Today we’re pleased to welcome guest blogger Chris Balme - who better to show us around Manchester. He’s lived in and around the city for 17 years and has never shied away from trying its more unusual and adventurous offerings:
One of the World’s more eclectic cities, Manchester proudly boasts flagship luxury stores, such as Selfridges, whilst adopting the unofficial slogan: ‘It’s grim up North’. Like many Northern cities in the UK, Manchester has enjoyed a renaissance in terms of architecture as urban bubbles and splashes are being erected in the form of modern studios and apartments to sit alongside beautifully restored and imposing archaic buildings of the past 500 years. This incredible juxtaposition is exemplified perfectly by England’s trendiest area outside of Camden Town: The Northern Quarter.
NQ (as it is lovingly referred to by devotees) is built around a myriad of locally run bars, cafes, restaurants and shops dedicated to slightly off-kilter products, services and a desire to ‘do things the right way.’ Adjective-laden menus adorn the tables and walls of the properties promising culinary combinations only previously thought of by Gordon Ramsey returning to his fully-stocked studio at 2am after a lager-fuelled awards ceremony!
These 2 sister restaurants in the Northern Quarter both popped up with limited fanfare in the last year but have gone on to build up a fervent and dedicated fanbase and have quickly become ‘must-visit’ locations for people visiting Manchester. With queues stretching out the doors and winding up the streets from about 6.30 every evening, there is a certain sense of exclusivity surround the burgers at Almost Famous and the burritos at Luck, Lust, Liquor & Burn.
The former has recently closed its doors for an undisclosed period of time following a kitchen fire and the chefs have since been selling their burger wares from a small wagon across the centre of the city. Baring in mind that people will wait an hour during a cold February night in Manchester for an Almost Famous burger, the re-opening night will be pandemonium.
Located underground in Manchester’s China Town (underneath one of the city’s most infamous strip clubs!) Vietnamese restaurant I am Pho has unfortunately often been overlooked. This changed somewhat earlier this year when a voucher scheme brought the restaurant to the attention of the city’s hundreds of thousands of young profession dwelling residents. Intrigued by the unique flavours on offer by the good Vietnamese folks, Mancunians approached en masse to try specialities such as the eponymous Pho and Bun Hue.
The interior may be slightly stark but the warm reception and light, delicious food soon makes you forget that you are sat under bright lights and a popular strip joint.
In a city that boasts a stretch of road known as ‘Curry Mile’ it may be surprising to find this amazing Indian restaurant located a few miles away. The instantly impressive Nawaab is based in the Manchester suburb of Levenshulme and packs a Bollywood-esque punch of grandeur and tangible excitement as soon as you walk through the front door. The large entrance is adorned with images of Bollywood movie stars and the ultimate symbol of extravagance – an illuminated indoor fountain. An internal balcony wraps the 1st floor of the foyer and only a central staircase is needed to replicate the majesties of Scarface’s humble home (pre-bloodshed).
Serving as both a traditional restaurant and a wedding venue; Nawaab offers a mystifyingly large selection of different starters, mains, sides, drinks and deserts. The open-style kitchen allows you to witness the large quantities of different curries being produced by the vast team of chefs and the buffet option allows you to try a little (or a lot) of everything!
Special thanks to Chris for today’s post.