So while we are all waiting here with baited breath and disinfected hands for cold season to strike, I thought I would form a list of things you can eat to make you feel better here in Manchester. God knows you deserve a little bit of pleasure when you have to sneeze every eight seconds.
Irish Ale and Potato Soup from Soup Kitchen
I might sound like an old biddy when I say this- but nothing makes me feel better than a steaming bowl of soup. It doesn’t matter if I’m hungover, riddled with cold or heartbroken, something about it warms my soul from the inside out. Sure, we’ve all been for a dance until god-knows-when at Soup Kitchen Club, but their little bar and canteen upstairs is charming. A casual, unassuming venue is what you will find here- which is a welcome relief amongst the pretentious ‘Uber-Cool’ detritus of the Northern Quarter.They serve up a range of homemade soups (the clue is in the name) as well as jackets, deli sandwiches, salads and freshly made stews and bakes. The Irish ale soup is always my go to- it tastes just like something your red-headed, Irish lilt-speaking grandmother would make for you and will have you feeling better in no time.
Soup Kitchen, 31-33 Spear St, Manchester M1 1DF
0161 236 5100
Diablo Hot Wings from El Capo
When my sinuses are blocked, my nose is running, and I’m feeling miserable I always swear by spice to clear me out. Chances are that your sense of taste is severely diminished as it is, so perhaps having a cold is an excellent opportunity to show all your mates how ‘man’ you are when it comes to spice. The Diablo wings are made with habanero peppers at El Capo and can boast a hefty four chilli rating. Quite frankly, they are hot as f**k and are not for the faint-hearted. It is important to note that on Wednesdays the wings only cost 50p each- so grab your kleenex and pop down on your lunch hour and sweat it all out.
El Capo, 12 Tariff St, Manchester M1 2FF
0161 237 3154
Steak and Yippee Pie Ale from Pie & Ale
There is nothing quite like a pie. They are the food of the people and a British delicacy that has stood the test of time. The first recorded recipe for pie comes from the 12th century here in the UK, and even as far back as the Egyptians in the rest of the world. With that in mind, if pies have kept the human race afloat for upwards of 2000 years, then surely they can keep you alive through flu season. Look no further than Pie & Ale in the Northern Quarter. Go for something classic like their steak and ale- British beef cooked with onions, celery, carrots, garlic, rosemary, horseradish in a beer enriched gravy. It’s a northern classic. All their pies come with creamy mash and red wine gravy – and I always add a bit of pickled red cabbage too.
Pie & Ale, 1 & 2, The Hive, 47 Lever St, Manchester M1 1FN
0161 228 1610
Steaming bowl of Pho from Vnam
The great thing about Pho, or ramen for that matter, is that it has just about everything. Carbs from the noodles, protein from the BBQ meat, vegetables, pickles and of course steaming broth. At Vnam, the broth flavoured with cloves, star anise, cinnamon and coriander which will hopefully make your taste buds do a little dance, even if you are struggling to taste anything before. The good thing about Pho is that it is flavorful without being too hot, so it is gentle and mild on the stomach if you are feeling a bit squiffy. I always head down the traditional route by ordering the Pho Ga with chicken and a steaming cup of green tea which is full of detoxing antioxidants to flush that bug out. Top Tip: If you put your face over the bowl it doubles as a steam inhalation to clear out those sinuses.
Vnam, 140 Oldham Rd, Manchester M4 6BG
0161 205 2700
Rotisserie Chicken Sandwich from Bay Horse
I am pretty sure that it is scientifically proven that carbs and gravy can cure most, if not any ailment. I once heard a legend of a blind man restoring his sight after consuming a proper roast dinner. Don’t believe me? You don’t have to. If you haven’t been down to Bay Horse yet and given their rotisserie meat sandwiches a go, then you need to stop what you are doing this instant and get elbow deep into some juicy, juicy meat. Choose from chicken, beef, or suckling pig all cooked for hours in the rotisserie oven. I would always go for the chicken when I’m feeling a bit poorly as it is soft, succulent and falls off the bone- which is easy on a sore throat. The sandwiches are epic and come with a side of gravy for dipping.
The Bay Horse Tavern, 35-37 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1NA
0161 669 5799
Saag Gosht curry from Scene Indian Kitchen
When things are horrible and you just aren’t getting better, I want you to wrap up warm and stroll down to Scene Indian Kitchen sit yourself down and order yourself the most aromatic curry on the menu. That would be the Saag Gosht – cubes of tender lamb cooked in a medium spiced masala of fresh spinach, coriander and mint, infused with a rich blend of bay leaves, cardamom, black pepper and cloves. It has so much flavour with a medium level of heat which will be sure to make your taste buds tingle. Have it with one of their fantastic hot naan bread and stop feeling sorry for yourself.
Scene Indian Street Kitchen, 4 A Leftbank, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3AN
0161 839 3929
A Wee Dram from The Whiskey Jar
My Dad is a proper Doctor, and he swears that the only cure for a cold is a hot bath with a whiskey. When I quizzed him about this, wondering if was just in fact an excuse for him to drink heavy spirits on a weekday, the reason is in fact, scientific. First, the relaxation of the whole experience will always make you feel better- It will rest your aching muscles, and help you sweat out the illness. Most importantly, and this is bonafide by Dr Tighe- the whiskey sends you to sleep and will keep you asleep throughout the night so your body can repair itself.If you don’t have a bottle at home- pop into the whiskey jar and sample one of their excellent drams. If it works for the Scots, I don’t see why it won’t work for you.
The Whiskey Jar, 14 Tariff St, Manchester M1 2FF
0161 237 5686