"The Best Chips in the North West" & The Best Things We Ate & Drank Last Week

Including spicy salted cod, roast Cumbrian lamb and lots of sushi...

By Manchester's Finest | 26 July 2021

Share this story

Bacalao Al Pil Pil
La Bandera
Abby and I had a very productive trip down to La Bandera last week, one which included their new Tapas Lunch Boards, Kalimotxos and their brand-new tapas dishes, of which we got to eat and drink it ALL. Stand-out (amongst some truly brilliant new offerings) was the Bacalao Al Pil Pil, simply delicate Salted Cod with a unique Basque sauce of garlic, oil and dried guindilla chillies. A taste of Spain in Manny – lovely stuff.

Chicken Caesar Salad
Ezra & Gil
The classic Chicken Caesar is undeniably the best salad ever and I’m prepared to fight anyone who says otherwise. It’s perfect for any occasion, any meal, any weather and always makes you feel better, with a combination of great flavours, and the fact that it’s still classified as a ‘salad’ and so is ALWAYS healthy. We tucked into Ezra & Gil’s excellent iteration last week and we’re going for another one today it was that good. Lemon thyme chicken, romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, croutons, parmesan cheese, soft boiled egg and E&G Caesar dressing.


Roast Cumbrian Lamb Rack
The Black Friar
We were lucky enough to go down to the newly re-opened Black Friar boozer on Friday and my word was it impressive. Risen from the ashes of a fire 15 years ago, the front of the pub has remained intact, but they’ve added a huge new space onto the back, including a stunning outside terrace and garden. The food offering is sublime too, and while everyone else on the table went for the Line Caught Halibut, I tucked into the outstanding Roast Cumbrian Lamb Rack with glazed baby aubergine, kalamata olives and a confit tomato jus.


Vegan Gyros
What the Pitta
I adore a Greek Gyros, probably more than most other people you know. It’s because of two VERY important things. One is the fact that it’s a kebab with chips inside it – kinda like an exotic chip butty with added meat and salad. The other important bit is, of course, the tzatziki – which is easily my favourite condiment after Swedish mustard and Daddies Brown Sauce. What The Pitta in the Northern Quarter have defied science and created a fully Vegan Gyros and it is truly excellent. I’m still not sure how these guys do it all, but it doesn’t really matter – just eat it and enjoy yourself.


Brioche French Toast
19 Cafe Bar
I’d definitely consider 19 Cafe Bar in the Northern Quarter to be one of the city’s best Hidden Gems – as I’m sure quite a few people seemingly miss it whilst walking down Lever Street. It’s stuck behind that bus stop, so there’s usually a couple of double deckers in the way, but let me tell you now – you should definitely go. The brunch offering is very impressive, and the Brioche French Toast we had was outstanding. Topped with whipped vanilla mascarpone, granola and mixed berries, it’s then smothered in a rich buttery salted caramel sauce. Dreamy.


Spider Uramaki
Unagi Wilmslow
There was a time, a fair few years ago, when I didn’t care much for sushi. It was probably due to the fact that it was notoriously difficult to find decent stuff here in Manchester, because now I bloody love it. Unagi are true experts at it too, and upon a visit down to their brand-new Wilmslow location I devoured their wonderful ‘Spider’ uramaki – which comes stuffed with a wicked tempura soft shell crap, avocado, truffle mayonnaise and an orange tobiko – which is fish roe (or eggs) to the uninitiated.


Jerk Chicken Meal Box
Rita’s Reign @ Piccadilly Gardens
If you’ve not tried Rita’s on Piccadilly Gardens yet then WTF is wrong with you!? It’s fucking brilliant and excellent value for money too. Last week I tried their Jerk Chicken Meal Box which comes with perfectly cooked chicken, rice and peas, salad and coleslaw for £6 and you can add some fried plantains for a quid extra. They’ll be there again this week from Wednesday – get yourself down.


“The Best Chips in the North West”
The Moor
Yep, these chips claim to be the BEST in the North West. Well, not the chips themselves, they can’t speak, but the chef responsible – James Hulme – he’s said it and after tasting them, I’m completely inclined to agree with him. People online have been going mad over the claim, insisting that their McCain’s Home Fries are better – well, let’s not be silly now – of course they’re bloody not! These things take 3 days to make, are cooked in beef fat and are fucking outrageous. They’re also ONLY available at The Moor in Heaton Moor and with their (equally good) Rib Steak.