Spencer Tunick: Getting naked in Salford

That famous nudey artist Spencer Tunick is coming to Manchester on May 1 and 2. But no, he doesn’t get naked himself. He wants YOU the people of Manchester to whip off your togs and show some skin.

Does he not KNOW how cold it is in Manchester? Well, dear reader, I’d love to tell you I was going to take part in this piece of art history in the name of journalism. But erm, I’m busy that day. And I’m not stripping off, especially when I’ve been eating Easter Eggs all day (yes I know it’s not Easter Sunday yet.) read more »

Red Chilli made me sneeze

Red Chilli, I’ve been told by many, is one of the best restaurants in Manchester. And this is by people who’ve actually been to London (unlike my provincial self).

And since I started going about a month ago, it’s now my favourite restaurant in Manchester too. Actually I’d like it better if it wasn’t a chain, but that’s food snobbery for you.

And I didn’t even let my first terrible experience put me off.

I knew it was going to be spicy but I didn’t really consider how spicy it would be. SO I merrily ordered the mixed meat and seafood clay pot and happily drunk my house sauvignon blanc (which is not bad for a ‘housey’).

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Grazing lunch at Abode

The other week, I was freelancing in an office for the morning and on the way home accidentally went for a three course meal on my own. Well, it’s not my fault that my bus stop is RIGHT outside Abode. But after an intensive morning and no food in my belly, it was really nice to relax in some luxurious surroundings, and get my notepad out for some planning work.

AND their lunchtime offer won the Best Set Menu in the Good Food Guide 2010. Jay Rayner says this about it: “Right now, at lunchtime, Michael Caines at ABode Manchester is offering what must be one of the best bargains in the world of serious cooking available in Britain today.”

The super lunchtime offer is £12 for three courses, between 12noon and 2.30pm. They are mini taster portions, but three of them is still more than enough for a really filling lunch.

I’ve also been to review Abode in the evening for Taste of Manchester, when fellow food writer Lisa Higginson and I ate enough food for our extended families, and three generations in the future for the next 50 years. However, this visit was a little more restrained.

The menu changes regularly, so the current offering is this. Full marks to Abode for bringing me a massive bread basket, and don’t tell Dr Atkins but I ate it all. All three pieces. And it was good.

Out of the three starters – scallops; duck confit and parsnip soup – the Pan fried scallops appealed the most.  They came out on a fancy little black plate, they were dressed with caramelised cauliflower puree and sweet raisin vinaigrette. The taste of cauliflower didn’t really come through and certainly didn’t stick in my mind, but the sweetness of the raisin juice was a good choice to fight with the smoky taste of them scallops. I liked the little baby leaves because they looked cute and miniature things are always good.

The main course was pretty tiny, but good because it just one part of four very tasty things (am including the bread here). The roast fillet of pollock was a plump cheeky little piece of white fish. I don’t usually like the taste of pollock because it’s a bland, but more eco-friendly version of cod. But if I’m going to eat it, it may as well be cooked by the best chefs. The leeks, wild mushrooms and herb butter sauce gave the whole dish a massive umph with the buttery creaminess making sure it was satisfying.

Not in the mood for a sweet treat, I went for the cheese and biscuits, with delicate homemade biscuits (mine are always thick, clonky and crumbly), and three cheeses. One was a blue, one a smoked Cheddar and one a goats cheese, I think. The onion chutney and grapes gave it all some zing.

You have to remember that a 12% service charge is added onto the bill at the end, so along with my Appletizer I think my bill came to about £16. Quite a lot for a lunch, but it was worth it, even though I’m now eating home-made sarnies for the rest of the month.

This is one of the best restaurants in Manchester, so if you want to taste the handiwork of MFDF chef of the year Ian Matfin, but can’t afford the full on evening experience – this is the one to go for.

107 Piccadilly, Manchester, M1 2DB
T: 0161 247 7744
W: www.michaelcaines.com/restaurants/manchester

A Raisin In The Sun reviewed

Lorraine Hansberry’s famous drama, A Raisin in the Sun, came to the Royal Exchange in Manchester over the past month and I was sent to discover what the play was really about.

Hansberry’s family drama focuses on a black family, the Youngers, who reside on the Southside of Chicago in 1959. Even though the family work they barely earn enough money to cover the rent. Therefore, when the head of the family passes away, the family wait in earnest for the insurance cheque of $10,000 which will make their dreams come true. Each family member has their own aspirations for the money and the family soon begin to fall apart as the thoughts of money consume them.

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The Flat White Experience: Bringing an extra kick to Manchester.

This week I was invited to attend a special preview at the Starbucks coffeehouse on Oxford Road, to premier a new coffee coming to Manchester. The Flat White, which is originally from Australasia, comes as a response from Manchester coffee drinkers asking for an extra shot or a different syrup in their coffee.

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A Raisin in the Sun

Raisin in the sun

Coming to the Royal Exchange theatre in February is the heart rendering classic, A Raisin In The Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry. The plot follows the Youngers, an African- American family, who are living on the south side of Chicago in the 1950s.

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Village Drinks

Village Drinks as is a networking event for gay professionals that is held monthly. They’ve got something pretty special lined up for February’s event.

Held in connection with Manchester Pride, the special guest speaker is former NBA basketballer John Amaechi. He became the first openly gay NBA basketball player after coming out in his autobiography in 2007. Also he was raised in Heaton Moor, before moving to Ohio. John was also given an honorary degree by Manchester Metropolitan University in 2007.

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A Night on the Tiles at Contact

Penultimate Contact Theatre Manchester

Hitting the Contact Theatre in February is Pen-Ultimate with their debut show A Night on the Tiles. Described as “Manchester’s freshest lyrical outfit” Pen-Ultimate is a hip-hop theatre group made up of Ben Mellor, Martin Stannage, Niven Ganner, Frisko Dan and Samira Arhin-Acquaah who combine their talents to make up a theatre and spoken word collective.

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Urbis is leaving the building…

urbis has left the building

It’s a disappointing start to the year for Manchester. As chief executive Vaughan Allen tweeted recently, it’s sad that the Urbis is closing at the end of a decade when it was supposed to be a millenium project.

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It’s a wrap

So Christmas and New Year are over, but Peter Saville’s limited edition wrapping paper is still available to buy.  Originally designed as part of the ‘See what Manchester’s made of’ Christmas campaign, there are now only 1000 rolls left of the unique design.

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