Though this multi-concept destination – which houses food, drink and retail merchants – first opened in 2017 near the Piccadilly train station, a major expansion late last year saw it treble in size. Step inside the colourful, LEGO-like maze of shipping containers, many of which are now double-stacked with their own rooftop terraces, and you’ll find some of the city’s top independent businesses. Stop by UrbanArtistry to pick up some graffiti-inspired artwork or Nordic Muse for beautiful homeware. Other additions include a DJ school and a stage, as well as a new, packed calendar of events, ranging from comedy nights to Pilates classes.
2. Chish & Fips
Brits love their fish and chips, ideally served with mushy peas – an addition so adored here that it’s known locally as Manchester caviar – so it takes a brave soul to give this iconic dish a twist. That’s exactly what Terry Huang and Hanna Michnowicz have done. This Asian-inspired restaurant is tucked into a railway arch near Manchester Victoria station. Most orders are to-go, so there’s just a handful of wooden tables with a row of chairs facing the open kitchen. Choose from fish, scallops and prawns before selecting your vegetables (options include mushy edamame and kimchi) and topping (chilli sauce or pepper, nori or wasabi spice). Finally, select your sauce – we recommend the spicy Japanese curry option.
“Check out a little restaurant called Oishii-Q, just off Oxford Road… this Japanese curry house often goes unnoticed but offers some of the best food in Manchester” – Ciaron Wilkinson, cultural connector at Manchester International Festival
Mancunians have been flocking to this boutique sneaker store in droves since it opened last October. Brothers Sam and Ben Kersh fell in love with footwear when the former went to Los Angeles to study, only to be blown away by its thriving sneaker scene. After years of bringing back shoes to England to sell online, they found they were running out of space and decided to open this 120m² store. Expect art-like displays of rare sneakers, a downstairs chill-out room and a key master arcade game filled with trainers.
4. The Sparrows
Sake specialist Kasia Hitchcock has brought the mountains – or at least their cuisine – to the city. The restaurant, recently relocated to the heart of Red Bank, feels just as wonderfully cosy as it did at its old location, with only a 10-seat capacity. The name is a nod to spätzle (literally “little sparrow”), a type of pasta with its roots firmly in Europe’s mountainous regions, named for the way the elegant shapes float serenely in the water during the cooking process. Although spätzle rules the roost here, there are plenty of other European classics, including mezzelune, a stuffed pasta common in German-speaking countries, and a Tyrolese goulash.
Urban wine bars can sometimes have an identical, nondescript look: typically minimal spaces with dark interiors. But you won’t experience that at this welcoming Murray Street watering hole, lined with shelves stacked with artwork and flooded with plenty of natural light. While the food here is delicious – the light-as-air ricotta dumplings are legendary – it’s the drinks that truly take centre stage. Co-founder William Sutton is passionate about organic wines, and sources most of the labels served here from around Europe.
This travelling exhibition arrived at Manchester’s Great Northern Warehouse in late November last year. Expect 90 supersized masterpieces, made from over a million LEGO bricks. Until 20 April. *Only a maximum of 50 people are allowed on the premises each hour.
Taking over Manchester Cathedral, its highlights include masterclasses from industry experts and a chance to sample a huge range of gins and rums. 4-5 September
Singapore Airlines flies to Manchester five times weekly. To book a flight, visit singaporeair.com
This article was originally published in the March 2020 issue of SilverKris magazine