Monthly Archives: August 2012

Rum Trail 3: A Trilogy Which Doesn’t Disappoint!

They say that three’s a crowd, bad things come in threes and don’t even get me started on the Godfather Pt III but on this occasion… everyone was glad that the Rum Trails have continued for a third outing.

The Liquorists’ are basically offering up food and drink heaven: six rums, six cocktails paired with six food combinations, great bars with specially reserved tables (no waiting) washed down with… in-depth rum knowledge!

I felt educated afterwards, even if my notes were slightly hazy towards the end.

We started at Hula, rather than the originally planned Kosmonaut, where we were met with Plantation Rum taster by Bibendum Spirits and then a gorgeous Plantation Three Star cocktail called the Atlantic Boat Club Daiquiri – order this! Served up with grilled pineapple and banana, for 30 minutes, we were in the Caribbean!

Next up in Keko Moku we tried the 12-year-old El Dorado Rum, which was really something special and I’d rank it in top spot for the night. The cocktail was a Sanguine Swizzle which I could easily have for breakfast every day (not sure what that says about me) and was a combination of the rum, orange juice, blood orange juice and grapefruit juice – massively refreshing!

Althought trying to resist the temptation to get a pulled pork roll from Almost Famous was almost impossible… But we managed and then offed to Odd for a drink which originated in Scotland! Well, it was spirit mixed with more alcohol, that’s how we roll up there.

A sip and a sip

Basically, you have a sip of ale and then a sip of rum, it’s a simple concept but it works. More importantly, it’s something different, I’ve never had it before and any night when I try something new is a good night!

So, the rum was Matusalem with a wedge of fresh lime and the ale was Titanic steerage, which was described as a “quaffing” ale or a “session” beer.

Jamaican Wray & Nephew Rum 63% with Sticky toffee pudding and pineapple fritters… and more rum.

The chocolate truffles in Tusk were truly luxurious and another favourite of mine with 63% Wray and Nephew Jamaican Rum which was followed by a lovely ploughmans-esque platter at The Blue Pig with a Brugal Blanco Apple Daiquiri.

Sharing platter and Apple Daiquiri at The Blue Pig

However, I don’t want to give away too much and describe every detail of the tour as the anticipation is great…. heading off to the next bar not knowing what awaits you is part of the fun.

All this and a unique way to experience some of Manchester’s best bars, then on to Liquorists HQ at 22Redbank which is top secret and really awesome space.

Plenty to choose from at Liquorist HQ

After plenty of rum and plenty of fun the Thai curry at the end of the night is a lifesaver! And it works really well with the Pussers Navy Rum cocktail served up in Navy Mugs with umbrellas and mixed with coconut milk and perhaps pineapple? Somebody might need to clear that up for me, but I do remember that it was delicious!

Speaking of cocktails and food pairing, one of the most important combinations of all is the people! Tom, from The Liquorists, is a great host and sets the tone perfectly for the evening. In a group of around 12-15 like-minded easy-going drinks lovers you’re always going to have a great night.

My final tweet of the night (which I don’t remember sending), simply read: “Wow, on the way home from @TheLiquorists #RumTrail3! Made new friends, tried new drinks… What makes a better night?” I think that sums up the night pretty well.

In summary, what bang do you get for your buck:

  • Six taster glasses of specially selected rums, from El Dorado, Wray and Nephew, Plantation, Brugal, Matusalem and Pussers.
  • Six cocktails, made with said rum.
  • Six food pairings to accompany the drinks.
  • A Thai Curry and Satay Chicken Skewer at Liquorist HQ
  • £5 money-off voucher for Selfridges Exchange Square when buying alcohol.

For just £35, that’s amazing – and that’s coming from a tight-fisted Scot!

Times and Dates for Rum Trail 3:

The Rum Trails will run for six weeks on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings and the trails start at 6pm or 7pm at Hula. Finishing time all depends on you but we arrived back at Liquorists HQ around 10pm for the last cocktail (which doesn’t explain why we didn’t get home until around 1.30am but that’s an entirely different story!).

You can buy tickets here: and follow them on Twitter @TheLiquorists. Once you have booked, you’ll get an e-mail with all the exciting secret information to whet the palate before the big night!

Written by Mel.

Ale and Food Matching by BrewDog & The Deaf Institute

The Deaf Institute is offering up delicious food, expertly matched with BrewDog beer, with a six-course Ale and Food Matching extravaganza for just £20 on Thursday 23rd August!

As a beer (and food) lover, this is one of my favourite ways to try new flavours and pairings. In fact, I first realised that beer had the complexity and variety always attributed to wine, was at a Belgian beer and food tasting session at the Edinburgh Food Festival some years ago.

This is because beer can be brewed with a huge variety of ingredients such as chocolate, coffee, strawberries, coconut and herbs and spices – and this is exactly what Brewdog like to experiment with.

The beer can change the flavour of the food and complement it when consumed alongside it but also, with most of this menu, be included in the cooking process and enrich the food itself.

The Deaf Institute has long been a champion purveyor of good food, serving up quality food for cheap prices but also putting on Gourmet dining events each month and now they want to add beer to the mix!

BrewDog, the Scottish brewers, recently opened its very own bar in Manchester, have always been keen to promote the beer and food combo and now the two have a real treat in store for us.

Brewdog has a restaurant called Musa in Aberdeen which has been matching beer and food before matching beer and food was cool.

Josie, at BrewDog’s North West HQ, said: “Because beer has so many guises we feel it can offer even more of a flavour spectrum than wine! Each hop and malt base gives the beer a different character just as a grape would for wine.

“Our beer dinners in the North West have been really popular. I think people’s perception of beer has really changed in the past few years and matching food with beer is no longer an outlandish idea.”

The Deaf Institute chef, who designed the menu based around the beers, will be preparing the food and Brewdog will talk us through the flavour combinations of each course.

Ticket’s are priced at £20 a head and includes half pints of BrewDog’s draught with your food and also some rarities and special tasters for later in the evening.

To get your tastebuds tingling the menu is as follows:

Mini Yorkshire puddings with pork and sage chipolatas and tomato, apple and 5A.M.chutney. Matched with 5 A.M.

Punk IPA battered haddock goujons with homemade tartare sauce, Matched with Punk IPA

Mature cheddar cheese rarebit. Matched with Hardcore

Individual Lancashire cheese hot pots with homemade pickled Dogma cabbage. Matched with Dogma

Cheeses from near and far with assorted Alice Porter chutneys. Matched with Alice Porter.

Frosted chocolate brownie. Matched with Lost Dog.

If you like the sound of this then buy a ticket online here and get yourself down to The Deaf Institute at 7.00pm on Thursday 23rd August, taste some delicious beers matched with scrummy food and ease yourself into the weekend!

Deaf Institute 135 Grosvenor Street  Manchester M1 7HE

BrewDog Mcr 35 Peter St, Manchester M2 5BG

Written by Mel

Fresco Freddo’s serves up Gelato to Manchester!

MANCHESTER is now home to a new Italian Gelateria serving fresh, traditional and authentic gelato, NOT ice-cream, welcome Fesco Freddo’s Gelateria!

Before you read anymore simply just go there, go there and try the Peanutella. Just. Do. It.

Anyway, the Gelateria opened last night on Oxford Road and serves up some delicious gelato and sorbets and full-bodied Kimbo coffee, a more unknown Italian brand of coffee which really hits the spot.

With over 20 lovely variations of gelato and sorbet flavours including (my personal favourite) Pistachio, chocolate and coconut and Freddo’s very own Peanutella. And, if you love their gelato so much they can sell you a take-away box in different sizes!

Situated close to the Palace Theatre or on the way to the AMC cinema it’s the perfect stop-off before or after the show and it’s open from 8am till 10pm.

A few gelato facts which were conveyed to me on the night, I must admit I was ignorant to the subtle differences prior to this, were that gelato is lower in fat than ice-cream as it is made with milk not cream.

Also, Mo, one of the owners, explained to me that most commercial ice-cream has extra air pumped into it to bulk it out, whereas gelato is pure creamy content, meaning that not only is it lower in fat but it’s also denser in texture!

The Chocolate Noir sorbet really is a must-try. With only 120 calories per scoop it really tastes just like brownie mix but without fat! Truly a godsend.

Fresco Freddo’s Gelateria also serves up hot desserts for a treat on those cold winter days with waffles and crepes on offer topped with sauces such as maple syrup, Nutella or simple lemon and sugar. Don’t delay!

Fresco Freddo’s Gelateria, 83 Oxford Road, M1 6EG, Manchester

Manchester Food and Drink Festival NQ Nominations

IN the lead-up to the Manchester Food and Drink Festival 2012 we have to give a nod to all of the Northern Quarter restaurants/bars/venues that have been nominated. And, it is, quite frankly, an outstanding number considering the size of the area!

Ten different venues in the area are up for various awards and here’s a small break down of the nominees:

Best Casual Dining Venue of the Year


Famous for its delicious cakes, Teacup is always packed with happy diners. Remember folks, cake is for life, not just for Christmas!

Go there for: A choice of around 20 different types of tea and delicious cakes

55 Thomas Street, Manchester, M4 1NA.

Home Sweet Home

Serving some of the best coffee I’ve ever tasted this far north of Europe, not to mention delicious cakes and food, the staff are friendly and it does just feel like home.

Go there for: Freshly baked cookies and milk

49 – 51 Edge St, Northern Quarter Manchester M4 1HW

Pub of the Year

Port Street Beer House

A beer buffs heaven and a great place for anyone with an adventurous palate. The sheer amount of beers may seem daunting to many but just tell the staff what you like and their supreme beer knowledge will find you what you desire.

Go there for: Exotic beers

39-41 Port Street, Manchester M1 2EQ

The Castle

A place close to my heart, I’ve taken everyone I know there at some point for the ales and the fantastic atmosphere. The jukebox is great too!

Go there for: A great time

66 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LE

Chef of the Year

Eric Moreau – 63 Degrees

Eric Moreau has brought expressive French cuisine to Manchester’s Northern Quarter. The restaurant uses only locally sourced, fresh ingredients and a classic style of cooking to delight the most delectable of palates.

Go there for: Frogs legs

20 Church Street Manchester, Greater Manchester M4 1PN

Newcomer of the Year

The Bakerie and Bakerie Tasting Store

Bakerie and its tasting store delivers all manner of delicious food as well as freshly baked loaves and a fantastic wine selection.

Go there for: Fresh bread and wine from the tasting machine.

45 Lever Street, Manchester, M60 7HP

Bar of the Year


In the same vein as its Port Street cousin, Common offers up a variety of drinks with mouth-watering food and inspired daily specials.

Go there for: Maple bacon and smoked cheese burger. NOM

39 to 41 Edge Street M4 1HW Manchester, United Kingdom

Socio Rehab

If cocktails is your thing then Socio is the place to go – fully equipped with its Little Black Book of Cocktails, you will definitely find a suitably stiff drink to kick off the night with.

Go there for: Cocktails and tunes

100-102 High Street, Manchester M4 1HP

Best Coffee Bar or Tea Shop

North Tea Power

This little café on Tib Street was one of the original tea-dedicated hubs, supplying a choice ranging from a simple English breakfast tea to the likes of Elderflower iced-tea. They do coffee too, by the way…

Go there for: A brew!

36 Tib Street, Manchester M4 1LA

Home Sweet Home

A second nomination for the venue and as for best coffee bar – well I swear you can’t get better coffee than this place. The only complaint is that I have to be in work before it opens!

Go there for: A flat white coffee

49 – 51 Edge St, Northern Quarter Manchester M4 1HW

Food and Drink Pioneers

Almost Famous

Famous has simply got it going on. The juiciest, dirtiest patties you’ll ever taste in your life topped with some truly inspiring and artery-clogging ingredients like ice-cream! Yes, ice-cream. Did I mention the damn fine cocktails too?

Go there for: Banging burgers and a great atmosphere.

83 High St, Manchester, Greater Manchester M4 1BE

So, go on, visit the Manchester Food and Drink Festival Awards and vote for your favourite!

Dirty Dogs And IPA Day – Barking Mad!

Dirty Dogs, a brand new food pop-up, hosted its first session in Manchester’s Port Street Beer House last night and damn, those dogs were hot!

Punters were invited to Port Street’s beer garden to indulge in a range of mouth-watering “dirty dogs” topped with the likes of pulled pork and barbeque sauce, sauerkraut and mustard or spicy Mexican or “Hot Chihuahua” as it was known with guacamole and spicy salsa toppings.

For a fiver you can load up your hot dog, well, with whatever you like really which is what we ended up doing as although we turned up around two hours after they started they had limited toppings left – a testament to their popularity!

So, with what was available, I supercharged my dog with coleslaw (After a few beers, calorie counting goes out the window!), sauerkraut fried with Kernel IPA, onions, barbeque sauce and sour cream (I wasn’t lying about the calorie counting).

My other half went more traditional with a mountain of onions and lashings of ketchup and mustard– a man of simple tastes. Washed down with a beer it was the perfect Thursday evening thank-god-it’s-nearly-Friday pick up that was needed.

As well as the dogs, there was also many out to celebrate “IPA Day” which I did with, The Bitches Brewing Collab with Quantum, entitled Chameleon IPA, and the Kernel cask IPA and Summer Wine Brewing’s Gorilla Black IPA and I can safely say that the slight hint of a hangover which I am currently experiencing was well worth it.

Back to the Dirty Dogs, however, they are a pop-up dining experience, like Almost Famous which seems to be a bit of a phenomenon at the moment.

I reckon the rise in popularity of the Man v Food TV show is directly related to the hunger for OTT American Food and I must say, I am mighty glad that people are supplying the demand!  Catch them if you can!

You can follow them on Twitter @DirtyDogsAreHot

Sunday’s just got awesome at Bakerie

Bakerie might be up for the Best Newcomer of the Year award at the Manchester Food and Drink Festival 2012 (Vote for it!) but make no mistake about it – this has been a firm favourite with the locals since day one.

When I first heard about Bakerie opening its doors, I rejoiced. So, you can imagine my disappointment when I found that my dream of freshly-baked-bread-bliss on a Sunday morning was to be shattered upon the realisation that Bakerie did not open on the day of rest.

However, now, not only are the opening on Sundays and selling fresh bread, but they are also doing fantastic Sunday Roasts for a very reasonable price! As everything with Bakerie, it’s slightly quirky and a bit different, like the wine-tasting machine in the tasting store at The Hive, it’s not your traditional Sunday roast if you don’t want it to be.

Basically, you get the choice of around 8 dishes, four meat and four veg such as tender beef, rolled neck of lamb, cauliflour cheese, broccoli, carrots, parsnips, etc. From this you simply mix and match three items and they are served with gravy of your choosing, a delicious Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes. And yes lads, I know you’re thinking it – you can order three meats and no veg.

All that for just £8.95, that’s not a bad price at all and I was super full for hours later. However, if that’s not enough, for £11 you can get two courses with either soup of the day or a dessert on offer.

I went for the lamb with minted gravy, cauliflower cheese and roast carrots and my fellow roast dinner diner had the beef with red wine jus, parsnips and chicken. Both were delicious and the meats were served perfectly pink – so if you don’t like your meat pink I suggest you mention it as they didn’t ask us beforehand.

If you want to rejoice in Bakerie being open on Sunday but you’re not a particular roast fan they serve up their meat, fish, cheese and veg platters but none of the other main menu. Food is served until 7pm and booking is recommended as they only do a set amount of roasts on any one day, you can book at or call 0161 236 9014.