Category Archives: News

Grillstock Goes North: Manchester

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Ribs and brisket from Flamin' Amatuers

Ribs and brisket from Flamin’ Amatuers

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What do you expect from a festival called Grillstock? Well, BBQ, music and drinks and on that front it massively delivered. But there was unexpected delights too… ice cream, including barbeque flavour (do you get the theme yet!?), sweet cakes and tarts, boozy smoothies and wine. So there really was something for everyone and there was lots of families there together for the earlier part of the day.

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Manchester is embracing the street food ethos as Guerrilla Eats continues to grow in popularity and this was a fantastic outlet for those constantly looking for their next foodie fix.

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Given that this festival takes place every year in Bristol, Manchester showed great enthusiasm for the cause and the word on the street, which was clear to see anyway, was that the event was a huge success and is already looking likely to take place again next summer! Nobody told them that the weather wasn’t always 20 degrees and sunny but sssshhhh.

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Grillstock made its way to Manchester last weekend and it was a messy, meaty and musical mouthful for all involved. Albert Square was treated to a delectable mix of smokey barbequed meat, beers, cakes and music and boy did it go down well.

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Crackerjack won the ‘King of the Q’ competition and those lucky enough to taste some of their food, I got to taste Andy Annat’s brisket and ribs and they were great. The brisket could have done with an added 30 minutes on the heat but the sticky glaze it was coated with and the presentation was notably better than the other contenders.

Guerrilla Eats is back with a boost of booze & beats!

Guerrilla Eats is ready to provide the great people of Manchester with local street food, craft beers and punches as well as music to dance the night away to this weekend.

The scamps will be setting up this Saturday (23rd Feb) at 60 New Bailey Street, Salford M3 5FS (right next to Salford Central railway station) from 6pm ‘till late.

Learning from the first event, this gathering will be indoors so no wet feet for the revellers – just pure passion for food with nothing to get in the way. The addition of booze and music will no doubt go down a treat and everyone is ready for an evening of great food and atmosphere!

Taking inspiration from the eponymous Brooklyn Night Bazaar, Guerrilla Eats is bringing a new concept in the North West – a street food night market; pairing street food, craft drinks and excellent music. All in all, a celebration of all that’s good for your tongues, tummies and your ears!

Mal O’Conner, of Guerrilla Eats, said: “Sitting down with friends, we noticed there wasn’t a night that catered to our needs of independent, low-cost food with craft drinks AND good music – so we decided to put something on that suited us – and that’s how the Gorilla came up with Guerrilla Eats.”

So, you’re wondering what’s going to be on offer… frankly, far too much for my mind to deal with – how will I ever make a decision about what to eat?! There’s definitely plenty of delicious grub available to suit all tastes and dietary needs from the likes of Fire and Salt BBQ co for some deep south BBQ comfort food to Chaat Cart which dishes up delicious vegetarian dosas and southern Indian fare or you can take a trip to the streets of Mexico with Margo & Rita’s burritos.

There’s pizzas fromStreatza, gourmet hot dogs from Dirty Dogs, quality burgers from Bistro Barn House and some yummy sweet treats from Ginger’s Comfort Emporium and Pancake Corner. So come on, don’t even try to tell me that your mouth isn’t watering at the thought!

All of this along with with craft beers from independent brewers and music from some of the North’s biggest up and coming DJs and you’ve got the makings of a banging Saturday night right there!

Guerilla Eats is at 60 New Bailey Street, Salford M3 5FS starting from 6pm.

Manchester’s Street Food Revolution has Begun

Last week’s street food celebration was the birth of a new food revolution for Manchester and, similarly, the new year will continuing to see the Guerrilla Eats gang pioneering in true guerrilla style – popping up in basements, backyards, skyscrapers and secret gardens to bring great food to us all!

Why? To create a buzz around great food served by great people for realistic prices. For me, usually, grabbing a bite to eat from a street vendor tends to be the last port of call; I’m sure many have experience the pre-football match burger which mainly tastes like it’s made of 100% nuclear waste and AIDS. Well, fear not – the times they are a-changing.

London has seen an array of celebrated gourmet street vendors pop up but this hasn’t happened thus far in Manchester.

Mal O’Connor, of Fire and Salt BBQ, said: “We want street food to be accessible to everyone – no one wants to be paying 6 or 7 quid upwards for street food; but with the usual market fees, travel costs etc., street traders have no choice but to charge that much to start covering costs. Working as a collective helps bring our costs down and means no on takes money from the set up – it allows us to keep the quality of our food high and our prices down.”

 

Pork ready to be pulled. Mmm... yeah!

Pork ready to be pulled. Mmm… yeah

Guerrilla Eats’ ideology is that street food doesn’t have to be something we all force down in situations of desperation. Street food is a massive part of the culture in many places around the world such as the Americas, East Asia and Africa so has it taken so long to catch on in the UK?

Last weekend saw the best of Manchester’s street food vendors – showcasing and saluting their passion for the using best ingredients, the most creative recipes and the diverse range of cuisines they offer; from BBQ pulled pork to spicy chaat to comforting ice-cream – all served up with a delightful dollop of exciting entertainment to ensure street food is celebrated in the style it deserves.

Fire and Salt BBQ served us up some unbelievable soft and juicy pulled pork which is cooked for hours at 90 degrees to achieve a melt-in-the-mouth texture. They also have their “accidental signature dish” of mac and cheese made with gruyere, cheddar and emmenthal; comfort food at its ultimate best!

 

Fire and Salt's Mac & Cheese

Fire and Salt’s Mac & Cheese

Dirty Dogs Hot Dogs had their chilli dog classic to warm the cockles which went down a treat for those waiting in the Manchester rain. The lads are trying to find a veggie-dog option which doesn’t make them gag, and they are keen for any input and ideas on what would make meat-eaters and veggies alike happy. Answers on a postcard please!

 

Sean offers up some chilli dogs. Nice.

Sean offers up some chilli dogs. Nice

Sean Robinson, dogger-supremo, said: “It’s fun, relaxed, inclusive food that makes people happy – there’s not a starched napkin or stiff upper lip in sight!”

Ginger's :)

Ginger’s 🙂

Amongst my personal highlights were the Whisky Marmalade ice-cream from Gingers Comfort Emporium which was served in a handy basket you can eat with a little warm brioche on the side – absolutely delicious and although the added cold was slightly odd, it kind of worked in warming you up in a weird way!

Whiskey Marmalade ice cream with toasted brioche

Whiskey Marmalade ice cream with toasted brioche

Another of my favourites and probably overall highlight was sampling the food from Las Paelleras. As soon as we walked over to their space we could see a lovely big pan of the crispiest potatoes which they drenched in tomato sauce and aioli upon ordering; divine!

WOW - yummy!

WOW – yummy!

They also provided me with the best bread I’ve tasted outside of the continent with their artisan baguettes from Flour, Water, Salt in Macclesfield. Seriously soft on the inside but deliciously light and crunchy on the outside it’s the perfect host for chorizo, rocket and aioli sauce. I think I know decent Spanish food, and this was good! Got the thumbs up from my chorizo-loving partner as well so that’s a real good sign.

Tonight – the Dirty Dogs will be serving up their Christmas-themed dogs, amongst others, at the peerless Port Street Beer House so if you’re hungry for some festive dogs and fantastic beers, you know where to go. I’ll do my best to keep you updated on the next time these lovely lot will be serving their grub in the centre of Manchester but for more info get chatting to @NorthWestNosh – she’ll sort you out.

Restaurant Review: Restaurant Bar and Grill

Kind enough to invite us along to check out this restaurant just off Albert Square/Deansgate, we were more than happy to sample the goods at, one of the city’s most talked about restaurants (on the Twittersphere), Restaurant Bar and Grill.

It was a bustling Saturday night and the place was packed to the rafters, and it’s seriously big, so I was thinking that I would allow for a bit of a wait for food/drinks etc. I usually give the staff the benefit of the doubt when it comes to an insanely busy service, to a certain extent obviously, but there was no need.

We were greeted promptly at the door and offered a drink at the bar even though we turned up right on time and our table was ready, which we gladly accepted. Some places give you the feeling that they would rather get you in and out as quick as possible but not here. The front of house said he would come and get us in 10-15 minutes and take us to our table. Again, I anticipated being forgot about but, bang on the dot he came over and asked us if we were ready to eat and showed us upstairs to our lovely table by the window looking over John Dalton Street.

The atmosphere downstairs in the bar was, to be honest, not really my sort of scene but it was enjoyable. Loud dance-type music and folks in very fancy outfits made this place feel like a real treat and I was glad I dressed up for it but it’s not the kind of place I’d want to spend every Saturday night.

That aside, the menu is lovely, the kind of stuff you’d expect from a grill menu; fish and meat from the grill as well as salads, pastas and risottos. They also have 35-day dry aged steaks some of which are served on the bone for maximum flavour impact.

I opted for the lobster but sadly they had just sold out so I went for the rack of lamb with chilli, yoghurt and garlic from the tandoor clay oven and my partner had one of those lovely dry-aged steaks which came recommended by our waitress. For starters we had Iberico ham with tomatoes and sourdough and grilled asparagus with hollandaise and a poached egg.

The starters were lovely and actually could have been wonderful together – the lovely saltiness of the ham and the creamy richness of the egg and hollandaise were all delicious separately and together. The sourdough was lightly toasted and the asparagus was still crunchy and seared perfectly.

Poached egg and Hollandaise with asparagus

As we waited for our main course we enjoyed an Argentinean Malbec Don Nicanor 2010 which was recommended by the waitress again and was gorgeously smooth and rich in flavour – a perfect accompaniment to my spiced lamb and his steak with pepper sauce.

The lamb was absolutely delicious, served with rice, a coleslaw-style salad and a sauce, oh my god, the sauce, of lime leaves and coconut, was seriously to die for. I had forgotten all about my lobster. The lamb itself was slightly charred on the outside but on the inside it was lovely and pink. I couldn’t finish it all, we did get a side salad too but in this place the portions are big! Sometimes with places we skip the starters only to find that the main portions are tiny but not here, you get enough bang for your buck and we were delighted with that.

Rubbed rack of lamb with rice, salad and a coconut and lime sauce

My partner’s steak and chips was very nice, maybe not as nice as I’d expected given how much it was talked up beforehand but very nice indeed. The pepper sauce was rich and robust and the chips it came with were chunky and fluffy inside – although being a bloke, he probably would have preferred a bit more chips!

Steak, chips and pepper sauce

At this point, I must say, the staff were attentive but not overly so, they made sure you were happy but didn’t pester you as is sometimes the case when waiting staff mean well. Even when somebody other than our direct waitress brought us over our food they knew exactly who was having what; always the sign of a classy, and well organised, joint.

On to the desserts, well, I had crème brulee, which is my go-to dessert really, I should branch out more often but I just cannot bring myself to do so! My partner went for an apple tart tatin, another good judging cornerstone of a good restaurant. As the tart tatins are cooked to order we were advised that there would be a 20-minute wait, which was fine by us.

I find that sometimes restaurants bring desserts out too quickly so we were chuffed about the wait. During which, we were recommended a dessert wine which, as was assured would work perfectly well with my crème brulee and didn’t it just. It complemented what I can only described as the biggest crème brulee ever, to my delight!

The tart tatin was perfectly cooked and I even checked the underside to make sure the pastry was cooked, I’ve seen them do that on Masterchef, and it was perfect. The apples were soft and sweet but still had a slight bite to them and the whole thing was caramelised and came with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Tart Tatin and a massive Creme Brulee

We followed this with coffees and were offered out onto the fabulous new terrace. It was quite busy, since it was Saturday, so we declined a drink out there but it did look lovely and it was well heated.

The only gripe I have about the place is that it is huge, however that didn’t slow the service down, but there are only two ladies toilet cubicles in the upstairs dining area which meant that I was in for, at least, a 5-10 minute wait for the toilet each time which was slightly annoying.

Overall, I would definitely go back to RBG although it would be for a special occasion or if I had visitors staying who I wanted to impress. Top marks to the staff who gave great recommendations and make us feel very welcome throughout.

Food – 8/10

Service – 10/10

Atmosphere – 7/10

Value for Money – 7/10

We were complemented our meal by the restaurant on behalf of Manchester Confidential but I am under no obligation to say anything nice about the restaurant.

Restaurant Bar and Grill
14 John Dalton Street,
Manchester,
M2 6JR
T: 0161 839 1999

 

A Christmas Miracle hits the Northern Quarter

Winter is coming and what better way than to shake off those seasonal blues by eating and drinking yourself to your ‘happy place’ in a winter wonderland where it’s always Christmas? I fear that this may become an addiction.

Traditional Christmas fair…?

Welcome to Miracle, the Northern Quarter’s seasonal celebration spot with Christmas-themed drinks and traditional Christmas food with an Almost Famous twist. Turkey slathered in butter slammed on a roll and topped with delights! You want it don’t you?

Yes, Miracle is the home of the Miracle burger! Now this is a proper turkey burger, not like those rancid ones you remember from school dinners, oh no, proper shredded turkey, sausage stuffing, potatoes AND brussel sprouts. As well as some extra pigs in blankets for garnish (that’s my kind of garnish!). It’s also worth mentioning that Miracle has really produced a miracle by making brussel sprouts taste really, very good!

Chris Bull, a man who knows his burgers, fries and general junk food, usually flat-out refuses to eat turkey yet, he scoffed away a Miracle burger with pleasure. A true compliment to the chefs!

Along with the mouth-watering burgers we tried the beef in beer, which has as much booze in as the cocktails, and the gobble gobble gravy fries which are topped with shredded buttered turkey, cranberry sauce and gravy! Christmas really has come early this year.

Gobble Gobble Gravy Fries, Beef in Beer and the Miracle turkey sandwich

Lead in through the back of Socio Rehab and up the stairs (my female sense of direction was scrambled by then) we emerged into a wintery wonderland of cocktails and debauchery, as well as fantastical decorations to get you into the festive spirit, including this one by Kat Crass Stitch!

So, I can’t even believe it’s taken me six paragraphs to get on to the drinks… The fantastic Mr Tom Higham was on hand to provide the cocktails, plenty of festive cheer as well as general insults and creative cursing (thanks, Tom!).

But seriously, the cocktails are inspired! I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, especially when it comes to drinks, but these were divine. The Apres Ski works as a delicious post-burger palate cleanser and was accurately described as ‘a melted mint Vienetta in a glass’ by one Sarah Nosh. Yummy!

The Candy Cane Collins, which will probably become my ‘usual’, is a delightfully punchy vanilla vodka cocktail topped up with CREAM SODA! A very welcome blast from the past, seriously, why don’t I drink Cream Soda all the time? I’m questioning my decisions in life as I type.

Candy Cane Collins and Apres Ski

Tom has put so much effort into this cocktail menu and he loves it so dearly that he even differentiates the candy canes for different drinks; a seasoned pro.

As well as cocktails there is the traditional mulled wine, spiced cider and boozy hot chocolate to warm the cockles of an evening as well as some bottled beers, wines and spirits.

Miracle also has more sweet treats in the form of desserts! The ‘Sweet Things’ come as a skewer of delicious pastry/doughy/brownie-type delicacies with like a custard and nutmeg dip. So delicious I completely forgot to take a picture. What was I saying earlier about not having a sweet tooth? I think Miracle has changed me!

Now, if you like the finer things in life then the Xmas in New York is for you; a cocktail made with Woodford Reserve Bourbon topped up with Brooklyn Chocolate Stout and finished with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream. It was as hedonistic and rich as it sounds and, granted I couldn’t drink too many, it truly hits the spot. In fact, it hits about 25 million different spots, it’s so damn good!

A Very Berry (with gin) Christmas and Xmas in New York

Miracle is launching to the masses this Thursday (22nd) at 6pm. The first 50 folk to show up will be treated to free food and the first 100 will each receive a free drink! So, don your Christmas jumper and lift those Christmas spirits into delicious, drunken oblivion…

(We all need more of Kat’s Christmas crafts in our lives, I’m sure you’ll all agree. So fuck your family off this Christmas by taking them some of her lovely work: http://folksy.com/shops/CrassStitchCrafts.)

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

Doughy Delights @ Bakerie

By Charlotte Dobson

Bread fans will love the Bakerie tasting store – just don’t call it a wine shop.

Picture this: mounds of bread, gallons of delicious wine and a line of punters determinedly queuing for their free tasters.

As one man wryly observes: “It’s like the war. This is an actual breadline.”

But this is no ordinary bread, this is the best bread you’ll get in Manchester courtesy of the Bakerie Tasting Store – the latest trendy delight to pop up in the Hive in the Northern Quarter.

The store’s no-messing strap line, ‘It’s all about the bread’ will not disappoint carb fans with a passion for the doughy-stuff.

We’re at the opening night and over by the ovens, you can watch and chat to the bakers as they kneed their magic into a selection of loaves.

Meanwhile in the corner, people are scrambling over each other to mop up some balsamic vinegar – the organiser’s did not see this frenzy coming.

Another dimension to the Bakerie is their impressive selection of quirky yet high quality wines. Whether you’ve a taste for a full-bodied Malbec or crisp Sauvignon Blanc, or (like me) you haven’t a fig about vino, Bakerie’s tasting sessions are a great place to start.

Bakerie store manager, Dale Meakin, explains: “It’s not a wine shop, it’s a tasting store. For us it’s all about finding great quality wine, no matter where it’s from or how whacky it is. For example, we’ve got a stunning Sauvignon Blanc from India, wine made from grapes grown on Mount Fuji and another from Cyprus.”

This is all new to a wine novice like me, stuck in the “I’ll get what’s on offer” state of mind.

Dale adds: “Because we’re independent, we’ve got a freedom in choosing what wines we have on offer without anyone telling us what we should be selling. It’s all about great quality wine.”

Next we shimmy over to the wine tasting session in ‘the Classroom’ – Bakerie’s bespoke contemporary arty space (it has proper primary school benches, the one’s you dropped on your foot in P.E lessons).

We’re welcomed by Peter Dawson and Dougie Lowe of Origin Wines & Spirits who top up our glasses with their finest.

First up is an Italian rose, Anima Rosa. I’ll be honest, I’m not a big fan of the pink stuff but this is beautiful. Light, dry and crisp – right up my street.

Next is up is a red made with a ‘very rare grape’ – La Crima and for red wine fan Amanda Dubrowski it’s a hit.

“It tastes like you’re drinking from the bowels earth, like frankincense – it’s beautiful.”

As we admire the legs on a Majorcan red, Dougie explains: “This Virat is an example of a more unusual wine and it’s named after a native Majorcan dog.

“The thing is, a lot of people tend to drink a lot of the same – if they like Pinot Grigio, then they will often drink that. But here you have the chance to try lots of unusual wines from places you might not expect.”

With it’s simple but addictive combination wine and bread, it’s clear the Bakerie Tasting Store is a big hit with Mancunians.

For more information go to: http://bakerie.co.uk/bakerie-tasting-store