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Food & Drink Roundup Wk 30: Aumbry In MCR City Centre, MCR House Pics

News from MCR food and booze

Published on July 26th 2013.

Food & Drink Roundup Wk 30: Aumbry In MCR City Centre, MCR House Pics

Harvey Nichols, Aumbry Comes To City Centre And ‘Dig the City’ 

From August 3-11 ‘Dig the City’, Manchester’s Urban Gardening Festival, will be teaming up with department store specialists Harvey Nichols to bring a fusion of high class food and drink with horticultural excellence.

The collaboration will mean two new bars popping up in town, Harvey Nichols Festival Pub in Exchange Square and fancier French themed Champagne Garden on New Cathedral street. The pub will provide the usual range of ales, ciders, beers and fashionable cocktails along with a hearty Ploughman’s lunch, while the Champagne Garden will be dabbling in range of exotic cocktails.

The highlight of the partnership is likely to be a special dinner in Harvey Nichols Second Floor Restaurant featuring a menu crafted by Aumbry’s head chef, Mary Ellen McTague, and Great British Menu Finalist Lisa Allen. Overlooking the festival's centrepiece gardens the four course dinner will be inspired by the gardening theme, championing home grown produce. The dinner will take place on Monday 5 August, 7.30pm, and costs £60 per person. 

Gardens and food for Dig The City


Gardens and food for Dig The City


Manchester House The Latest Dining Addition To Spinningfields

Finding residence in Tower 12 of Avenue North the restaurant remains a relative mystery. An intriguing one. Two things we know, the chef will be the celebrated Aiden Byrne and punters will have to walk through the kitchen to the dining room to boost the thrill and the excitement. Since bookings are being taken expect Manchester House soon.

Elsewhere the glimpses of Byrne's fine dining looks beautiful as this dish of lobster with smoked apple purée, burnt fennel linguini and freeze dried lobster, hints. Bread made from a 'high speed centrifuge machine' also makes an appearance with an intiguing array of snack sized treats.

Chris Johnson Shares Ramsons With Louise Varley

It's been a traumatic year for veteran restaurateur Chris Johnson in many ways. But throughout he's managed through truly Herculean effort to keep one of the region's best-loved dining experiences, Ramsons, open. The former Good Food Guide winning restaurant now has Louise Varley in the kitchen. Chris has decided to make Louise co-owner and director with responsibility for the food. Future menus will be all Louise's work with a more direct approach, including daily specials, placing emphasis on flavour before presentation. As Chris Johnson says: "The only downside will be I'll still be front of house interrupting people's meals to tell them curious facts about the wine, the sourcing of the food and about life in general and not leaving until I've finished what I'm saying." Indeed Chris, thinks Confidential, but we love you for that. 

Chris Johnson Welcomes A Confidential Writer Gordo

Chris Johnson Welcomes A Confidential Writer Gordo

Oliver Barton Cooking Up A Pastry Storm In His Kitchen

Worn down by redundancy and call centre jobs not going anywhere Oliver Barton has decided to try his hand at being his own boss, presiding over his new business venture, Oliver’s Kitchen.

Aptly named as the business hub is his home kitchen, Oliver is hoping his bakery based desserts, made from his dad’s recipes, will satisfy the North West’s sweet tooth. Oliver’s speciality is his range of Bakewell tarts featuring flavours such as morello cherry, lemon, maple syrup pecan and chocolate pear with raspberry. Other highlights of Oliver’s repertoire are his triple chocolate brownies, made with Ecuadorian 70% cocoa solids chocolate, and his masterpiece homemade sticky toffee pudding which he backs “can hold its own against any other on the market”.

We tried the STP in the office and it was as good as it gets, probably better than the renowned Cartmel versions, more floaty and flavoursome.

While Oliver’s tasty treats are only currently being solid at farmers’ markets and food fairs he has big ambitions to eventually spread his distribution to high quality retailers and restaurants. Now taking orders from Diglake Farm Shop in Southport and garnering a growing following for his goods on Twitter means that Oliver’s home tarts and puddings are one to look out for. 

 Sticky Toffee Pudding


Sticky Toffee Pudding

Vermilion Thinks Small Is Beautiful

Asian fusion restaurant Vermilion in east Manchester has a new grazing menu offering guests a more casual dining experience and allowing them to taste cut-down portions of many of their signature dishes.

This is the chance 'to nibble lighter portions, a chance to share a selection of choice morsels with a partner, perhaps accompanied by one of the Asian-inspired cocktails from the in-house mixologists at Cinnabar'.


A typical example from the grazing menu includes rock lobster, stir fried with black pepper sauce and perfumed with truffle oil. It costs £19.50 on the a la carte but on the grazing menu its £6.95.

The rest of the grazing menu sounds equally enticing. There's Thai papaya salad (£3.75) a spicy and sour salad served with cherry tomatoes, yardlong beans, the equally healthy and refreshing Thai mango salad (£3.25). Or for £3.25 you can go for the spicy Vegetarian Spring Rolls with Tofu. Puddings include Mini Carrot Cake (£2.75) and custard and caramel creation Mini Cream Buree (3.50). There's lamb of course for mains and seabass and lots of other choice too.

The grazing menu is available at lunch, noon-2.30pm, Monday to Friday and in the evenings 6pm-10.30pm, Sunday to Friday (excludes Saturday). The various set banquets, a la carte and  Sunday Brunch Buffet options remain in place.

Vermilion grazing menu

Vermilion grazing menu

Pub Weddings To Become Reality?

A government proposal to alter matrimonial laws could mean that non- religious marriage ceremonies will be given legal status, as a result pubs and other establishments could prosper as venues for receptions and services in future.

Scotland already has already adopted the legal proposal which has led to 2,500 humanist weddings each year.

Gala Tent, a manufacturer of gazebos and marquees, is suitably keen to see the law change as their managing director explained:

“Many pubs are already reaping the benefit of a lucrative income stream by hosting wedding receptions in marquees and gazebos in their grounds.  If this new legislation is passed then it could open up huge possibilities for pubs to host both the wedding ceremony and the reception on their premises.  This would help to cut down costs and provide greater convenience to the couple planning the wedding, whilst increasing business for the pub.”

As Parliament attempts to amend the law on same sex marriages it would also seem the perfect time to make the change for humanist services. There is still much debates ahead of the proposed bill, nevertheless, if it does change then expect a landfall of weddings in local boozers nationwide.

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