This week - grey ice cream, free gin, bank holiday vibes and more
This week we have a bank holiday bonanza of food and drink news for you with events and offers popping up this weekend and beyond.
There's ice cream for stoners in Stretford, some love for our golden arches and free gin delivered to your door.
Here are all the stories that have caught our attention this week.
Stone cold crazy
Claire Kelsey of Ginger’s Comfort Emporium must have been stoned when she came up with this one but we think it rocks. Her gelato-based homage to, er, Stretford, The Great Stone Ice Cream has been inspired by the local landmark. The Great Stone has been in Stretford since Roman times, when it was a road marker for Manchester. In the 15th century, Stretford folk filled the holes in the top of stone with vinegar to help ward off the plague. In other times, as it was slowly sinking into the ground, people thought that when it finally disappeared it would herald the end of days. Has anyone actually checked whether it’s still there?
This Stretfordian scoop, created for the newly re-sculpted Stretford Mall, combines vanilla and charcoal flavours with white and dark chocolate boulders for a gravelly texture with an apple cider ice pop on top. Stretford resident Claire says she “wanted to give one of our lesser known local heritage spots some well-deserved publicity. It’s been here since Roman times and now sits unceremoniously at the gate to the park, without any explanation. What does it make of all our madness in 2020?”
Ginger’s Comfort Emporium's pop-up trike will be at Stretford Foodhall tomorrow, Sat 29th August to dish out Stretford’s brand new ice cream flavour from 12.30pm. We think you’ll be bouldered over by it.
Ticket To Ride
Escape To Freight Island continues to host creative outdoor entertainment to go alongside cold drinks and great food from the likes of Madre Tacos and Baratxuri. On Tuesday 8th September, pop down for The Beatles: An Orchestral Rendition - an evening with The Untold Orchestra ft some special guest singers. Having had to cancel the majority of their 2020 shows, the Untold Orchestra say they can’t wait to perform their renditions of Beatles’ classics; including Can’t Buy Me Love, Here Comes the Sun, Got To Get You Into My Life and many more. Tickets are now on sale, and can be purchased for £15 when you make a reservation at Escape to Freight Island on the above date, after 6pm.
Free. Gin. Two words that always bring a smile to our faces. Deliveroo have teamed up with the leading spiced gin brand OPIHR to offer the good people of Manchester (and the bad ones too, probably) free samples of its OPIHR ready-to-drink G&T in a can. Available from 17th August to 13th September 2020, customers across Manchester ordering via the Deliveroo app will be eligible for two free OPIHR G&T ‘stubbies’ with their order.
The offer is limited to specific participating venues who have details of the offer displayed on their page. Just click the offer add the two free tins to your order. The G&Ts come in two flavours: one with a dash of ginger and one with a twist of orange (both 250ml / ABV 6.5%) that are inspired by the the ancient spice route where OPIHR’s botanicals are sourced including cubeb berries from Malaysia, coriander from Morocco and cardamom from India.
All boxes ticked
Box on the Docks at MediaCityUK is putting the emphasis on family this bank holiday weekend with a range of activities for all ages. The piazza has added social distancing markers so picnickers can feel comfortable grabbing a spot with plenty of space around. There will be live music including Mr Wilson’s Second Liners and - from 12-7pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday- street food traders including Korean Grub Club, Grandad’s Sausages and Spoon Desserts will be popping up.
If you prefer a more private affair, you can book one of the 30 self-contained boxes serviced by local restaurants including Wagamama, Dockyard, Vertigo, The Botanist and The Alchemist. For families, there’s a new CBeebies box Everyone’s Welcome at CBeebies near the Blue Peter Garden. There’s also a Box On The Docks Art Trail, with a specially created Art Trail Activity Book - download it here.
Other activities include free socially-distanced yoga classes on the piazza at 12pm on Friday and 11am on Saturday - no booking required but do bring your own yoga mat - and the Makers Market at Quayside MediaCityUK outside the shopping mall and Lowry Arts Centre on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
You say pizza, I say piazza
There are some big fans of Ancoats pizzeria Ciaooo (read our review here) in the Confidentials office, so news of a new pasta project from the team has got our attention. Piazza will be opening in the Arndale market this weekend. Ciaooo has a cult following for its creative, wood fired pizzas topped with indulgent whole balls of melt-in-the-middle burrata mozzarella and the pasta on offer at this Arndale outpost promises to be as OTT. Yes, those burrata balls are coming along for the party. Expect big portions of freshly made pasta with rich sauces and occasionally ostentatious toppings. Yet another exciting addition to the Anrdale Market’s incredible indie street food selection. We reckon it will definitely be worth spending your pennes.
Nominate a mate
Many of us have missed out on celebrating landmark birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and more this year due to the pandemic and lockdown, with many more working overtime while everybody else nurtured sourdough starters and completed Netflix. Now the good people at The Corn Exchange want to make up for it by offering some lucky people a celebratory meal for free at one of their restaurants. To celebrate the fifth anniversary of its launch, the dining destination is inviting people eating in one of the iconic buildings restaurants to share their own stories of missed celebrations or to nominate deserving individuals to be granted a surprise Corn Exchange treat. Just fill in the card and pop it in the box in the atrium to nominate. The site will also be sharing these nominations across its social media channels and on its website; each week, the team will randomly select nominations to receive a surprise courtesy of the Corn Exchange.
Waah - Wahaca Manchester to close
Owners of Mexican restaurant chain Wahaca have announced that their Corn Exchange branch is one of ten restaurants which are to close permanently.
The group, owned by former MasterChef winner Thomasina Miers and business partner Mark Selby, said they were only able to reopen restaurants within their 28 UK sites that weren't losing money in order 'to avoid putting the entire business and every job at risk.'
Miers and Selby broke the news to their employees earlier this week in a heartfelt email which explained that 'we have looked at this from every angle with the sole objective of looking after as many of our teams and restaurants as we can without having to close the business for good like so many others have had to do.'
Wahaca is the latest Corn Exchange restaurant to close, hot on the heels of the recent announcement that Alston Bar and Beef was also bowing out. Byron Burgers closed their branch there in 2017 and the site was taken over earlier this year by Döner Haus. Brazilian chain Cabana closed its Corn Exchange branch almost exactly a year ago.
Six By Nico has been one of our stay-at-home heroes over the past few months offering incredible value dinner and wine boxes for two with ever-changing themes. They reopened the restaurant last month with their classic chippy tea and next up is a brand new menu to Manchester: Sicily. Chef Nico has summoned up his Italian roots and memories of his travels in Palermo to out together a six-course Sicilian tasting menu.
The menu starts with three flavours of arancini - cacio é pepe and egg yolk jam, red pepper & smoked mozzarella, spinach, gorgonzola and pickled walnut. These are followed by four more savoury courses including Sicilian lamb with aubergine caponata, olive tapenade and lemon gel. Dessert comes in the form of a Sicilian lemon tart - basil sablé, creme fraiche sorbet, red wine gel, crystallised pine nut and rosemary.
Bookings are now open for ‘Sicily’ Mon-Sun from midday. The menu costs £29 per person with an additional wine and drinks pairing for £26. As ever, there is a veggie alternative. This one’s running until Sunday 18th October.
English summer stories
English wine is having its day in the sun at the moment and 20 Stories has teamed up with English sparkling wine producer Nyetimber for the launch of their refreshed garden terrace. The iconic, vertiginous terrace has been revamped into a ‘Quintessential English Garden.’ Available to book until 30th September, the terrace comprises of four garden houses with an English garden theme.
There’s a food and drink special menu too, including Nyetimber by the glass, bottle and handcrafted cocktails including a North to South with a homemade tablet syrup, fresh mint and Nyetimber Classic Cuvee, served long over crushed ice. On the food front expect dishes like baked local beetroot with whipped goats cheese and sticky walnuts, pan-fried scallops, black pudding & pea salad and whole lobster, garlic butter and fries. The garden houses can be hired for up to six people for private use.
Come as you are but keep your distance
Even though official Pride celebrations have sadly been cancelled this year, The Refuge's annual Come As You Are weekend will go ahead in a more reserved manner this August bank holiday. The celebration runs from Friday to Sunday on a smaller scale than usual. The team have put a lot of love into keeping the spirit of togetherness in place whilst complying with COVID-19 safety measures and guidelines. The ‘Come As You Are Cocktail’ is making a return – a tea party summer English spritz with Earl Grey-infused gin, fresh strawberry, orange twist and mint leaves. A ‘Tenner Well Spent’ menu will be available in the courtyard and public bar on Sunday featuring dishes like a pork sandwich with roast potatoes and gravy. Sunday roasts are also available in the dining room, bookings recommended.
On Friday from 5pm, entertainment comes from Homoelectric DJs with Luke Unabomber, Gina Breeze and Will Tramp. Saturday it’s the turn of Supernature Disco, High Hoops, Kiss Me Again and DJs Mix-Stress and Muddy Feet. On Sunday there’s DJ Paulette, Abigail Ward, Massey, Ladybeige (The Social Service), and Kim Lana. There are no bookings available for Come As You Are, it’s first-come-first-served but come early if you don’t want to be disappointed and don’t forget your mandatory face covering. Visit the website here.
Wine in Wilmslow
Tapas and wine bar Evuna are preparing to Rioja your world with a wine tasting evening at The Colony in Wilmslow on the 17th September. The tapas and wine specialists who recently popped up at Community Kitchen on The Square continue to diversify and we think that's just grape. Prepare to be introduced to Spanish wines you won't find on the high street by Evuna’s sommeliers who are equal parts passion and knowledge when it comes to wine. Along with the wine there will be food in the form of Spanish canapés and a giant 'interactive' paella. With a traditional Sangria on arrival and the regular bar open all evening, you certainly won’t go thirsty on this particular Thursday. Tickets are here.
Knott very good news
We’re disheartened to hear that Knott Bar at the bottom of Deansgate has temporarily closed. Thanking everyone who had visited to support them in a post on Facebook, the team said:
'Despite our best efforts over the last month to work within a sustainable business model amid testing circumstances, The Knott Bar will postpone trading following the close of business on Saturday August 15. The difficulties operating throughout the pandemic were exacerbated by the heightened local restrictions implemented this month. Whilst we appreciate these measures are necessary to save lives and stop the spread of the virus, working within these new boundaries and maintaining the long-term welfare of the business are not both achievable. With further uncertainty regarding hospitality when schools start in September, we have taken the decision to temporarily close our doors, with the intention to re-open in the autumn.'
You can still purchase the pub’s own Wander Beyond beer online or at The Chorlton Tap.
What do Three Little Words, ManCoCo and Manchester Union Lager have in common? They’re all businesses housed in railway arches. The majority of businesses located in railway arches are small independent traders. With Indies suffering disproportionately amid the pandemic, the public is being encouraged to support their local arch businesses in August as part of the #loveyourlocalarches campaign. The campaign has been running throughout August, culminating in an Arch Day on the 29th (tomorrow). It aims to increase the visibility of railway arch businesses within their communities and increase footfall to help thousands of small companies to recover.
Mike Cherry, National Chair of the FSB, said: “Small businesses are the heartbeat of our communities, providing jobs, donating time and expertise to support local causes, and creating strong community business networks. These businesses were particularly hard hit by the recent lockdown, with four in ten closing temporarily and one quarter reporting that their turnover dropped by more than 50%”
The Arch Company hopes the campaign will encourage more people to shop, drink or dine at their local arches. For more about the campaign visit their website.
And finally, Manchester’s annual vegan fair is popping up this weekend with everything you need for a vegan lifestyle across its 80 stalls. There’s freshly cooked food and groceries, vegan fashion, gifts, toiletries, cosmetics and more along with lots of stalls with information about a raft of ecological and animal charities sponsoring the event. Everybody is welcome no matter your age or dietary choices.
The event takes place on Saturday 29th August 2020,10.30am to 4.30pm, at Bowlers Exhibition Centre. Find out more on the website.