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Food and Drink Round-up 05/03/2010

New Mexican venue, new Vietnamese venue, Electrik delight, food porn at Leftbank and Band on the Wall menu plus Lees' pies

Published on March 4th 2010.

Food and Drink Round-up 05/03/2010

Electrik splash
Electrik, the eclectic and cool beauty at 559 Wilbraham Road in Chorlton, is hosting its third Guestrant event at the end of the month. This time it will be Manchester's least controversial chef (something like that) Robert Owen Brown, serving a, to quote, 'bespoke, blow out dining experience'. Owen Brown has been putting his offal on show to great effect at the Mark Addy recently. Known for his innovative take on UK classics, he's best when firing on all inspirational cylinders, surprising the culinary pants off us. Thus his menu for this event is at present a secret. Monday 29 March, 7.30pm start. Tickets £25, available from Electrik with no booking fee or by paypal £26.50. The paypal address is info@electrikbar.co.uk And remember, the best thing is that Electrik's Guestrant is not only a food event but also a social one.

Mexican for Manchester: a mini review
Opened not long after the New Year in the Arndale food market, Panchos' Burritos is the sort of place we wanted to really like. Owned and run by a friendly Mexican, decked out with a sombrero and a tortilla press, and crammed full of intriguing looking chillies, sauces and jars of pickled cactus leaves, it looks like a chaotic celebration of the nation's cuisine. A little disappointingly, the food didn't blow the Confidential girls away. Whilst Jenn's quesadillas held tender bits of pork, the tortillas were dry. Tamar's chicken fajita was fine, but its juiciness proved unmanageable. Lynda had a chicken burrito that was underseasoned and underwhelming. The homemade guacamole and salsas deserve a mention for their freshness. Portion sizes for the price (£3.75 each) were also slightly on the mean side. We finished off with a calorific but satisfying milkshake from next door (called M1lkshake, yes with that digit) and suggest you do too. Still, Panchos are going to have to do more to tempt us away from the comforts and consistency of Barburrito, Las Iguana and Chiquito.

Left Bank good
On Wednesday Confidential popped into Left Bank, the restaurant of the People's History Museum. We drank a passable Spanish red and ate a very good grilled chicken sandwich – a beast of a thing. But we loved the Omelette Arnold Bennett: a perfectly timed eggy wonder with its inner folds all moist, opening to reveal a flamboyant array of flavoursome flesh, namely the smoked haddock. A real cracker for £4.95: a bargain in anybody's book, with or without the gratuitous food porn used in that last sentence. There were loads of chips and salad as well and even a grand view over the Irwell. Full review to follow next week.

Bubbles blows away
Jennifer Choi, our Canadian food and drink bombshell, hankered after Vietnamese food. She was as happy as a lumberjack with a chainsaw that never blunts in a forest that has to die, when she found Bubbles. It may be a tiny outfit on Portland Street but it's a shi-shi number, popular with Manchester's Vietnamese community and those who like such nosh. Sadly out of the seven or so menu items, when Jenn arrived all those with beef and pork as part of the ingredients had sold out. Still, being a proper trooper Jenn went back the following evening and loved it – beef and pig's knuckle vermicelli anyone? Read the review on Monday.

Bun on the Wall
Our favourite old/new live music venue is Band on the Wall: great music, good bar, dramatic neon. Now it's doing food as well. From a short but discerning menu you can pick a variety of good sounding grub. And with every advance £10 booking you get free concert tickets. The food is served in the venue's Picturehouse Cafe Bar adjacent to the main venue. Meals can be bought without seeing a concert but the kitchen will always close 30 minutes before a concert begins. Starters include rustic tomato, olive and oregano soup (£3.80). Mains include curry mutton, a rich slow-cooked leg of mutton flavoured with thyme, allspice, coconut and a little scotch bonnet, served with long grain rice for £5.50. There are also platters to share for £9.95 and sweets including warm pecan and dark chocolate tart, served with a chocolate and chilli sauce. For £3.80. To book email mealdeal@bandonthewall.org.

Rain Pies
Rain Bar on Great Bridgewater Street re-launched its menu this week, ten years after the pub opened (Jeez, is it that long ago? Ed). The emphasis on the menu is simplicity or probably more accurately, pies. Hence a clever subtitle to the pub of ‘John Willie’s Pie and Ale House’. The home-made mouth-waterers include steak and ale, turkey, and stilton and port. To begin with there will be six pies as permanent features and a hot and cold pie of the day to test the market for future menus and ensure customers get variety with their favourite dish.

Mothers' Circle
Kitchen at the Circle is offering a good-looking Mother’s Day treat on Sunday 14 March. The pretty Barton Arcade venue has special prices starting from £15.50 for two courses or £19.50 for three.

The range of starters includes the restaurant’s signature lobster ravioli or chicken liver parfait. This is followed by a traditional roast of topside beef with all the trimmings or the more exotic baked cod in vermouth. Desserts include chocolate torte and raspberry crème brulee. To book or for details on the menu log onto www.thecircleclub.com or call Nigel on 0161 817 4921.

Teacup cakes over
By the way, if you're wondering where the promised review of Teacup is this week, well it couldn't be completed. The editor visited and assuaged his present halloumi fetish but then was told that the cake-baking man had been too ill to make the renowned Teacup cakes that day. The chilli and mint tea the editor had was lovely but he wept for the lack of cakes. He will return and crumb out next week

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

Leigh ScottMarch 4th 2010.

About time the city had a Vietnamese offering ...looking forward to that !!!

YouKnowWhoItIsMarch 5th 2010.

EDITORIAL: This rant was turning our stomach. It was spoiling the reading of the article. It's gone.

GordoMarch 5th 2010.

Yes, I do know who it is and I shall be having a word with the police...

Scott NeilMarch 5th 2010.

what Scotee said. Jennifer Choi's meal sounds splendid. also Canadians deffo know their Vietnamese grub, so sounds promising. BTW is the pho at Tampopo any good, anyone?

GordoMarch 5th 2010.

Jonathan, it wasn't that bad!

Neil McCabeMarch 5th 2010.

When you review Bubbles Vietnamese cafe can you please try and discourage people from going. The service is slow enough already but the food is fantastic. Their sandwich (only one variety; french stick, pate, pork, Vietnamese mystery ham, salad, coriander and chilli) is easily the tastiest thing I've had in Manchester in years. And the service is only slow because everything is made fresh but one very friendly girl. Been twice this week and will try and beat that record next week!

Leigh ScottMarch 5th 2010.

It was too ...ha-ha-ha

AVoMarch 6th 2010.

Yeah Jonathan, it wasn't that bad.<br><br>NFMC, that mystery Vietnamese ham is sold in most of the grocery stores in Chinatown in the chiller cabinet. It's like a large thick sausage wrapped in green plastic with gold strips on it. It has Vietnamese writing on and I think is sold as Vietnamese ham or pork sausage or something. It comes cooked anyway.

GordoMarch 8th 2010.

Interesting. Used to love Vietnamese restaurants in France; one Parisien place decamped to Pamplonne beach in St Tropez every june through to September, setting up a fab rstaurant for the period in the sand dunes. oh dear, great memories...

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