Sitting in a boozer with some mates and a couple of drinks while sharing some food is one of life’s little pleasures. Especially if it’s in one of these places…
Boneyard Feast at Cane & Grain
Cane & Grain’s menu comes with a genius idea – likely invented by a tipsy employee on a Friday night after a few too many bottles of Babycham. They decided to buy in some big metal trays and offer people one of them absolutely loaded with meat and sides so that they can sit and share and get mucky with BBQ sauce all over their face. The big daddy of the menu is surely the Boneyard Feast (£40) which comes with a full rack of Baby Back Ribs, 2 HUGE St. Louis Ribs, half a roast chicken, Brisket Mac & Cheese, Fries and Pickles. It’s perfect for two (or one of me on a Friday afternoon).
Cane & Grain, 49 -51 Thomas Street, Manchester M4 1NA
Cheese Fondue at Bock Bière Café
Any time spent in Bock Bière, drinking too many mega-strong Belgian beers is usually interrupted by someone nearby being proper rude and ordering one of the very impressive looking sharing boards to their table. It therefore becomes impossible NOT to order one for yourself (and whoever you are with) – mainly to stop any excessive dribbling and constant looks. The pièce de résistance is their Cheese Fondue (from £22) which will transport you to 1972 Belgium in an instant and is perfect for enjoying alongside some excellent bottles of Trappist beauties.
Bock Bière Café, 10 Tib Ln, Manchester M2 4JB
Jamon Iberico at La Bandera
Famed throughout the land for their fantastic tapas and unique Canarian dishes, La Bandera have a couple of great options if you’re looking to sit, relax, share some food and drink too many gin & tonics. Top of the list should surely be their selection of sublime Jamon – with their platter of 48 months cured, acorn fed Iberico Ham (£22) pretty much taking the crown as the best thing you can eat at any point in time. Pair this up with their selection of Spanish cheeses and you’ll be in platter heaven.
La Bandera, 2 Ridgefield, Manchester M2 6EQ
Sharing Platter at Dog Bowl
Most of the platters on this list are best enjoyed while casually sat down with a few drinks, a few mates and plenty of conversation. However, this one isn’t. Well, that’s not to say that it can’t be but to get the full ‘experience’ this platter is best enjoyed while flinging a load of resin balls down an alley towards some wooden pins. The Dog Bowl Sharing Platter (£15) comes loaded with 10 chicken wings, corn dogs, sweet potato fries, house fries, classic nachos, goose island onion rings and 4 mini cheese burgers. It’s the exact perfect size to share between two or three while recreating key scenes from The Big Lebowski.
Dog Bowl, Whitworth St W, Manchester M1 5WW
Plats de Fruits de Mer at Randall & Aubin
This one is a bit different, because this platter contains no trace of any cheese, chutney or even deli meats – in fact it’s a huge tower of the freshest clams, crustaceans and seafood you can imagine. The Plats de Fruits de Mer features a dazzling array of sea creatures, from oysters to crab, shrimps to scallops, clams, mussels, prawns and cockles – they’re all here. It’s not cheap but it’s massive, it’s impressive and it’s the best bit of seafood you can get in the city by far. Treat yourself.
Randall & Aubin, 64 Bridge Street, Manchester M3 3BN
The Motherboard at Dukes 92
Massive sun-terrace-packing Dukes 92 might be jam packed with the Mini-convertible driving Cheshire crew on sunny days, but their platters are definitely worth a visit. Board-wise they have 3 different sized options available depending on the amount of people you have with you (1-person option for me then!) where you can choose from a huge selection of meat, cheese, fish and salad depending on what takes your fancy. If you go for The Motherboard for 6-10 people (£40) you can choose from a whole host of meat, fish or cheese items including some belting Garstang White and a very special potted shredded duck. There’s almost too much to choose from to list here – just check the menu out below.
Dukes 92, 18-25 Castle St, Manchester M3 4LZ
Manchester Platter at The Wharf
Monolithic Gastro pub The Wharf, cradling the Castlefield canal like the Big Breakfast house is a great place for a drink and some food, especially if it’s sunny and you can get a seat out on their spectacular beer garden. While you’re out there you could do worse things than order their Manchester Platter (£20.95) which comes complete with a rabbit, partridge and duck terrine, Castlefield egg, black pudding sausage roll, Stilton, Vimto chutney, Eccles cake, ham and toast. A Castlefield Egg is a pork and black pudding Scotch egg in case you’re wondering.
The Wharf, 6 Slate Wharf, Manchester M15 4ST
Solita Sharer at Solita
This may not technically be a sharing board but rather just a bunch of starters piled high on a plate. You can get that anywhere. But I’ve included it because for £15.90 you can get a massive mound of cheeseburger spring rolls, halloumi fries, 4 mac ‘n’ cheese balls & 6 BBQ chicken wings. It sounded too good not to include it – especially them cheeseburger spring rolls – I could probably eat them from now until I die. Which wouldn’t be too long after that come to think of it. They also do a rather excellent Veggie Sharer (£12.90) too.
Turner St, Manchester M4 1DW
1 Ogden St, Manchester M20 6RD
The Introduction at The Refuge
For a venue that specialises in small plates it will come as no surprise to learn that The Refuge offer a selection of their dishes that take all of the worry about who is eating what and how. Their ‘Introduction’ offers give you a selection of 6 Voltini plates and a carafe of wine for just £45 – and there’s more than enough in there for two borderline starving fully-grown humans. They also offer a very impressive (and tasty) Vegan Introduction (£40) which is pretty much the same but without any of that pesky meat or dairy and some vegan wine.
The Refuge, Oxford St, Manchester M60 7HA
The Pit Master’s Special Plate at the Old School BBQ Bus
I’ve had to do some very difficult things in my time; from learning the whole syllabus of GCSE Physics in 2 weeks to looking after a spoilt toddler for 5 hours. But nothing compares with having to decide what to eat at the Old School BBQ Bus in Failsworth. The menu is SO full of BBQ’ed goodies that you can literally spend an hour just staring at the menu and not making a decision. To help people with this they’ve invented the Pit Master’s Special Plate (£29.95) which contains everything you could ever desire including pork belly, St. Louis ribs, beef brisket, chicken wings, pulled pork, cheese & jalapeno sausages, fries, BBQ pit beans, smoked corn, huge onion rings and pink slaw.
The Old School BBQ Bus, Alford St, Chadderton, Oldham OL9 7LP
The Brewski Cheeseboard at Brewski
Looking at the Brewski menu it’s pretty easy to become overwhelmed with the sheer amount of cheese, meat and gravy knocking about – they’re everywhere. They also have a rather impressive range of sharing platters available too, including a sexy looking Brunch Board (£40) which is filled with every single American breakfast and brunch product you could ever imagine. Top of the leader board though must be The Brewski Cheeseboard (£40) which has such a dazzling array of cheeses on it that if I was to list them here you’d either have a coronary or develop some serious gout. Or both. The Nduja smothered burrata is a particular highlight of mine as are the deep-fried Babybells.
Unit 1, 58 W Mosley St, Manchester M2 3HZ
537-539 Wilbraham Rd, Manchester M21 0UE
Sharing Platter at La Boca
Relative newcomer to the NQ, La Boca is a lovely little place on Turner Street which specialises in charcuterie – basically platters of meat and cheese and olives and nuts and everything else that makes the world such a brilliant place. Their classic Sharing Platter (£19.50) is certainly a winner with 2 different types of stunning Jamon, chorizo Iberico de Bellota y cabecero de lomo, award winning semi cured manchego & queso de Mahon, Cortijo marinated olives, pepinillos, organic membrillo and picos bread sticks. If none of that makes much sense to you just listen to me instead – it’s MEGA!
La Boca, 14 Turner St, Manchester M4 1DZ
Speciality Kebab Platter at Asha’s
Asha’s certainly isn’t like any other curry house in Manchester, with a varied menu which manages to surprise you and excite you in equal measures. I mean, somewhere that offers the likes of Venison Samosas and Stonebass with Coconut and Sunchoke must be a pretty decent place to fill your face – and indeed it is. They also offer a rather brilliant Speciality Kebab Platter (£32.95) which comes with a selection of Chilli Garlic King Prawns, Lamb Chops, Monkfish Tikka & Tandoori Murg Kebabs all straight out of their massive tandoori oven downstairs. The menu says it’s perfect for 2 or 3 but if you’re anything like me – just get it for yourself and enjoy the meat sweats.
Asha’s, 47 Peter St, Manchester M2 3NG