2024 is shaping up to be a landmark year in the world of food and drink. After Chanel decided to bring the circus to town in 2023 in the name of haut couture, so Michelin will be doing the same for British cuisine next month, hosting its annual awards at The Midland.
It says much about the enviable food scene that we now have in the city, cultivated over years and now becoming renowned not just nationally but internationally.
And it’s not the only thing going on either. Not by a long way…
It’s kind of hard to overstate what the arrival of Skof could mean for the Manchester restaurant scene. Chef Tom Barnes, a protege of the multi-Michelin star winning chef Simon Rogan, has only ever worked in Michelin star-rated kitchens (well, since the age of 18), and was overseeing Rogan’s L’Enclume when it won its coveted third star last year. Tom’s new restaurant will arrive in the spring (date tbc), in the NoMa neighbourhood by Victoria, and we can say with some confidence that it will be the hottest opening of the year.
Chef Gabe Lea has some pretty stunning pedigree – he’s worked at Raymond Blanc’s pivotal Le Manoir aux Quat’saisons and The French at The Midland Hotel, and soon he’ll be behind the stove at Maya, a new restaurant from the people behind Isabel in Mayfair. We were treated to a taster of what the menu will be like by Gabe at a secret kitchen out of town last year, and we were pretty blown away. It’ll open on the former Mash & Air site on Chorlton Street in the spring. We cannot wait.
Soho House Manchester
After a few delays, the iconic Soho House will finally arrive in Manchester this year, its first northern outpost, currently being constructed on the old Granada Studios site on the edge of St John’s and Spinningfields. It will have a restaurant, a rooftop pool, a bar and wellness facilities, spread over five floors, as well as a Mollie’s Motel bar and diner next door, and will be running a 16-week mentoring programme for young people in the city too.
Baratxuri at Beeswing
Who, frankly, wouldn’t want more Baratxuri, if given the choice? So it’s with great delight that the legendary Ramsbottom spot, dedicated to the joys of Basque cooking, will be running the kitchen at the excellent Beeswing bar at Kampus. Expect super-authentic small plates and the potential for huge hunks of meat coming scorched from the grill.
The London-born Flat Iron chain will be bringing ‘remarkable steak available to everyone’ to Deansgate soon, on the site of the former Black’s outdoors store. Priding itself on reasonably priced steak, you will be able to grab a slab of flat iron at around the £13 mark, with sides including beef dripping fries and a crispy bone marrow and garlic mash. It’s been a hit in the capital, where it has branches all over the place.
From the minds behind Liverpool’s Belzan and taco joint Madre at Kampus, Medlock Canteen is ‘inspired by the informality, accessibility and hospitality of American diners and Parisian bistros with a menu centred around dishes you know and love to eat’. It’ll be setting up shop at Deansgate Square, neighbouring the likes of Kitten and Atomeca, and if chef Sam Grainger’s previous racing form is anything to go by, they’ll smash it.
We loved Sugo. Then we loved Sud. But from 6 January, the De Martiis brothers will have transformed their much-loved pasta situations in Ancoats, Sale and Altrincham into Rigatoni’s, a new concept where the ridged, tube-y pasta is king. While there will be one simple pasta style, the sauces will encompass wonderful things like fennel sausage, nduja meatballs, brown crab and vodka and even a classic ‘pasta fazool’ with white beans.
Michelin stars at The Midland
For the first time ever, the Michelin ceremony – where the new stars are awarded – will be coming to Manchester. Of course, it will come with wild rumours about who in Manchester might be about to get a star (or even a second star), as the country’s top chefs descend on the historic Midland hotel on 5 February. Could Ancoats’ own Michelin star winner mana be getting a second star? Could Adam Reid’s kitchen at The French – coincidentally at The Midland – be up for its first? Is there another Manchester curveball in there? Not long to wait now before we find out.
The long-awaited Treehouse, at the top end of Deansgate on the site of the old Renaissance hotel, will this year be transformed from a brutal monolith into a smart new place to stay, along with some pretty amazing places to eat and drink too. Mary-Ellen McTague will be taking on a kitchen, as will Belzan and Madre’s Sam Grainger, while the Unabombers (Justin Crawford and Luke Cowdrey, they of Volta and Electrik fame, and launchers of the Refuge) will be curating the rooftop terrace bar, with views across the city.
Royal Nawaab at the Stockport Pyramid
One of the most truly bizarre constructions in all of Greater Manchester, the pyramid on the edge of the M60 at Stockport will soon become a place to worship curry in all of its forms, as the folk behind the Royal Nawaab in Levenshulme take it on.