Swap dry turkey and mushy sprouts for tiger’s tears, tacos and jerky birds
Had enough of mushy sprouts, dried out turkey and packet stuffing? Then you’ll be thrilled to know that a number of Manchester restaurants are offering more globally diverse yuletide scran over the festive period.
Christmas is celebrated across the globe, so it’s only right that we enter into the spirit of world peace and understanding by pigging out on a range of international cuisine.
Get ready for something a little different this year.
WAHACA - #TacosNotTurkey (20 Nov-24 Dec)
The Mexican chain of restaurants will be launching two group feasting menus protesting against the same old turkey and sprouts, opting instead for ‘tacos not turkey’, ‘salsa not sprouts’ and ‘margaritas not mulled wine’.
Served family-style with sharing plates and make-your-own taco boards, they are perfect for getting into the festive spirit of sharing and socialising. Both start with classic guacamole and corn tortilla chips and end with Wahaca’s legendary churros y chocolate.
‘The Rebellion Banquet’ (£30 pp) will kick off with a selection of street food starters to share, followed by ‘make your own tacos’ feasting boards where diners can choose from a range of seasonal fillings, such as: confit duck legs in a Veracruzan sauce; slow-cooked beef shin, spiced with anise & cinnamon; carrot and celeriac tinga in a smoky tomato sauce (v) or roast winter vegetables with white sesame pipan (v). Accompaniments include chipotle cauliflower cheese; chipotle meco, spiced cranberry & tomatillo salsas; twice-cooked black beans, and lots of warm tortillas to wrap it all up in.
‘The Revolutionist’s Feast’ (£25 pp) will also feature a selection of street food plates to share, with highlights including: Wahaca’s signature slow-cooked pork pibil tacos; roasted sweet potato, caramelised onion and feta taquitos; smoked salmon tostadas with avocado.
A line-up of freshly shaken seasonal margaritas and cocktails will be available, alongside the very best selection of Mexican tequila and mezcal, as well as buckets of beers and pitchers for large groups.
Wahaca, The Corn Exchange, Exchange Square, M4 3TR - Tel: 0161 413 7493
CHILLI BANANA - Thai sharing menu (27 Nov-30 Dec)
Get your taste buds tingling with a bit of Thai food this festive season. Chilli Banana is offering a sharing menu at £28.50 per person with no less than ten different dishes to blow the winter cobwebs away.
Get stuck into starters including satay gai - marinated chicken with peanut sauce and cucumber pickle; pla meuk tod glua – salt and pepper squid with sweet chilli dip; sua rong hai - ‘tiger's tears‘, or rump steak with chilli dip; po pia tod - spring rolls; or yam pak polamai - tropical Thai fruit and vegetable dressed salad.
Main courses include honey roast duck with a rich Penang curry; chicken stir fried chicken with fresh green chilli and onions on a sizzling platter; catfish with chilli paste and green beans; heavenly beef with crispy basil leaves and KOW steamed fragrant rice.
Chilli Banana are also putting on a one off family Christmas buffet Sunday lunch Thai style on 17th December between 12pm-3pm, prices at £30 per adult and £15 per child.
Chilli Banana, 71 Water Lane, Wilmslow, SK9 5BQ, or Lapwing Lane, Didsbury, M20 6UR
TURTLE BAY - Jerky Turkey; a sunshine inspired, Caribbean Christmas experience (13 Nov-31 Dec)
Can’t afford to take the family to the Caribbean this year? No problem, Turtle Bay will bring island life to you with an abundance of rum, reggae, jerk, and the party sounds of the Caribbean. The Caribbean Christmas collection is a trio of laid-back eating options full of beautiful soul food and famous cocktails inspired by Caribbean sunshine.
‘The Festive Platters’ (£9 pp) offer a chilled out, social eating experience with a selection of Turtle Bay’s most popular dishes served with a range of delicious sides. Perfect together with any of Turtle Bay’s legendary rum cocktails or with a cooler of Caribbean craft beers, bubbles or wine. The new drinks packages mean that all this can be pre-ordered, and be waiting on the table as guests arrive.
‘The Festive Lunch’ (£15 pp) is a three-course Caribbean bonanza including crispy okra, Jamaican browned chicken and Caymanas upside down cake, or dial down the spice a little with garlic flatbread, the famous Turtle Bay street burger and dark chocolate brownies.
‘The All-Day four course Christmas Menu’ (£24 pp) is a tropical-festive, island-inspired experience which begins with a range of sharing dishes to graze on, followed by a succulent Caribbean banquet of three courses including Turtle Bay’s famous jerk chicken.
Turtle Bay, 46-50 Oldham Street, Northern Quarter, M4 1LE Tel: 0161 235 8411
CABANA - Feliz Natal, Christmas Rio style (6 Nov–7 Jan)
Cabana’s Christmas menus and drinks packages have been designed to get you in the Christmas carnival spirit. They recommend getting the party started with a Winter Berry Caipirinha cocktail or Merry Berry Refresco on arrival, followed by a set price menu of 2 courses (£19.95 pp) or 3 courses (£23.95).
Street food starters include pulled turkey croquetas and chargrilled prawns basted with spicy malagueta sauce and guacamole.
This will be followed by Brazilian-inspired skewers including cranberry barbecue turkey wrapped in bacon and glazed with sweet and fruity marinade, vegetarian mushroom and halloumi, and spicy chicken marinated in Malagueta sauce.
Even the accompaniments have been given a Rio-style makeover with creamed sprouts with farofa crumbs, vegetable crisps and cassava chips.
Cabana, The Corn Exchange, Exchange Square, M4 3TR
TAPEO & WINE - Feliz Navidad; Spanish Xmas (from now to 23 Dec)
Tapeo and Wine are offering no less than four special Christmas menus offering an authentic Spanish dining experience:
Christmas Tapas menu (£25.90 pp) offers a selection of ten tapas to share including a selection of cured meats, ham croquetas, padron peppers, patatas bravas, squid, prawns and meatballs. After this, the group can tuck into giant traditional paella Valenciana with chicken and rabbit, rounded off with hot churros with thick Spanish dipping chocolate.
Holly Xmas menu (£29.90 pp) starts with pan con tomate, followed by a selection of cured Iberico meats and cheeses, cream of butternut squash with ham and a dish of roast cod loin with vegetable ratatouille. The main event is Cochinillio, or suckling pig, with a creamy caramelised rice pudding to finish.
Ivy Xmas menu (£39.90 pp) brings a selection of pates to share followed by warm octopus salad, piquillo peppers and black pudding and a course of roast hake on mixed roast peppers. The main course is slow roast lamb with creamy vegetable potlenta followed by a duo of desserts including Christmas compote and cinnamon churros.
The Mistletoe menu (£59.90 pp) is the most luxurious of the four, if you’re in the mood to push the boat out. After a welcome glass of Cava comes a selection of meats and cheese, grilled shrimps, gratinéed scallops in the shell and sea bass with a lobster glaze. Tenderloin of beef topped with foie is the centrepiece, and this Spanish feast ends with traditional caramalised bread pudding.
Tapeo and Wine, 209 Deansgate, M3 3NW Tel: 0161 832 2770