes me crave, it’s seafood. All this week I’ve just been dreaming of sitting out on that terrace at Oystercatcher with half a dozen oysters and a glass of something cold. Absolute heaven.
Of course, they’ve got lots of other great seafood and fish dishes too, with a weekly changing seasonal menu. At the moment, there’s dishes like Moules Frites, Black Sea Bream and a seafood platter featuring sea bream, red tiger praws, mussels and squid.
Straddling the ice cream and iced coffee divide is the affogato, and you won’t find many better in Manchester than Rudy’s. Their version is a scoop of vanilla ice cream from Ginger’s Comfort Emporium with a shot of hot Italian Kimbo espresso poured over. You can also add a shot of Amaretto. Naughty.
Ginger’s also do their own version of an affogato at their ice cream bar on the first floor of Afflecks.
We also love the Vietnamese iced coffee from both Ca Phe Viet and Pho Cue – dark roasted coffee with condensed milk and topped up with ice. It’s rich, sweet and ice cold. While you’re at it, Vietnamese food is perfect for this weather.
We asked you what drinks you crave in the sun, and the responses were heavily in favour of Margaritas – classic margs, frozen margs, spicy margs, all the margs.
One of our favourites has to be the margaritas from Picos in Mackie Mayor. We went the other day and tried their new Passion Fruit Margarita – fruity, sharp and with a healthy dose of tequila, it’s sunshine in a glass.
Other firm favourites are the frozen Margaritas from Crazy Pedros. The classic is made with El Jimador tequila, Giffard Triple Sec and Supasawa or you can choose from a range of flavours: strawberry; peach and passion fruit; pineapple and pomegranate; watermelon and pink guava; and lychee and grapefruit.
At Ramona, which feels made for this weather, the margaritas have been catching our eye in a big way. They have a happy hour too. Every Thursday & Friday, all their Margaritas are a fiver.
We also spotted the Frozen Marg of the month at Southside Tequila Joint in Withington, a blue lemon sour margarita which comes served in a large glass, complete with a glow stick and Refresher bar – obviously.
With all of the above, obviously make sure you get the respective tacos or pizza from whichever place you’re ordering from. Those margs are strong stuff.
There’s nothing like a crisp, refreshing pint on a hot day. Sometimes, any pint will do, but here are some beers/places to go that we think are particularly great on a hot day.
At the moment, there’s probably nowhere better to have a drink in Manchester in the sun than Stevenson Square. You’ve got outdoor seating from Flok, Eastern Bloc, Hula and more. All primed and ready to pull your pints.
There are too many great beers and breweries to mention but here a couple of beers we’d recommend. From Seven Brothers brewery, there’s the Sabro IPA, which they describe as a “tidal wave of coconut and citrus flavours” and from Cloudwater, their classic pale ale called How Wonderful, it’s bright, juicy and a corker of a beer for a sunny day.
Fell in Chorlton has a cracking selection of beers too, they can be bought from the shop to takeaway or you can sit and drink them on the tables outside. There’s a changing selection of beers available. My personal favourites for this weather are the raspberry sour beer and the Paddler, which is a lemon iced tea Radler; light, zesty and almost too drinkable.
Have a great weekend!
It was supposed to get rainy over the weekend but it now looks set to stay dry, so plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy some food and drink outdoors.
No time like the present though, eh? I’m parched, off to go find an ice cold Marg in the sun.