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LAUNCHES in Spinningfields so you won’t run dry on your work’s night out, Nico Simeone unveils his lastest mad idea for a winter Wonderland at Six by Nico – and forget Veganuary, scratch Movember; it’s all about Veganovember these days…
Yes Halloween is done and dusted, but, thanks to some kind of witchcraft, there are still a few spirits (well, Bacardi) knocking around until Sunday. Head to The Alchemist Spinningfields for their special cocktails using the award-winning rum (the one with the bat logo): the White Witch – which mixes Bacardi Carta Blanca with velvet falernum, Chartreuse yellow, sugar syrup, lime and toasted sage – and the smokin’ (no really, it’s got smoke coming off it, and bubbles, natch) Witch Doctor, with Bacardi Carta Negra, Caribbean pineapple, winter syrup and soda. It’s all going voodoo in the Northern Quarter as well, where the Almost Famous Halloween Special Menu is proffering for sacrifice the Halloween Zombie (Bacardi Carta Blanca and Bacardi Spiced, cherry heering, falernum, bitters, absinthe, pineapple, grapefruit) and pumpkin spiced Latte (Bacardi Spiced, pumpkin Monin, Kahlua, espresso, ice cream, milk, whipped cream, biscoff crumb, salted caramel). Batshit crazy.
The cup overfloweth
Saturday sees Starbucks rolling out its now annual #RedCupDay, and homegrown small batch gin brand Thomas Dakin – known for its distinctive red style – is getting in on the act by filling festive beakers with Tom & Tonics. Get yourself over to Impossible on Peter Street from noon, where it’s free G&Ts galore – staff will be handing out red paper cups which can be exchanged at the bar for a freebie, with subsequent top-ups available for half price. Also proudly nailing their colours to the post on Saturday are England sports fans as the red rose-brandishing team take on South Africa in the Rugby World Cup. So if you need an excuse, you can raise your red cup to them…
Move over Movember
As we hopped out of bed this morning screeching “Rabbits” and “Pinch, punch, first of the…”, we knew World Vegan Month was upon us. Veganuary is so last season – November is the time to be swapping out our meat and dairy for leafy green veg and the myriad delights of Seitan. With its veggie-inspired name, the Corn Exchange is taking the lead in Manchester, showcasing the plant-based plates that’ll help you with your healthy inspiration. There are oodles of noodles at Pho and Tampopo, vegan pasta at Vapiano and the Vegan Giardiniera at Pizza Express, the new Mushroom Enchilada at Mexican-inspired Wahaca, the famous Mowgli Chip Butty and vegan fish and chips at Cosy Club, who picked up the best vegan fish gong at the 2019 PETA awards with their battered nori-wrapped tofu.
From Alice in Wonderland...
Back to those white rabbits, and Nico Simeone has announced a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party theme for the next Six by Nico menu, taking bookings from Tuesday 12th November to Sunday 22nd December. Eat Me, Drink Me is the opening course – a mushroom consomme, empire biscuit, parmesan truffle, white kappa and quince. The six-course tasting menu (all appropriately Alice entitled) continues with a chicken liver parfait, steak tartare, a fish dish of sole and black garlic emulsion, and pork fillet with spiced prune. Topping it all is the Queen Of Hearts (above): white chocolate mousse, red velvet cake, raspberries and pecan brittle. Over to Nico himself: "If you're after a magical food adventure then our latest theme at Six by Nico is for you. Guests throughout November and the festive period will be transported down the rabbit hole to enjoy our whimsical dining experience as we present the magical world of Alice in Wonderland with our Mad Hatters Tea Party."
...to winter wonderland
A new winter visitor will be spreading seasonal joy in Spinningfields’ Hardman Square from next Friday, when the creators of The Lawn Club open the doors to The Tavern. Promising an “exciting new venue” and “the perfect place to shake off the cold and celebrate with friends this winter”, the pop-up log cabin will offer an Alpine-style retreat in the heart of the city centre, complete with twinkling lights, fur rugs and an abundance of (wait for it) oompah spirit. With a range of frosty biers in stein glasses, warm cider and mulled wine, and hot cocktails being served from noon until late every day, be sure to clad those stomachs with Bavarian bites such as German-style Bratwurst and chicken Schnitzel. Anthony Ellis, founder of the London-based WePop company behind the concept, said: “We think it’s something the people of Manchester will love!”
On the other side of Spinningfields, "excitement awaits" - so says the holding page for BLVD Manchester, and we’re not sure we can contain ourselves. Taking over the doomed former Neighbourhood space (for which the Spinningfields website kindly states *Please note that this venue is temporarily closed*) on the ground floor of The Avenue North, BLVD (pronounced, we’re presuming, “boulevard”) will be enjoying a VIP launch a week on Thursday, with an actual opening date of Friday 15th November. Words being used to describe the late-night gaff (news of which heralds talk of modern all-day premium food, superior cocktails and dynamic nightly entertainment) include “super-luxe” and “super-slick.” Super.
Dough nuts head north
So that’s it for Umezushi, and now The Spärrows are taking off too, leaving behind Mirabel Street tucked away below Victoria Station to migrate north to Red Bank, joining the likes of Beatnikz Republic Brewing Co and Three Rivers Gin in the railway arches sandwiched between the Green Quarter and Angel Meadows. Nominated in the Affordable Eats Venue category at this year’s Manchester Food and Drink Awards, The Spärrows have been dishing up delicious dough in the form of spätzle, gnocchi and pierogi, noodles, dumplings and pasta since February. The tiny 12-seater dining space and deli shuts up shop this Sunday, with pop-ups and outside catering gigs until the new pad is ready.
We’re genuinely sorry to hear via the interwebs that Paco Perez’s right-hand man at King Street Spanish Tast, head chef Miquel Villacrosa, is off to pastures new. We wish him all the very best in his new ventures.