Loaded Chips, Cheese Wheel Pasta & The Best Things We Ate & Drank this Week

Also including a vegan Katsu Burger, Superfood Eggs and a truly Bottomless Bottomless Brunch...

By Manchester's Finest | 8 June 2021

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Penne Reggiano
A proper bit of theatre this one, where Cibo actually bring a massive wheel of Parmesan cheese to your table, throw a load of fresh penne in there and start flinging the blowtorch about. What results is a superbly cheesy, smoky, creamy pasta, one which could very certainly be one of the best pasta dishes in the city. It’s that good!


Chopped Cheezeburga Frites
Icon Burgers
You might not have heard about Icon Burgers yet, as they’ve only recently arrived in the city centre at Brickhouse Social. They’ve been making waves over in Huddersfield and Leeds for a couple of years now, and it’s all down to their proper naughty burgers, sides and fried chicken. We tucked into a couple of outstanding burgers, and these – the Cheeseburger Fries which were absolutely mega and we couldn’t stop scoffing.


‘The Full Experience’
Last Friday was a very special day for one lucky Finest employee and his wife as they were invited down to try the Northern Quarter’s newest gastronomic experience – a Neo Bangkok modern Thai BBQ taster menu that blew them both away. Choosing a winning dish from the 12 on offer is difficult – so we’re just lumping them all into one for an easy way out. The cocktails were outstanding too – especially the grilled banana bourbon-based ‘Dream Gun’.


Superfood ‘E&G’ Eggs
Ezra & Gil
It’s that time again. Yep – we’re now in a new month and once you’ve pinched and punched someone, saluted to a magpie and put a toad’s eye in your coffee to cure shingles, you should get down to Ezra & Gil to try their new June specials. I did – and their Superfood Eggs were a sight to behold. Basically a tasty, healthy take on smashed avo, the toasted sourdough comes topped with bulgur wheat, quinoa, poached eggs, green tahini, edamame and rocket, which is all then sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and sumac.


Truly Bottomless Brunch
The Pen & Pencil
Other bottomless brunches basically ask you to choose one dish and then get unlimited drinks for 90 minutes, but the one at The Pen & Pencil is VERY different indeed. Essentially you get 3 hours of unlimited booze AND brunch dishes for £40 and it’s absolutely ‘effing brilliant. They only do it on the last Saturday of the month – so you should look into booking your slot for the one at the end of June now.


Katsu & Kimchi Burger
We took another visit to Alvarium this week to sample the delights of chef Grace Stubbs’ bar menu and once again – we were overcome with compliments. What she can do with 100% vegan food is truly exceptional, and we’re almost TOO excited to see (and taste) the new menu at Black Leaf when it re-opens in a couple of weeks. Our favourite dish this time was the sublime Katsu & Kimchi Burger; a massive oyster mushroom ‘chicken’ burger topped with katsu curry sauce, Grace’s kimchi hash brown and a banging miso mayo.


Spicy Fish & Chips
Taking everything that is decent about English food (fish and chips) and then pairing it with influences from our national dish (chicken tikka masala), Didsbury’s excellent Seven54 have created a Spicy Fish & Chips which is absolutely banging. The haddock comes perfectly battered in spicy batter made with rice flour, fennel, cumin seeds and chilli, sat atop gunpowder chips, mancha peas and a coriander chilli aoili. It’s like the best takeaway meals ever all in one.


Pisco Sour
Ducie Street Warehouse
There’s a huge menu of food dishes to choose from over at Ducie Street Warehouse – an eclectic and diverse line-up of small plates, focaccia style flatbreads, large plates and even bigger sharing plates. But I’m going to go out on a limb today and choose a cocktail for this list – a Pisco Sour that was truly excellent. The cocktails on offer is actually immense, with a menu designed by multi-award-winning drinks master Gethin Jones – pick any and you’ll be impressed just like I was.


Salt & Pepper Surf & Turf
Black Dog
Guess what!? Salt & Pepper – one of the best, if not THE best, places in the Arndale Market now has a permanent home in Black Dog in the NQ and the menu is very impressive indeed. We took a little visit down there this week and tucked into the sublime Surf & Turf – grilled marinated steak, salt & pepper grilled king prawns and fresh salad on a bed of chips, rice or half-n-half. It’s perfect with a frosty pint too!


Goodfellas Fries
The Fry-By
There’s a new food gaff in the Northern Quarter and all they sell is chips. No, it’s not a chippy. No, it’s not some random McCain pop-up to try to flog their new Micro Chips. It’s actually a brilliant new concept that’s inspired by those Belgians and their love of frites and sauce – except done much better. You have the choice of close to 60 different combos of chips, salt and sauce – and one of them we tried this week was the ‘Goodfellas’ – essentially the ingredients of a pepperoni pizza plonked on top of perfectly cooked fries.