One thing I love Manchester for more than anything is its multiculturalism, as well as it’s alternative and quirky bars and restaurants. Step out of your front door and within minutes you could be enjoying African, Pakistani, Hawaiian or Caribbean cuisines and that’s just to name a few.
Some wonderful, some maybe a little weird for the quintessentially British pallet, but you’ve got to try everything once, right? My favourite thing about this city is that you can eat from a different country every night of the year and still have room left for dessert.
And then once you’ve done that, go and sample some ridiculously great mixology with themes you just never thought could work.
Having never sampled Hawaiian food before, Oké Poké in the Northern Quarter is a great little place to give it a go for the first time. So what’s a Hawaiian delicacy? Well Poke of course. Typically raw fish, mango with great sauce (soy, ginger and garlic) and veg, a big Poke bowl will set you back £8, but it’s worth the price- filling and uber healthy.
Oké Poké, 59 Church St, Manchester M4 1PD
There’s plenty of traditional Punjab cuisine on the menu at Zouk, and all of it is delicious. Aiming for the much more unusual vibes though are their dishes of Sheep’s Trotters (Paya) and Sheep’s Brain (Magaz). The brain is pan-fried with onions, tomatoes and green chillies – perhaps worth a try?!
Zouk, 5, The Quadrangle, Chester Street, Manchester M1 5QS
Both in Manchester and Stockport, you’d be mad not try the best Souvlaki in the North. A fun atmosphere with traditional Greek and Cypriot music, you can enjoy Mezze boards for £25. For the weird and wonderful, a delicious Octapody – octopus marinated with olive oil, vinegar, dill and garlic – is a must-try.
Rozafa, 63 Princess St, Manchester M2 4EQ
Arcane’s Sage and Onion Daiquiri
Exactly how it sounds, but not as you’d imagine it to look or taste. Arcane is famed for it’s unusual creations, and this one has to be up there as the strangest. No, it isn’t just a stuffing ball in a glass, but a mix of rum, homemade sage and onion, sugar and lime. And I tell you what, it’s bloody delicious.
Arcane, 2 S King St, Manchester M2 6EX
For all things Arman and Arusyak, Armenian Taverna has everything to suit the taste buds. An assorted pickle starter, black caviar, Pacsus Dolma (marinated cabbage stuffed with granule vegetables) washed down with cognac? You’ll be smacking your lips all night long.
Armenian Taverna, 3-5 Princess St, Manchester M2 4DF
Donut Burger at Reds True BBQ
Yes, that’s right, this burger is exactly what you’d expect it to be – lovely meat and cheese sandwiched between a couple of sweet, sweet donuts. Actually it was a favourite of Luther Vandross who may or may not have invented it himself. A true unique US culinary delight.
Reds True BBQ, 22 Lloyd St, Manchester M2 5WA
Who wants traditional turkey dinner for Christmas when you can have a Curry Goat Medley served with kachumbari and plantain! Step aside spotted dick or jam roly poly for pudding, welcome grilled pineapple with ice cream and rum cream sauce. For bold flavoured foods from African origin, Roots is the place to go.
Roots Restaurant, 518 Hyde Rd, Manchester M18 7AA
Anyone who has had the displeasure of standing on a Sea Urchin in the sea in Greece will probably not bat an eyelid if the spiky buggers just all died out. Unfortunately if this was so us humans would miss out on a true delicacy – one which Umezushi proudly serve up for your eating pleasure.
Umezushi, 4, Mirabel St, Manchester M3 1PJ
The Bay Horse Tavern
Alongside their rotisserie, banging out the most succulent chicken, beef and pork you can imagine – Bay Horse in the Northern Quarter also serve up ‘small dishes’ which include Duck Hearts. Don’t be reluctant or squeamish – they are fantastic, and perfect for sharing. They come with a little pot of blackberry purée too which manages to add a whole new dimension.
The Bay Horse Tavern, 35-37 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1NA
What’s not to love about meat, meat and more meat being paraded around you until you physically have to tell the waiter, stop please I’m having palpitations? So when that happens, why not try cinnamon covered roasted pineapple? Delicious. Skewers of chicken hearts or beef skirt? Even more delicious. And every cut of meat you could possibly dream of, on a stick. Fantastic.
King St W, Manchester M3 2GQ
58 Lever St, Manchester M1 1FJ
The Rabbit In The Moon
Where else in the city can you take full advantage of chef Michael O’Hare’s odd but delicious creations than right at the top of Urbis in Rabbit in the Moon? Nowhere. With a rather eclectic menu, you can eat such delights as their Korean fried calf brain and Octopus hotdog. Delish!
The Rabbit In The Moon, Urbis Building, Corporation St, Manchester M4 3BG
Tender Cow in Mackie Mayor
Newly opened Mackie Mayor is home to Tender Cow who most people probably know from Altrincham Market and their fantastic meaty dishes. One such dish is their Ox Tail on toast (with smoked ewes cheese and horseradish) which I’ve been told is truly fantastic and worth the visit alone.
The menu in Mowgli is truly to die for. Bringing traditional Indian food for an extremely affordable price, they offer cuisine such as Calcutta Cabbage Triangle and Himalayan Cheese Toast. For an amazing creative kick, try their curry leaf laden whiskey cocktails and you’ll forget you’re in freezing cold Manchester.
Mowgli, 16, Corn Exchange House, 37 Exchange St, Manchester M4 3TR
You can literally drink a garden and garden furniture in this wonderful little bar in NQ. There is a section of their menu devoted to Rosemary and Thyme flavoured cocktails, because herbs are just so damn tasty with booze. Enjoy cocktails drank out of watering cans, it’s just great.
Allotment, 24 Dale St, Manchester M1 1FY
You can always rely on the Chinese to serve up something that would make us Brits squirm, and Yang Sing are unapologetic in their desire to provide us with more ‘traditional’ Chinese dishes that you won’t find elsewhere. One such dish is their Braised Goose Web and Sea Cucumber in oyster sauce which, if you Google any of those things, will certainly make you re-consider ordering the dish.
Yang Sing, 34 Princess St, Manchester M1 4JY