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Food And Drink Round-Up 01/05/2012

Food And Drink From Taps, Juan De Sanchez, Tea Hive, Sher Akbar, Bohemia

Published on April 30th 2012.

Food And Drink Round-Up 01/05/2012

INTERESTING week of food, last week bumbling around venues and bars, couple of new things to add to the surprise of the ugly delicious food at Santiago – click here.

First WOULD SOMEONE PLEASE DO SOMETHING PROPER WITH THIS LOCATION. It appears that mere weeks after opening on Albert Square in what should be a prime site for a cracking bar operator or a topnotch restaurant, chain, Italian-themed, restaurant Pizza Porto has pulled in the tables and blanked out the windows. This was a very shortlived venture and while you've got to feel sorry for the investors and staff, it's surely time for some real quality in here.

Pizza Porto - closed alreadyPizza Porto - closed already

The Brewdog Brewery's bar on Peter Street called simply BrewDog is set to open maybe on Wednesday this week, definitely by the weekend, with an opening event on the Thursday. Scottish brewers Brewdog are the darlings of the indie brewing trade and will provide 12 taps here plus food such as burgers, pizzas and cheesy dough balls. "Typical bar food," said a spokesperson, "but here they're the best of their kind, designed by Tim Anderson, champion of Masterchef." Outside there's a cute brick walled terrace. Confidential can't wait, this place will be rammed from the beginning.

Brewdog - final touches being put to the barBrewdog - final touches being put to the bar

Staying on Peter Street, Revolucion de Cuba, has the planning permission notices up on the windows of the old Squares bar site. This national chain has got numerous 'rum-bars' across the country, but will have their work cut out to transform one of the most miserable of drinking dens, Squares, into something appealing. Then again Revolucion is a a proper drinking den itself as people who've visited the Blackpool and Liverpool venues will affirm. It should be a perfect fit. If not necessarily good company for BrewDog.

Revolucion De Cuba - BlackpoolRevolucion De Cuba - Blackpool

Now for cakes. A visit to Tea Hive in Chorlton (53 Manchester Road just down from the Barbakan deli) on Sunday was superb. There was some lovely English breakfast tea and the best Victoria sponge I’ve had in yonks. The tea is from Atkinson’s in Lancaster, the best tea merchant in the North West with the cutest shop. “So who makes the cakes?” I asked. “We do,” said the nice young lady behind the counter, “downstairs.”

What with the delightful china, book shelves, and heaving cabinets of condiments and preserves, this was one of the most pleasant new generation of teashops I’ve experienced - click here for the website. Although things took a turn for the worse when I read a notice about Cupcake Creation Classes on the third Wednesday of every month from 7pm-9pm. Are cupcakes still with us?

Tea HiveTea Hive

Over the road the Sher Akbar Punjabi restaurant had been packed the previous evening. As had the original venue in Northenden according to reports - click here. We’ll be nipping in soon to review. We love the use of language on the publicity: ‘Sher Akbar is just so for any dining experience’. ‘Just so’. How sweet.

Meanwhile a trip to Taps (1A Watson Street, City, 0161 819 5167 - click here) for a meal proved that the bar with beer pumps on the tables does a damned good turn in nosh. The classic moules mariniere (£12.95) was perfect and the sea bass (£11.95) was surprisingly robust and hearteningly old-fashioned. It came with cauliflower, broccoli, loads of spuds and a good lemon sauce. Filling indeed. The food comes from chef David Roache - who like his namesake William, must have served at least a thousand women now. 

Back in Chorlton tapas bar Juan Sanchez Bar De Tapas (366 Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton) provided a very convincing series of Spanish flavours, ripe with garlic and lemon and herbs. The food here was spot on whether in the Tortilla Española (£2.95), a weighty but wonderful potato omelette, or standout dishes of lentejas con chorizo (£2.95), lentil stew with spicy ham, and berenjeras al horno (£2.95), aubergines baked with cheese. There was also a fine Jamon Serrano y queso (£3.50), classic Spanish ham with Manchego cheese, that was a picture as well as ace to taste. There's a good early evening deal of four tapas for £10, or four tapas and bottle of wine for £20, 5pm-7pm Tuesday to Saturday, and 5pm-10pm on Monday.

In Castlefield Bohemia Bar and Grill (formely Barca, Arch 8-9, Catalan Square, City, 0161 839 7099) has a new 'sizzler' menu, offering 'twenty-five flavours to suit all tastes'. So, for example, you buy a chargrilled 10oz rump steak (£15.95) or a chargrilled black tiger king prawns dish (£15.95) and then you get to choose twenty five optional glazes from classics such as peppercorn, lemon & pepper, garlic & herb, Bearnaise, smoky BBQ, balsamic and sweet chilli to the more exotic flavours such as Thai green, teriyaki, jerk, cajan, Szechan and Bulgagi. Each sizzler is served with sautéed mixed peppers, vine cherry tomatoes, onion and garlic. There's a big selection of sides plus platters and a la carte menu items too. As well as the big outdoor area there's guest pianist adding to the attraction. Click here for the website. 

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter here @JonathSchofield

Tea Hive preserves and condimentsTea Hive preserves and condiments

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8 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Charles ReidMay 1st 2012.

where are the bits on The Eagle or Molly House as claimed in the headline?

Jonathan SchofieldMay 1st 2012.

Sorry Charles, they've been deferred until we get the photos....our mistake, big apologies

AnonymousMay 1st 2012.

juan sanchez is woeful. it's pretty much la tasca with a different name, right down to the supermarket "part baked" bread they serve.

san juan is about 100 yds away down beech rd and is far, far better for food and atmosphere.

Jonathan SchofieldMay 1st 2012.

Odd comment that Mr/s Lower Case because I lived in Madrid for 18 months and I know my tapas. Juan Sanchez's were very good. Are you the same lower case person who criticized the Horse and Jockey a while back this year. Really you should reveal yourself - or at least give yourself a tag - if you're going to be persistently negative.

Daniel RobertsMay 1st 2012.

Where do we think does the best Tapas?

I'd much prefer the experience to be similar to Spain where it would be based around ordering a drink and getting whatever tapas was going, rather than a sit down meal.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldMay 2nd 2012.

Daniel, food cultures morph when they cross borders, I find that heartening. Authenticity can be so over-rated.

AnonymousMay 1st 2012.


AnonymousMay 1st 2012.

You can do that in Spinningfields Carluccios...they have a new bar area and serve complimentary antipasti (some salamis breads olives) when you go for drinks after work..think its 5-7 but they have a small bites menu all night too...been a couple of times..bit of a.hidden gem as its never uber busy..not exactly Spanish tapas but Italian nibbles .. works for me though!

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