When you think of some of the top dining scenes in the world, Manchester may not immediately come to mind, but its broad offering of food and drink destinations have been sprinkled with some of the best gems in the UK in the last five years. Here’s what there is to look forward to on your next visit.
Dine like a hipster
Famous for being one of the world’s first industrial suburbs, Ancoats is now one of the coolest neighbourhoods in Manchester, and is well-known for its independent restaurants including Rudy’s Neapolitan Pizza (below).
With Ancoats being where many Italians settled, the location is often referred to as Little Italy. At Rudy’s, plenty of care goes into every pie: the pizza dough is double fermented for 20 hours and cooked for only 60 seconds so it’s easily digested and remains soft and floppy.
Anthony Barnes’ Squid Ink is more of an upmarket eatery, which seats only 16 people at one time. The Scandinavian-style restaurant artfully serves up a four-course menu for £25 (US$32.20) where the featured dishes are changed regularly.
Try some posh nosh
Chef Adam Reid’s The French (below) at The Midland Hotel serves up modern British food, which surged to popularity thanks to Reid’s predecessor, Simon Rogan. The restaurant featured on BBC’s Restaurant Wars, showing the venue attempting to gain a Michelin star.
Their quest took place alongside Aidan Byrne’s Manchester House – and both outlets now hold four AA rosettes. Byrne brings his expertise from Michelin-starred restaurants, Tom Aikens, Pied a Terre, Adlards and The Commons so both are worth booking.
Tour the world without leaving the city
Food at The Refuge by Volta is inspired by the trips around the globe that restaurant owners Justin Crawford and Luke Cowdrey took while travelling as DJs The Unabombers.
After teaming up with The Principle Manchester, that had chef Alex Worrall at the helm, the menu is now made up of many small sharing dishes – such as Korean chicken with sriracha and egg yolk, and beetroot pakora (fritters) with tamarind ketchup – using local ingredients with an international twist.
Dine inside the world’s first 2D material
As the name might suggest, Grafene’s name takes inspiration from the world’s first 2D material, Graphene. Guests are surrounded by metallic features as they dine at the island bar or in booths from breakfast right through to dinner.
The menus, which include seven-course and small-plate options, are based off what’s currently available at the markets and although the offerings change daily, they focus on typically British food.
Taste street food at its finest
If you thought the Americans really knew how to do a grilled cheese, wait until you try one from Northern Soul. They offer classic (with red onion chutney), mac and cheese, bacon and even a Hawaiian-style sandwich. For a variety of street food offerings from around the world, head down to Beat Street (below) for cocktails, live music and outdoor seating – perfect for the summer months.
Experience an open kitchen
Tucked away on a side street near Stockport market hall, Where The Light Gets In (below) can be spotted by an overhead lamp shining through a doorway. Having worked under celebrity chef Gary Rhodes, chef Samuel Buckley certainly knows how to pair local and seasonal produce with top wines for the ultimate dining experience.
The open kitchen venue used to be a coffee warehouse and allows diners to really feel a part of the cooking experience.
Dine on three levels
You could spend all day inside this three-storey converted townhouse on the City Centre’s King Street. Coming in from street level, visitors to El Gato Negro are greeted by a relaxed atmosphere bar and charcuterie counter, which serves up cured meats and cheese from Spain. The first floor boasts a restaurant full of Spanish flavours, modern and traditional, and the rooftop which has a retractable ceiling serves up a great selection of drinks including wine and sherry.
Throw in some pop-up dining
The former home of the UK’s greatest TV programmes and films, Old Granada Studios, is now the place to be for pop-up markets and food festivals. Making use of their yards, stages and studios plus arches, it’s the perfect space to try a selection of food trucks and stalls. Similar plans are in the works for the terracotta-tiled Grade II-listed London Road Fire Station, which will be developed into a space filled with restaurants, bars and more.
– TEXT BY LEAH SIMPSON
PHOTOS: RUDY’S NEAPOLITAN PIZZA FACEBOOK, SEVEN BRO7HERS FACEBOOK, ADAM REID AT THE FRENCH FACEBOOK, THE REFUGE FACEBOOK, GRAFENE FACEBOOK, BEAT STREET MANCHESTER FACEBOOK, WHERE THE LIGHT GETS IN FACEBOOK, EL GATO NEGRO TAPAS FACEBOOK, OLD GRANADA STUDIOS FACEBOOK
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.