Great eats around Manchester in 2016

To make a change, this post is going to be about other people making food for me, rather than my cooking.  I take loads of photos of food when dining out (I know, I’m one of *those* people) and while looking through my snaps, thought I’d give a shout out to some of the places that have fed me well over the last year or so.

This blog is totally NOT about praising restaurants in order to suck up and get free things. Yuck. I did include some review posts when I started this blog some years ago , but quickly realised that I’d much rather write about the stuff I was cooking – so this is not going to be a regular occurence and I haven’t received ANYTHING in terms of payment or discounts while eating out. So these recommendations are 100% unbiased and mine.

For a start, I’m not qualified to review anything. I’m just one enthusiastic home cook, so my opinion doesn’t really mean very much However, I love eating out, especially around my hometown of Manchester, so if you *are* interested in my opinion, here is a round up of some places I’ve been to with great eats:  (that are still open – I could have filled a whole post with pictures of tasty food from Splendid Kitchen. I miss Pizza Fries.)

 

BREAKFAST/BRUNCH

 

Here you will find the best fry-ups known to God and Man. I always get the Irish fry with extra spam, because if you’re going to order fried filth, you should do it properly. The best hangover cure in town and now that they’ve moved to a bigger venue (and more recently, refurbed it), there’s less of a wait for a table. Proper job.

koffee-pot
Full Irish with extra spam

I actually prefer their new venue at the Great Northern to their NQ place. It’s bigger, no wait and there’s an outside area for those rare sunny days we get. It’s also the home of my favourite brunch dish in Manchester, the ‘Sun Devil Scrambler’. Their brunch menu is really varied and tasty and we always take guests from out of town there on a Sunday morning as it is always a hit.

This is fairly new antipodean themed place on High Street that is a nightmare to get a table at. We’ve only managed to go once for food and once for gin. Both were great experiences. I loved the sweetcorn fritters on the brunch menu and the coffee was top notch.

Sweetcorn fritters with bacon

 

TREAT DAY LUNCHES

 

  • ZORBAS

Zorbas is a greek take away in Manchester Arndale Market that sell traditional greek food including gyros and hot dishes like moussaka and stews with rice. I eat mainly low carb, and the gyros salad from Zorbas is one of the more tasty and filling options open to me.

Zorbas Gyro Salad
Zorbas Gyro Salad

Based at The Kitchens is ‘Well Hung’, who specialise in steak dishes. I popped down for lunch and got this steak sandwich with blue cheese and loved it.

Steak and blue cheese sandwich
Steak and blue cheese sandwich

 

CASUAL EATS

 

Still the best burgers to be had in Manchester, even with the 5000+ burger joints that have opened in Manchester in the last few years.  My general enthusiasm for making everything into a burger disappeared some time ago, but when you want the genuine article, their Famous burger can’t be beat. Like Home Sweet Home, they have a branch in the northern quarter and another one at the Great Northern. I prefer the branch at the northern quarter as I think both the burgers and the service are better.

This is my favourite thai place in Manchester, hands down. I love Pad Thai and have tried in most thai places in Manchester – their crispy belly pork version can simply not be bettered. The food is also plentiful and reasonably priced.

Pie and Ale has gone through a few changes in concept since we started going a few years ago. Once just about the pie and ale, it now shows the football (great for Kieran, not so much for me) and has outdoor seating and a bigger bar area to make it a drinks destination as well as for the food. The pies themselves though are still just as good as when we first went and are reasonably priced. I like that they often have interesting choices on the menu. We took my mum and step dad and my mum ordered a crocodile pie and my step dad had a chocolate brownie with bacon (which I tried and to my surprise did actually work.)

This place is kind of indian/british fusion and I was very keen to try it as it’s completely different from most other places that have opened up in the northrn quarter. I’ve only been once so far but loved it and will be going back soon.

Masala sea bream with chickpeas

 

FINE DINING

 

This Michelin starred restaurant is at Northcote Manor, which is Langho, near Blackburn. Kieran and I stayed there for a night and dined in the restaurant. The whole experience was lovely and relaxing and the meal itself was delicious, especially the guinea fowl and roedeer courses. We also had breakfast the next morning, which included the best black pudding I have ever eaten. I even went so far as to ask for the name of the supplier, which the waiter duly told me and I promptly forgot.

 

An obvious inclusion on the list. We’ve been three times now, once for dinner and twice for lunch and each time we got michelin quality food and great service. The below is one of the lunch menus, where I had what is possibly the best dessert I’ve ever had. It was based on cucumber and beetroot so wasn’t overly sweet and it looked so pretty that I’ve had this picture as my phone screensaver ever since.

 

Hawksmoor is undeniably on the expensive, but it’s absolutely the best steak you’ll find in Manchester. We’ve been for lunch and then for dinner where Kieran and I shared a massive t-bone steak between us. Kieran says it’s the best steak he’s ever had, which is praise indeed!

 

IF YOU’RE NOT MANC, YOU’RE….

 

This is the best of the rest – the places I’ve been to this year not in our fair city, but am unable to write a post about the best places I’ve eaten this year without giving them a mention.

This is easily the best meal I ate in the last year. From start to finish, the food was challenging and suprising to the senses and all tasted fantastic.

 

So I booked a trip to Copenhagen with the idea of getting a table at Noma for Kieran’s birthday. Little did I know that they would decide to move the whole operation to AUSTRALIA for the whole month of January. I was not happy. Thankfully, our meal at Formel B was delicious and Kieran had a great birthday.

Hands down the best barbecue food I’ve ever eaten. Devastated that this place is in another country.

On a business trip to Warsaw, we went to Senses. The food was all very extravagant, finishing with a shed load of dry icewith the dessert, which always has the ‘ooooh’ factor. Portion sizes were good too, much more than you’d get over here.

We went for lunch during a trip to Edinburgh which we thoroughly enjoyed. Locality and seasonality are the key aspects of the concept so they give you a little map showing you where the ingredients came from which was a nice touch.

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