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Wood. Wine & Deli: Reviewed

Lucy Tomlinson finds a 'nice' place for a spot of 'turving'

Written by . Published on September 4th 2014.

Wood. Wine & Deli: Reviewed


It’s a misunderstood, unloved word. How we treat ‘nice’ is not nice.

Wood isn’t a restaurant so much as a place to order some food to go with your wine. The star turns are the platters which are really just about selection and assemblage.

Take for example, a text I received about a friend’s new chap:

'He treats me really well and I feel happy and relaxed, but ‘nice’ is the word for the sex.' Ooof poor bloke. He might as well don that cassock now.

But in a world where an ISIS militant is infecting children with Ebola and won’t resign from his post even though he really ought too because he took the ice-cream out of the freezer and then posted nudie pics of it all over the internet (sounds like a fever dream but this is reality people, or at least the Reader’s Digest version) – in this world is nice really so bad? Couldn't we do with some nice? Can't we give nice a chance?

Wood. Wine & DeliWood. Wine & Deli

Here’s another word that’s suffered, not overuse and degradation, but instead almost complete neglect. Which is not that surprising really seeing as my friend's mother-in-law made it up. But it is a word which once you know becomes essential to the lexicon. That word is 'turve'.

Turve /tɜːv/

Verb (used  with object, preferably alcoholic): To drink with greater speed than your companion, followed by topping up your own (empty) glass and their semi-full one at the same time to ensure you receive a greater percentage of the wine while appearing to be a generous and sociable dinner date rather than a ravening and miserly alcoholic.

Related forms:

Counter-turve: to drink more slowly, thereby ensuring your companion’s greater drunkenness for reason nefarious or otherwise.

Tospy-turvy: result of a night of hard turving.

Origin: Terf (Old English): mead thief.

Both ‘nice’ and ‘turve’ are essential for any review of Wood. Wine & Deli. It simply is an extremely nice venue in which to indulge a spot of turving.

Wood is the new-ish venture from the owners of Cord and Simple, occupying the quarters of what used to be Fyg on Tib Street. It gets its elemental name from the lavish quantities of timber which decorate the place, from the Jenga-inspired bar to the rough-hewn tree trunk stools (luckily there are also comfortable sofas made out of regular sofa materials). All the drinks are served in hollowed-out conkers and the waiting staff wear aprons made of bark. Well, maybe I made that last part up, but it is all terribly deciduous. Warm and rustic yet clean and industrial, quite a feat to pull off with a few old bits of tree.

Wood. Wine & DeliWood. Wine & Deli

Wood’s thing is wine. So wine we drank. The list is shorter than perhaps you might expect, but gives the appearance of being carefully chosen and with a good spectrum of reasonable to expensive (by expensive I mean £85 for a Châteauneuf-du-Pape, not Gordo expensive).

We ordered a glass of the more level-headed Cullinan View Chenin Blanc (£4.30/175ml, btl £26.50), described simply as dry and refreshing, but to me was more young and fruity; plus a gorgeous Gewurztraminer (btl £26.50), which tasted of peardrops dissolved in fragrant herbal tea - much nicer than it sounds.

We then moved on to the Marilyn Merlot Bordeaux (btl £42.50), described on the menu as having plummy fleshiness alongside flavours only found with maturity, which sounds like a night out with Brian Blessed, but I can assure you is a good deal less shouty. The wine, while not quite a droplet of the river of human history, is well-made and eminently turvable.

Wood isn’t a restaurant so much as a place to order some food to go with your wine. The star turns are the platters (more of which below) which are really just about selection and assemblage.

Arroz con Pollo (£7)Arroz con Pollo (£7)

In order to test some actual cooking, we ordered a couple of dishes from the tapas menu too. The Arroz con Pollo (£7) which was spiced chicken cooked in beer with rice, topped with fresh coriander and lime, served with toasted flatbread and the Spanish tortilla (£6.25), topped with chive cream cheese and smoked salmon. The rice was hefty and satisfying, if not a standout. The tortilla was decent though a little underseasoned, upgraded to pretty decent by the generous ribbons of smoked salmon on top.

On to the eating boards. We ordered The Fyg (pictured top and below, £26) board featuring (deep breath): Serrano ham, Napoli salami, Parma ham, Milano salami, Chorizo, Drunken Goats Cheese, Mrs Kirkhams Lancashire cheese, Blacksticks Blue, Cheddar Barbers, Goats Cheese, Delice de Bourgagne, Brie and White Stilton with Mango and Ginger served with breads, olives, fresh salad, hummus, taztziki, red onion marmalade and sunblushed tomatoes. Phew.

This came very beautifully presented on (what else?) great hunks of wood, ideal for couples to nibble on while gazing into one another’s eyes, playing footsie and all the while trying to viciously out-turve one another. Two things I wouldn’t have minded – a quick explanation from the waitress as to which cheese was which, and some oil for the bread.

Everything is of good quality and well chosen, but also nothing to surprise you here. Instead it’s a roll-call of old reliables, like your favourite band getting back together (and not just to pay a tax bill either).


(Click here to add text)


FYG boardFYG board

I would strongly recommend Wood for a first date. In this tastefully lit environment you could either meet the love of your life over a platter of delicious morsels or weed out the duds because they don’t drink wine priced over £5.99 and prefer a packet of cheese and onion crisps to all this stuff on wood.

I mention this theory to my companion, who tells me that if other bars in the vicinity are Tinder, then Wood is Guardian Soulmates. It’s true I can’t imagine a hot, sweaty hook-up here. It’s just too darn comforting, well-executed, unthreatening, middle-class, solid, reassuring, polite, lovely.

Maybe I’ll tell my friend to bring her man here for a platter and an education in the benefits of being nice.

Tortilla (£6)Spanish tortilla with smoked salmon (£6.25)


Wood. 44 Wine & Deli, Tib Street, Northern Quarter, M4 1LA. 0161 478 7100. @woodwinedeli

Rating: 14/20
Food: 3/5 Reliable roll-call
Drink: 4/5 Turvable
Service: 3/5 Which cheese is which?
Ambience: 4/5 Nice and date-ish
PLEASE NOTE: Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing, 14-15 worth a trip, 16-17 very good, 18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20, we get carried away

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

AnonymousSeptember 4th 2014.

That spanish tortilla looks suspiciously like smoked salmon. I liked this place when it was fyg - do you know if you can still buy cheeses etc to take away?

4 Responses: Reply To This...
SquirrelitoSeptember 4th 2014.

the Spanish tortilla topped with smoked salmon? I should hope it does.

AnonymousSeptember 4th 2014.

It didn't mention the smoked salmon previously...

P NickertySeptember 4th 2014.

"...the Spanish tortilla (£6.25), topped with chive cream cheese and smoked salmon."

AnonymousSeptember 5th 2014.

Yes, they changed the caption after I pointed it out...

Poster BoySeptember 4th 2014.

Creative Writing class alert. Wow! Like, really out there...

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Charlie ButterworthSeptember 4th 2014.

Experts keep going on about how the next generation through obesity will be the first for yonks to live shorter lives then their parents. I'm concerned Poster Boy is proving how the next generation might be the first in yonks to be less literate than their parents.

Conwy ConwaySeptember 4th 2014.

Poster Boy, that's done you.

AnonymousSeptember 5th 2014.

Ha yes...'Generation dumb an fat'. Maybe in the future you can order a takeaway from the 'Dumb & Fat' or perhaps it'll be the name of the bar built on the site of The Abercrombie.

AnonymousSeptember 4th 2014.

Anyone else just look at the pictures then read the comments on all these articles?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 4th 2014.

Haha. Wall of text can be difficult to read on the web. Maybe cut length and use a couple more subheads just to sign-post people through the main points?

AnonymousSeptember 4th 2014.

The writing's good enough not to need signposts.

AnonymousSeptember 4th 2014.

I went and had stale food at this "deli". Wasn't impressed.

food for thoughtSeptember 4th 2014.

The arroz con pollo look suspiciously like chicken to me

1 Response: Reply To This...
Barry MaginnSeptember 4th 2014.

Trying to figure out if this is an ironic joke I don't get.

Steve5839September 4th 2014.

The clue may be in the text "con"

food for thoughtSeptember 4th 2014.

Speaking about a clue, Barry doesn't have any!

AnonymousSeptember 5th 2014.

I smell the stink of Yet Another Fucking Italian YAFI!!!

3 Responses: Reply To This...
rinkydinkSeptember 5th 2014.

If this was ever funny - and it wasn't - it is now well past it's sell by date. Time to think of another punchline

rinkydinkSeptember 5th 2014.

its - for all the pedants

AnonymousSeptember 14th 2014.

You mean pendants.

AnonymousSeptember 5th 2014.

When will Manchester get a decent deli? Leeds has a few so we should too.

AnonymousSeptember 5th 2014.

Bring back FYG. Sadly the blandification of the Northern Quarter is squeezing out genuinely independent, family-run business.

FleshmechanikSeptember 8th 2014.

I went there and had the Taste of Spain platter - the only indication of Spain was chorizo and perhaps olives.. it also came with 2 quiches and something else (hardly remarkable). You could tell that quiches weren't made by the same people as other elements - they lacked any seasoning whatsoever and frankly don't really represent Spain. Other things (apart from meats) were well seasons, so I wasn't sure which of these things were made there and which were bought in. The platter also didn't have enough bread to go with it so it was just okay..The oil was very nice though. I'm reluctant to go back, and I refuse to fork out £26 for a platter of something they hardly cook themselves. :(

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