Often the simplest ideas are the best ones. Take some of Manchester’s more nomadic food vendors and put a roof over their heads, then chuck some booze and music in to the equation. It’s a concept that’s worked so well in other cities (take Birmingham’s Digbeth Dining Club for example) but in truth has yet to really click here. The proposition obviously relies on the quality of who you bring to the party, so we thought we had better head down to eat and drink as much as possible, all in the public interest of course.
Our first port of call was the certified Manchester food heroes Chaat Cart. If you’ve not seen these guys at an event or festival in the last few years you definitely must have been hiding under something or other. And you’d struggle to miss what they’re serving too, it’s as vibrantly colourful as the country’s cuisine should be. We had the chicken wrap which comes with chillis, cabbage fried noodles, pomegranate, onions, coriander… it puts your last kebab to shame basically. The onion and kale bhajis were nice and crisp too, this stuff is pretty healthy fast food really. Which is lucky for us because we had plenty to get through.
With the intention to try as much as we could, the bite box from Bali Beach Hut seemed an obvious choice. A tasty selection of dips and mostly fried goods, or to call them by their proper name, golden foods. The roti rendang, a pancake of Indonesian curried beef and potatoes was particularly good, and chicken satay is always a crowd pleaser of course. There are also three bars to check out at B.EAT STREET, so we got involved. You can enjoy cocktails with a Japanese twist at Lucky Lucky Late Bar, the Nikka Old Fashioned is a winner. If a proper pint is more your style Kozel Lokal have got you more than covered with a couple solid Czech lagers.
I wasn’t really sure what to pick from Big Grillie Style and ended up with their take on a Philly cheesesteak and some jalapeno bites, it was decent but didn’t really step above festival fodder for me. A bit stingy on the meat too. Perhaps I should have gone for one of their famous cheese toasties instead.
Our last bite, or supper if you will, was from Eat New York Street Diner. Ah salt beef, salt beef. So good we ordered it twice. The Eat New York bagel and fries were pretty similar, topping-wise, with pickles and mustard making an appearance on both as well as that salt beef, which by the way knocks pulled pork in to a cocked hat for me. And speaking of appearance just look at that bagel. That’s the money shot. They know what they’re doing with beef stateside, so it’s a pretty big claim slapping NY in your name, but credit where it’s due, that is a tasty burger.
I probably should’ve invited a few more people along to eat all of that food. And that’s the beauty of this place really, you can bring who you want, you could all eat from somewhere different and meet in the middle, no need to book a table. It’s completely casual dining but with some pretty good food as well, and loads of variety. It’s definitely got all the ingredients to hit it off in Manchester, and is set to expand further with some more vendors moving in. I think it could be a real asset to the city’s food scene, let’s hope people get behind it.