Our weekly round up of stories you might have missed from around town
LEISURELY brunches and a clubbers’ paradise for the bank holiday weekend, green moves from some of the chains, menu makeovers and new looks as autumn approaches, and state-of-the-art tech to help you eat and drink without having to put your hand in your pocket…Oh, and also A CHOCOLATE PAGODA - form an orderly queue....
Raise a toast
Bank holiday ahoy, and to help you make use of that office-free Monday, The Bay Horse Tavern is putting on Bottomless Gin Brunch on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 August. For £30, choose any brunch item and bottomless drinks for up to two hours, including special cocktails made using Portobello Road Gin and house creation Bay Horse Small Batch Gin – think the Highball, with Apricot Liqueur, St Germain Elderflower, Pineapple, Lime and Angostura Orange Bitters. Bottomless Prosecco, Bloody Mary, Irish coffee, mimosa, house wine and beer are also part of the deal, while food includes toasty offerings involving mushrooms, eggs, salmon and more.
Also this weekend, bang new Eden has lined up some special guest DJs, with free entry before 11pm. The glam Garden of Eden-inspired floral wonderland – described as ‘a playground of sensory delights’ – will be welcoming Radio 1’s Charlie Hedges on Friday, then on Saturday DJ superstar James Hype promises to make the most of that famous flashing dancefloor and lead pleasure-seekers into temptation into the wee small hours. Get to the old Tiger Tiger site early doors and enjoy half-price food until 9pm and Herbaceous Happy Hour between 5pm and 9pm, with 50% off cocktails.
Rainbows in your coffee
Also this weekend part two… from the Arndale to Media City, Costa Coffee is celebrating Pride by serving takeaways in its iconic rainbow paper cups, fully recyclable and Instagram-ready for a fourth year running, plus, new for 2019, limited-edition reusable Pride travel cups. Letting Costa customers show their support of equality beyond the Pride March on 24 August, while also doing their bit for the environment, all proceeds will be donated to Switchboard, one of the UK’s oldest LGBTQ+ charities. Members of Costa Coffee’s newly created SHINE network, working alongside local communities, will be helping the clean-up operation ‘to ensure splashes of rainbow remain in the sky and not on the pavements’.
The prize is right
The French at The Midland has been named as one of the top three restaurants in the UK for customer service, alongside The Ritz in London and Lancashire’s Moor Hall. The Food Service Award recognises restaurants that deliver the highest standards of service, hospitality and food and beverage knowledge, and the gong will be awarded next month at a special AA Hospitality Award ceremony at Grosvenor House. Good luck to Adam Reid’s team, garnering numerous accolades since November 2016, including a number of Manchester Food & Drink Awards, four AA Rosettes and a place on our very own Top 100 Restaurants in the North West list (as has Moor Hall; just saying).
Shop then drop
The Trafford Centre branch of Bill’s is having a revamp; closing 2 September and reopening 6 September. The new look will incorporate cosy booths and sociable sharing tables, with vibrant colours, velvet seating and vintage finds, stunning chandeliers and ‘quirky touches’ handpicked by owner Bill Collison himself. Originally a greengrocer based in Sussex, Bill has developed the restaurant chain to bring seasonal menus to the masses with indulgent British classics and trusted, fresh plant-based alternatives at breakfast, lunch and dinner. New dishes being introduced alongside the makeover include Bill’s Beer Battered Cod with pea purée, tartare sauce and fries, and Warm Strawberry Dusted Doughnuts, plus a new range of vibrant quaffs perfect for cocktail hour.
Ink in the diary
Sear Monday 9 September onto your memory – that’s when Tattu’s latest à la carte is launching. Promised are seventeen new small plates and main dishes, plus the largest dessert list ever, including a Chocolate Brownie Pagoda plus dessert wontons filled with chocolate, spiced orange and coffee goo. Developed by executive chef Andrew Lassetter and his team, starters include Asian-style Beef Carpaccio, Soft Shell Crab XO and Tuna Yuzu Ceviche. For the main event, we’re told that the Wok-fired Angry Bird Chicken with roasted chilli peppers and sesame honey soy (pictured) is sure to become a firm favourite down Spinningfields way.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Spinningfields, new ‘eatery, bar and social hub’ XYZ Social (part of the All Work & Social XYZ building on Hardman Boulevard; pictured) is going all Bladerunner on us with cutting-edge technology giving you payment at your fingertips – literally. Manchester is one of the few places testing out Fingopay, which uses Hitachi VeinID Biometric Athentification, er, scanning stuff to let you pay for your food and drink without having to go through all that hassle of getting your wallet out. Handy.
Booths is busy behind the scenes finding ways to up its green credentials, introducing LED lighting and environmentally kinder fridges, and reducing single-use plastic. The family-owned regional grocery chain has already got rid of plastic cutlery for their takeaway counter products and Booths branded pre-packaged food-to-go options, and are working to switching over to glass bottles, cans and paper straws in their cafes. Next, they’ll be incentivising loose fruit and vegetables, bringing in compostable loose produce bags and reusable cotton net bags, and they’re about to launch an initiative encouraging shoppers to bring in their own reusable containers to purchase fresh meat and fish from their counters.
Following the closure of the Leeds branch last month, it seems Manchester’s Cabana is the latest in the London-based Brazilian restaurant chain’s for-the-chop list. Sat on the Cathedral Gardens side of the Corn Exchange, the closure – blamed on ‘underperformance’ – will see the loss of 36 staff members. Cabana has also closed in Southampton and, last year, in Newcastle and London’s Brixton and Islington. Five other London sites have been bought out of administration by another group, Hush Brasseries, also owned by the restaurateur Jamie Barber, who also owned Cabana. Go figure.