Smashing pumpkins, banging curries and popping corks - it's a lively one
Despite all the uncertainty of looming lockdowns and tears for tiers, things don't seem to have slowed down too much in the restaurant industry. Venues keep coming up with imaginative ideas, chefs keep creating new dishes and one venue is even offering a dog-friendly Sunday lunch for any hounds in your household.
Feast your eyes on this bumper edition of food stories, events and happenings.
With Christmas office parties and get togethers unlikely to be possible this year. Manchester’s San Carlo has come up with an alternative for those looking to share the love this festive season. For the same budget per head as the average Christmas set lunch or dinner with a drink, you can send a San Carlo Christmas celebration gift box. Each luxurious turquoise gift box features a San Carlo gold embossed gift card preloaded with £30, £40 or £50 to be used at any San Carlo restaurant (except Selfridges and House of Fraser) plus a choice of 20cl Prosecco DOC or San Carlo’s own label 10cl pre-mixed Negroni and a gift bag of confectionery. Gift boxes are available to pre-order now, shipping in November and December. For individual boxes go here or email for bespoke/bulk orders.
Vermilion dollar menu
Vermilion peacocked onto the scene back in 2007 with its Asian fusion menu and lavish interior. Now it's hired consultant chef Bobby Geetha to create a new menu. Geetha has form, in 2016 he became the only South Indian chef to make the final 10 in BBC’s Masterchef: The Professionals. He brings his signature blend of cutting edge technique and authentic spicing to Vermilion’s new 20-dish menu, which launches on Thursday October 22. In his previous role overseeing the upmarket Asha’s restaurant empire across the Middle East and Europe, Bobby explored India’s regions from the the Punjab and Ladakh to Mumbai and Delhi, reaching far beyond his Keralan roots to create Michelin-sharp, progressive Indian cuisine. The team at Vermillion say 'Manchester will never have experienced a take on the subcontinent’s culinary riches quite like this.' We tried it this week and it was very good indeed.
Gourd Rock Cafe
This Halloween, Hard Rock Cafe® Manchester will be accepting carved pumpkins as a form of currency between 26th October and 1st November. Guests purchasing a main meal from the à la carte menu who present their carved pumpkin to the team will receive a meal from the popular kid’s Roxtars Menu free of charge. Families that bring in their pumpkins will also receive a free surprise goody bag packed with activities and sweets for children to enjoy. For additional information about Hard Rock Cafe Manchester or to make a reservation, visit the website.
Keep korma and curry on
Gujarati street food and craft beer joint Bundobust has added some new Curry House Classics to its menu. The specials include their own version of, Britain’s favourite, Tikka Masala with chargrilled squash instead of chicken, a vegan take on Saag Aloo and a reincarnation of their house-masala-dusted, bite-sized poppadoms & pickles - served with the holy trinity of mango chutney, onion & tomato relish, and a green apple achaar. Vegetable pilau and a sweet and spicy peshwari paratha filled with coconut, sultanas and nuts have also been added to the menu. All of these specials are available together along with a portion of classic Bhajis for just £20 in the Curry House Combo. These specials are only available until 1st Nov so curry up if you want to try them.
Honest Burgers has launched a new special, The Wellington, to their Manchester restaurant. It comprises a classic Honest beef patty with smoked bacon and topped with 12-month-aged Owd Yonner Lancashire cheese, béarnaise butter, crispy gluten-free pastry, bacon gravy, mushroom duxelles, baby spinach and pickles. It costs £13 including a portion of rosemary chips and can be made entirely gluten-free by switching to a gluten free bun. The permanent new addition has been over a year in the making, with Kris from the Manchester kitchen team arduously tasting over 15 cheeses from Greater Manchester and Lancashire with local hero Jonathan Pearcey AKA The Crafty Cheese Man. The Wellington is best enjoyed alongside Manchester-based Alphabet Brewing Co.’s A to the K American-style pale ale. It's also available via click + collect, Deliveroo and Uber Eats so you can welly in front of the telly.
Stockport’s Where The Light Gets In has launched a series of workshop residencies curated by artist Kat Wood. They aim to ‘open up the debate about the relationships between food and the environment, economic and social concerns, as well as notions of both cooking and eating as performative acts.’ First, on the 25th of October there’s a felt bowl making workshop hosted by Joanne Wood, a hill farmer and shepherd based in Derbyshire. This workshop aims to promote the Campaign For Wool and Fair Price For Farmers and to encourage creating direct relationships between farmers and makers, sharing skills and utilising waste by-products of the agricultural industry. Attendance numbers are kept small to both adhere to social distancing guidelines and to enable one-on-one time with the tutors. All tools, materials, locally sourced wool from a variety of breeds reared by Joanne in the peak district national park are included. Natural wine on arrival and snacks provided. Go here for more info.
Man with a san
A Prestwich couple have launched SANSAN, a food delivery service catering to homeworkers, self-isolators and those in need of a break from the kitchen. Inspired by their travels, Sam and Melissa have put together a small selection of sandwiches from around the world. Highlights include a Korean-style buttermilk chicken burger or an Elvis-inspired sourdough 'wae sando’ with bacon, peanut butter and spiced banana chutney. Customers can place orders via text or WhatsApp between 7am-10am for free, same day delivery by bicycle within M25 before 1:30pm. SANSAN will also be opening a pop-up inside The Crooked Man Bar, Prestwich Village with a menu of favourites from their weekday offering plus seasonal specials and snacks.
Isolating students at Manchester Met are receiving deliveries of staple instant noodles from itsu. The healthier fast food brand sent hundreds of products to students and is looking to extend the deliveries if more go into lockdown. It is inviting isolating students to share pictures of their empty store cupboards to be in with a chance of receiving their own SOS delivery. Students taking part must tag @itsuofficial and use the hashtag #SOSitsudelivery by the 31st October to be in with the chance of receiving one of 10 deliveries. But that’s not all, On Monday 19th October between 12-2pm, itsu is celebrating the launch of its brand-new klean'katsu by giving away 574 of the hot dish to customers who quote the password 'my new favourite' at the till. Handed out on a first come, first served basis, the total given away reflects the number of calories in the dish; with 574 being half the calories of its deep-fried cousins.
The Xmas markets might be off the cards but Freight Island is bringing its own winter wonderland to Mayfield Depot this year. Launching on Thursday 12th November, this will be the UK’s largest fully outdoor, heated market. The 1,500sqft heated garden tent - shadowed by a 45ft Christmas tree - will welcome new stalls including Great North Pie Co, a bratwurst grill, a traditional hog roast, a mulled wine & hot cider hut, a local chocolatier and and artisan cheese stall. There will also be weekly Christmas cabaret from The Untold Orchestra performing David Bowie and Stevie Wonder songs, a big brass band Disney sing-along, an installation by Lightopia and children’s events from The Playhouse Project and Born to be Wild Child. This further expansion follows The Ticket Hall which is due to open on 30th October.
Al you can eat
Albert’s Schloss has two events planned for this weekend. On Saturday 17th 11am-2pm there’s a bottomless brunch in collaboration with Rudy’s Neapolitan Pizza. Bookings will get ninety minutes of bottomless cocktails, Prosecco or bier alongside endless Neapolitan pizza from next door. Tickets are £29.50pp. On Sunday 18th, in the Musik Hall there’s a bottomless ‘Sunday luncheon’ of slow cooked beef brisket or wild mushroom nut loaf (ve) with creamed potato, seasonal vegetables, braised red cabbage, Yorkshire pudding and gravy. To drink are a choice of Bloody Marys, Espresso Martinis, Prosecco, wine & pilsner. Bookings are available from 12-3pm and it costs £24.50pp. Haus DJs will be spinning ‘all the Sunday bangers’.
Dinner's in the dog
Following a successful series of Drag Brunches, Peru Peru now takes on the Sunday Roast. Every Sunday from 12pm - 5pm, guests can choose from three roast options, all £16: beef - Churrasco Picanha, chicken – Pollo la Brasa and vegan chimichurri cauliflower with truffle gravy. Peru Perdu will also serve a complimentary dog Sunday roast, with the option of chicken or beef, veg and bone gravy when two or more guests are dining with a pooch. Bottomless Bloody Marys will also be available for £15 per person as well as a selection of desserts such as a dulce de leche cheesecake with meringue. Bookings advised.
Community Kitchen On The Square, the alfresco dining project from Great Northern, is coming to an end. For the final two weekends, Ardwick’s ARMR Store will be serving up a menu of Caribbean-inspired, plant-based dishes serving 4pm-9pm Fridays (16th and 23rd October) and 1pm-9pm Saturdays (17th and 24th). On the menu are pizzas topped with jackfruit and caramelised plantain, oyster mushroom ‘wings’ coated in a jerk BBQ sauce and an ackee medley featuring mac ‘no’ cheese. Walk-ins are welcome. The kitchen is under shelter but it’s advised to wrap up warm. It’s your last chance to support the independent traders here.
Anyway, for the rest of October, we plan on seeing as many of you as we can and enjoying it thoroughly. Then we will turn our attention to takeaway and Christmas retail. We are not giving up, rather we are taking matters into our own hands. pic.twitter.com/HDmrCyEfoj
— The Moorcock Inn Norland (@norlandmoorcock) October 15, 2020
The Moorcock has announced that it will close temporarily from Nov 2nd. In an emotional social media post, the sustainably driven gastro-pub in Sowerby Bridge (reviewed here) talked of the uncertainty and disruption that a shambolic government approach to combating covid-19 has caused. It said: “While national and local restrictions have become ingrained in all of our lives, the most recent succession of restrictions has had a significant and cumulative, negative effect on our business. The curfew; just one example, implemented with almost no notice, wiped out 30% of our (new) normal sales for the week.” Read the whole thread above and do book if you can for October.