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Food and Drink round-up 13/12/2010

Castle Hotel lunches, Middle Kingdom lures, Gullivers becomes Kennedy’s, angry beer

Published on December 16th 2010.

Food and Drink round-up 13/12/2010

The Castle Hotel lunches
Oldham Street’s, Castle Hotel, which we loved so much recently, (click here) is now doing food. A visit last Friday revealed homely, hearty, solid British grub. The spicy parsnip soup with granary bloomer (£3.50) was the perfect winter pub soup, so full of goodness and body a Borrower could have walked over it. The mushroom rarebit (£5) was unsubtle but filling and wholesome and the beef and horseradish butty was good (4) if failing a little in the oddly heated up bread. Still and all, the Castle is definitely a good place with good looks for a value belly booster on a trawl around the Northern Quarter.

Kennedy’s travels
Gullivers on Oldham Street has been taken over by Mark Kennedy who was famous for the now removed mosaics on Affleck’s Palace. He wants to return the pub into a proper city local, easy-going, no hassle, good drinks and a live scene from local bands and musicians. The JW Lees owned pub has had an uneven time of it recently, and has become run-down. Let’s hope Kennedy can do something along the same lines as the Castle featured in the above story.

Buying a wife for a fiver
Kennedy is presently making a mosaic of the eponymous cute blackdog, Bruce, after which the Blackdog Ballroom on Church Street is named. The Confidential editor, Schofield, was once in Gullivers in the late nineties on a rough edge pub crawl of the Northern Quarter. It was about 7pm and the place was packed full of pissed people. A Scotsman in his fifties tried to sell Schofield his wife for a fiver. Not for sex, he was just trying to off-load her, and he’d run out of beer money, wanted another drink. His wife was asleep under a table. Schofield said no. After all he only had a fiver left himself.

Middle Kingdom – in case you missed it
In case you missed it in our Sleuth column this week (click here), our intrepid city mole, was nosing around Princess Street the other day when he saw a restaurant. It was called Middle Kingdom and advertised ‘5 star Chinese Cuisine’. The menu looks interesting. Very Red Chilli style from up the road: ‘Fish Fillets and Intestine in Hot Chilli Fiery Soup’ and ‘Quick Fried Sliced Sea Whelks’. Sleuth’s favourite sounding dishes were ‘Fire Exploded Kidney Flowers’ and 'Hot and Numbing Beef’.

Alty ales
Altrincham’s become a bit of drinking wasteland for independent ales. This has led father and son business partners John and Anthony Costello who make the highly regarded Dunham Massey ales to open a bar called Costellos, on Goose Green. Our informant, MM, tells us this: ‘Basically, he is fed up of having no presence in Altrincham due to all of the pubs being tied to Crapbrewcompanies, so has opened his own place to let the locals taste his beers. Plans are afoot to have a pie warmer on the bar (he has no kitchen) so he can do a basic pie and a pint offering. Good luck to him I say.’ And so do we. Beer prices are as follows: mild £1.80, the Little Bollington bitter £2.20.

Beer – aggressively marketed
Confidential is fascinated by the marketing approach of the Brewdog beer company, mentioned in this review (click here). The label on their ‘5am Slam’ beer reads like this.

‘You probably don’t know about beer. You don’t understand beer. You don’t know what good beer is or how truly pathetic mass-market beers are. This is condemningly ironic considering how much beer we drink in the UK. Would you apply the same lack of care, knowledge and passion in other areas of your life? What does this say about you?‘Maybe you want to define yourself with bland, tasteless lowest common denominator beer. We won’t have any part of it.

‘It’s not all your fault. Constrained by lack of choice. Seduced by the monolithic brewers huge advertising budgets. Brain-washed by vindictive lies perpetrated with the veracity of pseudo-propaganda. You can’t help being sucked down the rabbit hole. The UK beer scene is sick. And we are the doctor.’

Crikey. In other words you lot are all a bit thick, you don’t deserve our ale. You’re lucky to get it.

New Indian for Altrincham
Double Tree a contemporary Indian restaurant has just opened at 42-44 Railway Street in Altrincham town centre. The former Victoria Wine outlet providing 1,330 sq ft of ground floor accommodation has been let on a 15 year lease to a fella called Mr Mear who already has an established restaurant in Congleton. We'll try and pop in soon and sample. Perhaps after we've had a drink in Costellos.

Bread exhibits
Here’s a cute little video here from MOSI of the recent event featuring Paul Hollywood, the famous baker, when he visited them recently. It’s about the science of bakery. Sounds dry but it’s very good.

Fly Agaric
Confidential was sent a picture of an interesting display in Khan’s kebab outlet on Piccadilly Approach. This features choice mushrooms that a person can enjoy. Very informative. But just a minute what’s this? A red and white fairy toadstool, real name Fly Agaric. Now folks don’t eat this at home. Or in a restaurant. Or anywhere. It’s one of the most poisonous buggers about. It can kill. Or send you mad.

Saxons and Vikings used to take a bite before battle, rip off their armour or clothes and charge at the enemy naked – the origin of the word ‘berserk’. Fly Agaric is not something you’d expect to see depicted in place selling food. Mind you on some Saturday nights there’s quite a bit of berserking going on around kebab outlets across the North West.

Thanks to our reader for this info: an all-terrain tweeting mountain biker from Glossop who spends 50% of his time at work and the other 50% at San Carlo.

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

AVODecember 13th 2010.

MM = Mark M??

RuthDecember 14th 2010.

Blimey, I'm in this bread video. I was wondering what the camera crew were doing there.

Harald HardradaDecember 14th 2010.

There is, of course, no contemporary evidence of the use of fly agaric by Vikings or anyone else.
Incidentally, it can be detoxified if boiled. And its eaten pickled in Japan. Not sure if Khan's is serving it though...

TombertDecember 15th 2010.

I've been a keen follower of Brewdog for a while, following an article I caught where it mentioned that following complaints that their beer was too alcoholic, they released a beer with 1% alcohol strength and called it 'Nanny State'. They also deal in 'Tactical Nuclear Penguin' at 32% and 'Sink the Bismarck' at 41%. Scary stuff!

Andrew RevansDecember 16th 2010.

Brewdog Punk IPA (6%) is gorgeous

roadkillDecember 16th 2010.

Any brewery that serves their beer in stuffed animals gets my vote

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