Going Gourmet in…Manchester
We’ve all faced this heart-wrenching, stomach-angering, situation; you get home after a gruelling day at work, having spent every moment after your disappointing lunch thinking about the myriad of possibilities for a delectable dinner, only to find that either there’s nothing good in the fridge, or nothing in there at all. Your insides growl so fiercely you think you hear actual words emanating from your belly, and you start to play out the options before you. It usually goes something like this:
Go to the supermarket, grab some good ingredients and cook something?
“No,” your increasingly more feral stomach mutters, “that would take too long.”
How about ordering a take out?
“No,” your stomach growls, growing more impatient by the second, “that wouldn’t taste good enough. And it’s bad for us.”
But what about that place we found last week? You know, the one with the salt and pepper prawns?
“You mean the one that made us sick?”
Yeah, that one.
“No. It wouldn’t be worth it, not again.”
But I’m hungry!
“Of course you are, you’re talking to your stomach...”
And so, after debating with your rather hangry self, you realise there truly is only one option; to eat out. So with that decision made, the biggest task to tackle is presented; where do you go to eat?
Well, should you find yourself in Manchester, you’ll find that the city is your oyster, or your soy curd should you be averse to meat. Here are just a few options where you can dine in Manchester and benefit from the Gourmet Society discount.
1847: Vegetarian, Mosley Street
Starting things off with a shout out to all the herbivores in Manchester is the exquisite vegetarian orientated restaurant, 1847. Named after the year that the Vegetarian Society was first formed, this eatery features a menu exclusively tailored to those who like to dine ethically as well as excellently. A modern décor subtly creates a calming ambience within, allowing the food to do the talking. And talk it does, at length, with witty anecdotes and everything, as the dishes look utterly stunning.
Some look so good they could fool you into thinking they’re not entirely vegetarian, and they taste just as good too. Even diners who never look twice, or at all, at the vegetarian options on normal menus will find something brilliant here. The best dishes for those diners would be either the Surf and Turf, which features neither surf nor turf, yet substitutes both with a sumptuous aubergine steak and some irresistible seaweed salad, or the ‘Fish’ and Chips, which consists of cider batter halloumi, hand cut chips and mint and basil enriched peas. Recommendations for vegetarians are a fairly moot point however, as there isn’t a thing on the menu they wouldn’t love, whereas vegans have a wide assortment of choices as well.
Bourbon and Black: Steaks and American, Wilmslow Road
Just like that, we turn carnivorous and focus on all things charred. Bourbon and Black is another locale that focuses on the food, inviting diners to simply get comfortable in simple, rustic surroundings. As spelt out in the name, there are two things Bourbon and Black do well; provide an excellent selection of bourbons, and prove the meat tastes best when blackened. Choosing to put simplicity and quality above all when it comes to cooking, an open fire allows charcoal fuelled flames to lick the succulent meats, allowing the inside to cook to perfection as the outside becomes tantalisingly crispy.
The exceptional choices go on and on, but in an attempt to suggest some of the best of the best there are tender, slide-off-the-bone ribs, coated in the patented B&B treacle, the juicy grilled poussin, a complete chicken covered in a special B&B house rub, and the epitome of all steaks, the monstrous 42oz Tomahawk steak, a larger version of the French côte de boeuf, this behemoth is best enjoyed rare and in tandem with another diner. There are, believe it or not, several veggie friendly options as well, so no matter your ideology or dietary requirements there will be something to savour here.
The Crafty Pig: British and International-ish, Oldham Street
The word ‘trendy’ casts a lot of different images for different people, but The Crafty Pig is just that; with wood panelling going side by side with exposed brick walls, this eatery feels like the perfect blend between restaurant and bar. If that doesn’t sound like the kind of place you could see yourself, then banish it from your mind and focus on the food, as it’s definitely worth stopping by for the dishes, as well as the diverse list of drinks.
With drinks in mind, should you find yourself simply looking for somewhere to grab a few cocktails with friends you’d be wise to call in with your Gourmet Society card and let the good folk at The Crafty Pig know you’re coming, as even if you feel you might fancy a nibble it’d be well worth the advanced warning. There are a plethora of tapas style bar bites to enjoy, including crispy coconut prawns, honey and balsamic chorizo and beer-battered gherkins. For the main event there’s all sorts of delights, with plenty of bountiful burgers, sublime steaks and the hottest of dawgs, as well as a divine selection of desserts for those who can’t ignore their sweet tooth.
There’s plenty more to enjoy in around Manchester for Gourmet Society members and a comprehensive list of restaurants in a variety of cuisine types can be seen on the Gourmet Society website or smartphone app. Perfect for those nights when hunger is calling, and a treat for your wallet too with plenty of reductions off the food and drinks.