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Food And Drink Round-up May 2012

Two fine new bars, two closures, bargain burger, weird name and more

Published on May 28th 2012.

Food And Drink Round-up May 2012

Wonder in the Wailway with The Whim Wham Cafe

Confidential loves the ideas behind Whitworth Street West’s railway arch, The Whim Wham Cafe – Arch 64, M1 5WQ. Open daily (except Monday) from noon till midnight, or 2am on weekends, there’s not only fine drink but good food to be had. Run by couple Alix Walker and Jess (pictured above) they’ve taken the themes of travel and turned the cafe-bar into a time machine.

The 1849 rail arch now reads like a ripping yarn-filled Victorian melodrama specialising in the best of British - gin is a speciality (and seemingly a fashion, click here). Give it a couple of months when the full refurbishment is complete and it'll be a classic. Not that it isn't already worth a visit.

On Fridays and Saturdays there's an entertaining 'live' programme including musicians playing ‘ragtime, jazz, blues, accordions, banjos, double bass’. There's even the odd magician.

Describing itself as Manchester's Epicurean Eatery and Gin Saloon, menu items include slow poach mackerel in horseradish and Worcester liquor, apple and beetroot salad (£6.50), Lancashire Hotpot with sweet pickled red cabbage and chunk of bread (£8), wild rabbit with tarragon stew, sugar snaps and new potatoes (£8), lightly spiced lentil salad with rocket, watercress and smoked Kirkhams Lancashire (£6.50).

Desserts include Manchester Cake and Yorkshire Curd Tart. There are The Whim Wham platters at £6 and pies such as confit Ham, black pudding, apple and mustard from Great North Pie Co. 

Review to follow in the next couple of weeks.

Whim Wham barWhim Wham bar

Centro reborn as Tib Street Tavern

We’ve not seen this one yet, but it sounds promising. And again it’s going for a bit of vintage.

Here’s the press release.

 ‘The Tib Street Tavern (occupying the old Centro site) combines a vintage pub design with some contemporary features. There are no gimmicks, it’s not attempting to be a theme bar nor does it offer fancy cuisine, just a good old fashioned selection of beers, spirits and wines from around the continent. Draught lagers such as Moretti and Amstell along with a selection of foreign beers. 

‘The plush surroundings offer much more than the traditional snug found in most old style taverns, combining cosy seating areas, feature walls, tin (yes tin) clad ceilings and delicate lighting over two floors. Imagery of a 1950s’ Tib Street is scattered throughout, echoing a theme of local history and complimenting the relaxed and classic pub feel of the venue.'

Crikey, we'll check it out shortly and see if it lives up to billing.

By the way, there'll also be regular live music nights, speciality and sporting events and private hire. Food comprises snacks for the present. 

 www.tibstreettavern.co.uk 74 Tib Street, M4 1LG

Review to follow in the next couple of weeks.

Jamie beaten in the Manc ‘burbs at Oca

Oca in Sale (0161 962 6666, M33 7BS) is a pleasant enough place. It’s located in the Waterside development next to the smooth barge-bothered waters of the Bridgewater Canal and is the southwestern suburb’s favourite Croma-like pizzeria.

A recent visit of a Confidential group found the haddock pizza the pick; crème fraiche base, soft egg, leeks, peas and Emmental cheese with big chunks of smoked haddock. £8.40 and spot on. Admirably there is no silly attempt at giving it an Italian name, the pizza is simply called ‘Haddock’.

The ubiquitous Jamie Oliver – now almost as irritatingly pervasive as Stephen Fry – is calling his version of pizzas, ‘British flatbreads’ and opening places selling 'British flatbreads' like a rash across the south.

It appears Oca’s got in ahead of him. Try the Haddock pizza: just get out of there before 9.30pm on a weekend night or the harrumphing rowdies in the rubbish Waterside pub next door might interfere with the fun.

The HaddockThe Haddock

Beluga closes

As noted in our Sleuth column Beluga bar and restaurant has closed on Mount Street. It has, or rather had, one of the best streetside terraces in Manchester and was a favourite of Confidential readers seeking meal deals. Given the location the closure is odd. Maybe all the Town Hall Extension people moving away for a couple of years during refurbishment hasn’t helped.

Beluga joins Pizza Porto in an Albert Square blight (click here). Thank God then for Livebait, Tampopo and Roger Ward’s new Memorial Hall venture - click here. Let’s hope the owners of the Beluga building are sensible enough to pitch rents at a price that a decent operator can afford and thus have some capital left over to create something distinctive for the city.



Harpers closes and 2 Kozy comes in

The restaurant that hosted George Best in his pomp as well as a throng of other Manchester characters has closed. Harpers at the Ridgefield/South King Street junction had a Mediterranean menu created around 35 years ago and latterly has felt hopelessly outdated. The builders are in now creating a venue called 2 Kozy Bar and Restaurant. We’ll review it when it opens but let’s hope the product has a bit more quality than the name.

2 Kozy...eh, what's that name about?2 Kozy...eh, what's that name about?

Southport Food and Drink Festival

Running from 8-10 June 2012 the Southport Food and Drink Festival has relocated to Princes Park in the town and is looking pretty good. There'll be a Live Cookery Theatre with demos all weekend; 3 day Children’s Food Festival including Teddy Bear’s Picnics, kids exercise classes, climbing walls, bouncy castles, face painting, Smoothie Workshops, Pizza Making, Food Stories, Honey Bee Workshops and Ice Cream making; Street Food Festival including Tinkers Tacos from Masterchef Finalist Jay Tinker; Local Ale Festival hosted by Liverpool’s Ship and Mitre pub; Chocolate Festival (Sat 9th);Southport’s First Ever Bake Off and Community Bake Sale (Sun 10th); Independent Producer’s Market featuring 52 traders; The Seaside Picnic complete with deckchairs, rock, candyfloos, and specially created Beach on the Park. Check it out here. 

Nice picture of lovely cozze e vongole at Carluccio's, £11.95

Cozze e VongoleCozze e Vongole

Lovely picture of mint crusted rack of lamb at Podium, £15

Podium producePodium produce

Bargain of the week

At a fiftieth birthday party on Saturday Confidential stumbled into The Kings Arms, the excellent boozer in Salford part-owned by Paul Heaton of Beautiful South fame. Aside from slurping some Allgates brewery nectar Confidential tucked into a gorgeously fleshy, cheesy, chip-accompanied, tomato-enhanced burger. And the price? Five English Pounds. £5. Nothing wrong with that. We also gave the birthday boy a latex pig head, he's also pictured here. A touching memory we think.

A fiver and very goodA fiver and very good

The most beautiful picture of the weekThe most beautiful picture of the week

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

Lorraine ByrneMay 29th 2012.

I can't believe Oca is mentioned in the same sentance as Jamie's. Its rubbish - service and food!!! Great bar, great location, no other reason to go there.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Marilyn ChapmanMay 31st 2012.

Are you saying Oca is rubbish? I went recently and had good food and good service I live in Sale and never heard bad reports of Oca, but heard some terrible reports of Jamie's in fact Gordo on this site didn't rate it!!

HultonMay 29th 2012.

Not surprised Beluga has closed, the food has been terrible in my opinion. The only decent thing about the place was the bar and the location. Not a place that shall be missed in our house.

1 Response: Reply To This...
SmittyMay 29th 2012.

I thought the food was OK, it was very good for lunch as the sarnies and chips were bob on. Sorry to see it close as it was brilliant in the sun.

TurboMay 29th 2012.

Beluga, was once a nice place to eat, drink & be merry, food was lovely, fave place for a while. Then someone in their wrong mind went down the 'pack em in pete's' route of cheap food & very cheap wine, which spelt disaster from the start!!! Quantity over Quality me thinks

paulMay 29th 2012.

Has Joe gone from centro(Tib Tav) or has he spent some money

AnonMay 29th 2012.

2 Kozy is THE worst name for a bar/restaurant I've ever heard. Jesus.

Kevin PeelMay 30th 2012.

Looking forward to visiting the Whim Wham cafe!

Poster BoyMay 30th 2012.

So adios Harpers. In the restaurant desert of the late 80's and early 90's, there was a sunny little oasis called Harpers. An unassuming corner of Spain on an assuming back corner of King Street. Great hospitality, fantastic fish and a legacy that now exhibits itself in the likes of the show that is called San Carlo...

Jenny CollinsMay 30th 2012.

Visited the Whim Wham Cafe tonight... loved it, a welcome addition to the area with thoroughly nice accomodating staff and unusual (to me) delicious drinks. I will definately be returning!

Daniel JamesJune 1st 2012.

Went to Tib St Tavern last week - excellent decor and friendly staff, will be visiting again over the bank holiday. It also have some sort of festival on on this weekend for the jubilee with cord (spotted the poster in the window)

TigerlillyJune 4th 2012.

You may be thinking bad thoughts on the name of 2kozy, but I would like to say that I visited the resturant on Friday night, and I can say that the food was outstanding, and the Decore was excellent, staff were really friendly, and I will be going back with out a doubt very soon

1 Response: Reply To This...
IanJune 14th 2012.

This sounds like a completely objective review. NOT

Anne LittleDecember 3rd 2012.

2 KOZY. This is a fab place. Comfortable, food really tasty and very attentive and polite staff. Dont knock it until you try it.

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