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The Old Abbey Inn: Bigos at Big-O's

The gastropub with a pinch of Polish...

Written by . Published on April 4th 2013.

The Old Abbey Inn: Bigos at Big-O's

THE Old Abbey Inn has had a makeover. No longer part of the Kro empire, it relaunched on Easter Sunday as Big-O’s at The Old Abbey Inn – a gastropub with a pinch of Polish spice.

There are almost 30,000 Polish people living in Greater Manchester and landlord Marek Zawodny who was born in Manchester and grew up in Chorlton believes it’s time for British and Polish culture to meet. Paul Scrimshaw, the owner of the enterprise and Zawodny came up with the idea of serving hearty, hospitable Polish food after realising there were very few other places filling that need.

 "I want going out for a Polish to be as common as going out for an Indian or an Italian.”

Situated on Pencroft Way in Rusholme, just round the corner from the Polish RC Church of Divine Mercy, The Old Abbey Inn serves Polish food on a Sunday catering for the congregation and all comers alike.

Dishes include classics like Bigos - a spicy sauerkraut-based stew and source of the comedy name, and Kotlet Shabowy - pork cutlets. They are inspired by family recipes from Marek Zawodny’s childhood. He believes Manchester is ready for some comforting Polish cooking: "I want going out for a Polish to be as common as going out for an Indian or an Italian.”

The big hit at Sunday’s launch was the Kotlety – minced beef cutlets. Another big hit at Sunday’s launch was Katy Carr. The Polish-English singer had everyone singing along to traditional Polish songs as well as showcasing new songs of her own. This was actually the first of the Big-O’s Sessions in the Park. Starting in May, there will be a series of gigs on a Saturday with Polish food served too.

There are plans to expand further with a Polish film night pencilled in for midweek evenings and plans to roll out the Polish pub grub throughout the week if all goes well.

The pub is the first in Manchester to have Zywiec, a lager from one of Poland’s oldest breweries, on draught. Scrimshaw and Zawodny are also planning a jaunt to some of Poland’s microbreweries to broaden the range of interesting drinks on offer. As it’s Poland’s national drink, there is also a range of specialist vodkas. Na Zdrowie! (Cheers)

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AnonymousApril 4th 2013.

Can't beat a bit of Bigos (or 'hunter's stew') - there's a Polish deli-cum-take away on Ayers Road in Old Trafford that does a fantastic one. £4 and easily enough for two. Doesn't seem overly popular. It's all about the marketing - call it "spicy sauerkraut and pulled pork street food" and the Chorlton hipsters will be beating their door down. On the other hand, maybe I'll keep quiet...

Alfonso FoxApril 18th 2013.

out of curiosity I went here with my wife for a meal here. It was very good hearty food, and a brilliant feed for the prices (£6 for a good sized main).

It was quiet when we showed up (4pm on sunday) which made it easy to strike up a conversation with paul the owner and ursala the waitress. Paul even shared some Polish vodka with us!

Had a pint of the Polish lager on tap, and that was a tasty pint.

If you can get there, then it is well worth going to.

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