Girls in Lady Ga Ga-esque underwear as outerwear strutting down the street, crazy cocktails and fiery food. This was my winter weekend away in Manchester. Let’s just say it wasn’t me wearing the Lady Ga Ga underwear! My friend Charlotte is from Manchester so five of us headed down for a weekend break.
Breakfast at the Bubble Room
The Bubble Room, Alderley Edge
We started our weekend away with brunch at The Bubble Room in Alderley Edge, just outside Manchester. We made the choice mainly on the basis that The Bubble Room serves its breakfast menu until 2pm on weekends giving us a chance to have a lazy morning. The cafe looks glamorous, if a little over the top, filled with large leather armchairs clustered around low tables and a virtual forest of lightbulbs dangling from the ceiling. The menu features standard breakfast variations on eggs served basically any way you want them, culminating in the full English for £7.95. The all important hollondaise sauce on the Eggs Benedict (£5.95) erred on the watery side but otherwise the poached eggs were well cooked. A side order of mushrooms was not very well described on the menu since each serve was a mushroom singular rather than plural, but to be fair it was only £1.
Details: 47 London road, Alderley Edge, SK9 7JT (Ph 01625 583 399)
Red Chilli, Manchester
Red Chilli is perfectly located for a dinner before a night out in Manchester’s vibrant Northern quarter which is filled with bars and clubs. The restaurant specialises in the fiery cuisine of the Sichuan region of China and has been glowingly reviewed by Jay Rayner. Tables and diners are squeezed into the dimly lit basement restaurant and bamboo lines the ceiling.
Beans with chilli and minced pork
Although Red Chilli is a Sichuan restaurant we could not resist ordering half an aromatic crispy duck which was expertly shredded at the table to reveal tender meat and crispy skin (£17). French beans with chilli and minced pork (£8.50) is heavy on the pork and on the chilli with the beans full of crunch and vitality. Fat, juicy scallops with stir fried vegetables (£18) offers a mild breather. It is excellent but the best of all is the spicy hot poached mutton (£9) which arrives as a huge, simmering cauldron replete with chunks of fresh chilli and an oily slick floating on top of the broth. Sichuan cooking this good puts heat in your belly and sweat on your brow.
Details: 70-72 Portland street, Manchester M1 4GU (Ph 0161 236 2888)
Damage: Reasonable. £30 a head with beers.
The Lord Clyde, Kerridge
The Lord Clyde is a little country pub with a talented chef behind the stoves. The owner and chef, Gareth Davies has created an interesting and polished menu for this quaint pub surrounded by country fields. Pork chop and belly (£15.95) is an architectural triumph with crispy crackling, mashed potato laced with apple and finished with rings of dried apple standing proudly on top. A special of roast beef comes with the most enormous yorkshire pudding you will ever see and is served with cubes of roasted parsnip and rich purple roasted beetroot. The roasted meat was slightly chewy but cooked to a state of medium rare perfection.
Pork chop and belly
Happily, desserts are up to the standard of the mains with a fluffy hot chocolate and toffee fondant (£5.90) ticking all the boxes while the cheese board is an absolute bargain at (£8.15) offering a selection of Peter Paprill’s Artisian cheeses along with crackers, chutney and grapes.
Details: The Lord Clyde, Kerridge, Cheshire, SK10 5AH (Ph 01625 562 123)
Gourmet Travel Tips
We stayed at Charlotte’s house so I can’t recommend a hotel but for a fun night out in Manchester head to the Northern Quarter where we loved the cocktails at the tiny but fun filled Socio Rehab and Apotheca which is styled like a vintage chemist store.