Our weekly round up of stories you might have missed from around town
Silly season is well and truly upon us and with it comes a snowdrift of food and drink events and happenings. There are creative limited-edition offerings all over the show from chocolate to pizza and even a music-inspired Estonian/Welsh doughnut. Read on to get yourself up to date with all this and more.
In news that’s anything but sweet, everyone’s favourite cavity-creators Home Sweet Home are being left with no choice but to close their branch in the Great Northern. In a social media post, the comfort food diner announced the news, saying:
'With a cinnamon swirl latte in hand and a heavy heart, we regretfully announce that Home Sweet Home, Great Northern will close for good at the end of this year. It’s been 4 super-sweet-pancake-waffle-fried-chicken-cake-shake filled years, here for all of your breakfast, lunch and dinner dreams; we’ve loved every last minute.The Great Northern complex is being redeveloped into an ‘urban oasis’ and our beautiful Home Sweet space is needed as an entrance to the warehouse apartments.'
Their Northern Quarter branch will continue to trade and there’s 50% off food (excluding cake and afternoon tea) at the Great Northern branch Mon-Thurs for the whole of December if you quote 'bye bye home sweet' when booking.
Speaking of cakes, the tea room at The Midland Hotel has launched a festive afternoon tea. The iconic hotel has been whipping up afternoon teas for over a hundred years, so they are something of an authority on the subject. The classic British indulgence has been given a special Christmas cake-over with the usual cake selection being upgraded to seasonal sweets like Xmas tree topped mince pies, sweet chestnut mousse with cranberry jam and crystallised chestnuts, and fruit loaf with dried figs, apples and apricots. The Confidentials team have painstakingly taste-tested the cakes and can confirm they are very, very good. Also included is a selection of seasonal sarnies, scones, a choice of teas, a glass of mulled wine and a glass of champers. The festive afternoon tea is available Mon–Fri 1-4.30pm and Sat–Sun 12.30-6.30pm until January 1st and will set you back £37 per person.
If you’re wondering what to buy the chocoholic in your life for Xmas, step away from the selection boxes and step your game up a bit. Masterchef finalist David Crichton from Stockport has created a limited edition collection of luxury chocolate bars filled with some rather unusual flavours. David first invented the souped up chocolate bars - based on the classic Cadbury’s Wispa - when he competed in the 2018 edition of the popular TV cookery show before going on to create a commercially available version called The Careless Collection. The Black Collection is his latest limited edition box set, all packaged in a classy blue and gold box and made from four of the world’s most revered chocolate types. There’s Valrhona with spiced orange and thyme, Guittard with pink peppercorn, mango and passion fruit, Amedei with saffron, cardamom and pistachio cremino, and Michel Cluziel with toasted cream caramel, banana and malt. By George, they sound good! Get yours here.
Happy quiz-mas from Cultureplex
If your favourite thing about Xmas is dusting off the Trivial Pursuit and marvelling at your Dad’s uncanny ability to retain decades' worth of information that only finds a purpose on Boxing Day, this one might be for you. Hosted by Manchester’s favourite snow queen from space, Cheddar Gorgeous, The Really Hard Christmas Pop Quiz promises to be ‘actually, properly hard’ with questions on culture, music, film, TV and more. The winning team will receive the Christmas cracking prize of a £300 bar and restaurant tab. The maximum team size is six and it’s only two quid each to join in so grab your cleverest buddies and get yours-elves down to Cultureplex for 4pm on Sunday 8th. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org with your team name to reserve a spot.
Does it sound like I'm ordering a pizza?
It’s that time of year when everyone is trying to outdo each other with their mile high burger creations or coming up with ever more creative ways with sprouts. Meanwhile, the mad scientists at Crazy Pedro’s have been busy outdoing them all - at least on the total weirdness front - with their latest limited edition pizza creation Pie Hard. Never mind arguing over whether Die Hard counts as a Christmas movie (it does), this one is sure to cause a festive fuss. If you thought Pedro’s had already put everything possible on a pizza (Mini waffles? Check. Chippy tea? Check. Noodles? Check…) you were wrong. Their Yuletide offering is topped with, wait for it… custard, mozzarella cheese, mince pie, whiskey cream and cranberry sauce. If this is their idea of Christmas, I gotta be here for New Year's.
You doughnut want to miss this
In one of the more inventive music PR stunts we've seen recently, local musician Robin Richards from Marple-based indie-pop band Dutch Uncles is teaming up with SiOP SHOP in the NQ on a limited edition doughnut - yes an actual doughnut - to celebrate the release of his solo EP. The EP, entitled Castel, is released on Friday 6th December and Richards will be performing live in store at SiOP SHOP at 4pm on the day. The doughnut - available for seven days - is inspired by both the Welsh and Estonian influences on the record. Doughnut designer Iwan Roberts had this to say:
"When we were initially asked to respond to Robin's EP in the form of a doughnut, I thought this was a very strange request. Luckily, we’re also very strange. I listened to the record with Robin’s Caernarfon residency in mind.In response, we present a coffee and cardamon custard filled doughnut with a caramel glaze. We’ve taken inspiration from the Estonian dessert Kringel which is a sweet, yeasted bread, flavoured with Cardamon. This pairs well with coffi (coffee, not to be confused with 'cofi' which is my native tongue's word for a person hailing from Caernarfon and the title of a track on the EP). We’re calling the doughnut Kringel Castel." Learn more about the EP here.
Booze, booze and more booze
Manchester Gin is is teaming up with one of the swankiest hotels in town, Dakota, for an evening of cocktails paired with a lavish dinner on December 11th. The Gourmet & Gin evening’s menu will include luxuries like duck and pistachio, lobster tortellini and venison and winter tart. Tickets are £50 each. Book here.
If whisky’s more your dram you might prefer to head down to The Oasthouse, where Laphroaig - the UK’s No 1 Islay single malt whisky, it sez ‘ere - is taking their choir on December 12th between 6-8pm. It’s the Scottish sextet’s first foray into Manchester and they will be performing Christmas carols ‘with a difference’ setting customer reactions to the tipple, such as “the perfect gift for someone you love or hate… or haven’t made your mind up about” and “smells like medicine. Tastes like soil. My whisky of choice”, to music. If this sounds a bit niche, they will also be and handing out free samples of their whisky either neat or in a Smoky Ginger cocktail.
And finally, there’s a brand new cocktail at Pho designed by none other than Denise Roberts of Primal Scream. The Vim’pho cocktail saw Roberts crowned the winner of the Corn Exchange restaurant’s Battle on the Balcony cocktail design competition. It is being added to the menu on Saturday 7th December with a 50p donation of every sale going towards Action Against Hunger throughout 2020.