I’m certainly not the first to give some suggestions, and I won’t be the last. I’m probably a bit late to the mark as well, but I wanted to give it all a good go so I could formulate a fair, controlled trial and therefore an unbiased opinion. Or maybe it was just an excuse to scoff my face on multiple occasions- how’s that for a bit of science?
Salsiccia e Friarielli Pizza from Honest Crust
For me, this topping is the only one that should be on a pizza ever. It is my go to every single time, and I make it a bit of a test for every pizzeria I go to. Obviously, we all know the dough is incredible at Honest Crust, that much has been established- and so it should be after the love and care that goes into making sourdough before throwing it in the custom-made Neapolitan style wood-fired oven. This pie is topped with sausage, lightly smoked mozzarella and rapini (wild broccoli). The Rapini is grown locally and has such a unique flavour and texture when cooked- almost like spinach but with an ever so slightly pickled sour taste to it. Top this bad boy with a little chilli olive oil, and you will never look back.
Oxtail on toast from Tender Cow
Meat lovers should look no further than this delicious retro dish. Oxtail is one of those ingredients that has fallen out of fashion in recent years, and if anything were to show you what a travesty that was it would be this dish. It is a relatively cheap cut of meat because it is a total pain in the arse to cook – extremely fatty with tight fibres that only warrants long, slow cooking. Most people do not have the patience for Oxtail, but luckily for us, the guys at Tender Cow do. Slow-cooked Oxtail on toasted sourdough bread and topped with smoked ewes cheese and horseradish- it is like a great big bear hug on a plate.
Cornmeal fried Hake Bao from Boahouse
They say that if you haven’t tried a Bao, then you haven’t truly lived- and by “they” I am, of course, referring to the bearded Northern Quarter trendies who ate Bao while they were ‘finding themselves’ in Taiwan last year. It’s Asia’s answer to a sandwich with a meaty filling (traditionally Char Sui BBQ pork), something crunchy like salad or thin slices of spring onion and a bit of sauce all wrapped up in a fluffy bun and folded over. Obviously, if you are a Bao-virgin start off with the pork, but after that give the cornmeal fried hake a go. It’s like the best fish finger sandwich you have ever had- although I’m probably going to get battered by the guys at Bao House for saying that… pun completely intended.
Pulled Chicken Sarnie from Nationale 7
Who doesn’t love the simplicity of roasted meat executed perfectly? If you can think of anyone who doesn’t I would like you to cut them out- you do not need that sort of negativity in your life. Nationale 7 is a self-proclaimed master in French rotisserie which prides itself on its free-range produce and seasonal ingredients. Their pulled chicken sandwich with tarragon mayo and pickled red onion makes the perfect lunchtime treat that won’t have you feeling too guilty all weekend.
Anything from Fin Fish Bar
The ethos at Fin Fish Bar is a simple one; dayboat fish, caught from our shores, cooked whole over chargrill and fresh as can be. Naturally, being an entirely landlocked city- eating fresh fish is difficult here in Manchester, but Fin has seemed to find a way around it. Maybe it’s laced with crack, or maybe it’s witchcraft, but either way, I don’t care. The fish is exceptional. Start out with their fish and chips; you really can’t go wrong- also I am pretty sure that the homemade tartare sauce is what heaven tastes like. I really enjoy the octopus salad with heritage tomatoes, capers and fresh dill as well. The flavours are so simple and the fish lightly grilled with that lovely charcoal flavour. In fact, my mouth is watering just thinking about it now.
Mackie Mayor, Eagle St, Manchester M4