Ancoats is fast becoming the dining destination of choice as restaurant developers cash in on the industrial chic that is so in demand right now. The city’s first Portuguese restaurant, Canto continues the trend of concrete floors and exposed vents as it opens its doors in the hipster haunt of Cutting Room Square.Simon Shaw, the restaurant’s founder, arrives award-laden from his King Street venture, El Gato Negro, while head chef Carlos Gomes boasts a CV which includes stints at London’s Ramen mecca, Koya and the Michelin-starred Barrafina.
Expect small plates of tapas-style dishes, from salt cod tempura in a tomato broth, to chargrilled chicken with punched potatoes (yes, with the chef’s very own fists). With creamy handmade pastéis de nata, (the nation’s famous custard tart) to finish and plenty of speciality ports to wash it all down, it looks set to be a hit.
Another fresh face in Ancoats is foraged food restaurant Mana. Simon Martin, the man behind the venture has a lot to live up to after leaving Copenhagen’s’ two Michelin-starred gastronomic institution, Noma.
Hand-blown glass fittings descend from a double height ceiling, while curving floor to ceiling netted windows flood the room with light. The bespoke £300,000 open kitchen is theatrically set in the midst of the dining room. Split into temperature zones, each station heats up or cools down so that each dish can be prepared to Simon’s exacting requirements.
A “wild dining experience” that aims to rediscover Britain’s indigenous produce, its fall menu offers “a cornucopia of the forest”. Reindeer moss and milk-skin cabbages are on the 16-course tasting menu to be served up in the course of 100 minutes. Despite offering dishes such as ‘next year’s cucumber’, it markets itself as an informal experience which seeks to take the pretentiousness out of fine dining.
Manchester’s newest South African restaurant brings a seriously underappreciated world cuisine to the trendy Northern Quarter. The eatery takes its name from the spicy tomato chilli and bean relish, prime for dunking pap balls (chunks of deep-fried maize stuffed with cheese). Sweet or savoury, Chakalaka has you covered, from locally sourced biltong and boerwors (minced beef sausage) to unique twists on classics like koeksisters (a fried doughnut laced in syrup) and jaffles (the Afrikan take on toasties). Soak up a new world of flavour alongside a few South African-inspired cocktails for a true Afrikaan experience right here in Manchester.
Robert & Victor
Belgian businessman Simon Dasnoy is hoping his newest venture, Robert & Victor, is a cut above when he opens the Belgium-inspired sandwich bar later this November. Set up in the Grade II listed St James’ building on Oxford Street in the heart of Manchester’s so-called Innovation District, it aims to attract the discerning city worker with an artisanal offering curated from top suppliers.
Living by its motto, “Retour à l’essentiel”, translating as ‘back to basics’, its menu will have a local, all-natural focus. Lovingly Artisan provides slow-proved sourdough loaves while pastries will be supplied by award-winning Didsbury patisserie, Bisous-Bisous. You’ll struggle to find your average ploughman’s among its 15 seasonal sandwich combinations, such as Le Louisiane which combines chicken breast in a homemade Cajun sauce with a mix of cashew nuts, pineapple, carrots, tomatoes and mixed leaves. The sandwich bar will also be the first retailer in the UK to sell Belgian pralines from artisan chocolatier François Deremiens, conveniently both Simon’s neighbour back in his Belgium hometown and one of the top ten chocolatiers in Belgium.
Grill in the Park
The Worsley Park Marriott Hotel has recently reopened its newly refurbished restaurant following a huge cash injection across its portfolio. It’s gone big, splashing out on a £16,000 Montague broiler grill to fire a serious hit of chargrill flavour into its revamped menu.
From fresh fish to classic cuts of 35-day aged steak, with a whole heap of sharing dishes to boot, including buttermilk chicken and sumac wings, the new-look restaurant is a carnivore’s delight at the heart of 200 acres of leafy parkland.