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Mary-Ellen's 4244, Gaskell House Opens, New Crafty Pig Restaurant

Sleuth Week 41: Partridge, pigs, pride and plastic

Written by . Published on October 3rd 2014.

Mary-Ellen's 4244, Gaskell House Opens, New Crafty Pig Restaurant

SleuthSleuthSleuth is a sideways glance at the city every week, it's the truth, but Sleuth's truth. He's several people all at once. We give £25 for every story/rumour and piece of absurdity you find for us to publish. Sleuth sometimes even gets serious. We ask for the money back if any legal action follows. Follow Sleuth on twitter @mcrsleuth 

Mary-Ellen at 4244

Sleuth has always enjoyed up the cooking of Mary Ellen McTague, Queen of Aumbry restaurant in Prestwich and Great British Menu finalist, and has wished upon every shed eyelash that she would finally move to the city. If only to save Sleuth the tram fare. Well, it finally happened, sort of. McTague has taken up residence at the back-end of Northern Quarter’s Teacup while Aumbry gets a lick of paint. Sleuth suspects McTague’s dipping a toe for a city centre venture. Speaking of dipping, Sleuth would dip his entire head in a bucket of McTague's dripping if she'd let him. Lovely stuff. The hare and partridge also had Sleuth purring like the queen. Fabulous stuff. Get yourself there before they trot off back to Prestwich in November.

Partridge piePartridge pie


Sleuth's New NQ Opening Of The Week

Another week, another Northern Quarter opening, or two.

Sleuth hears that the porky lot from Monton in Eccles, The Blind Pig, are heading into the city to open another porky venture, The Crafty Pig, which will open at the Piccadilly Gardens end of Oldham Street and be very porky. Sleuth has his fingers crossed that the new Pig will be very much like the original Monton Pig, of which owner Stuart Kirkham said 'the Pig is whatever you want it to be'. Sleuth wants it to be Sandra Bullock carrying French garlic buttered Escargot-Comtois snails. No? Oh and there's some other new NQ bar opening on Lever Street, Texture bar will be a new multi-functional bar, club, events, fashion space with bespoke c... *Sleuth nods off*...*Sleuth wakes up*... mixologist something wine wall.

Crafty PigCrafty Pig

New Visitor Attraction Opens

Sleuth is deeply in love with the re-opened Gaskell House which the editor will be writing about very soon. Elizabeth Gaskell, novelist and wit, husband William and their children lived in the lovely Plymouth Grove house for many decades in the 1800s. Now, after £2.5m of restoration, the house is looking as chipper as ever. The restoration is down to the indefatigable efforts of Janet Allan and team. It's open Wednesday, Thursday and Sundays. The cafe looks good too. The dining room can be hired for dinner parties. Sleuth wants you to go and put £4.95 into the coffers - that's the ticket price - as the place is run purely through volunteers. Go on, help out.

Gaskell House

Gaskell House 

Gaskell House drawing roomGaskell House drawing room

Nomenclature Inevitability

After the Gaskells the house was lived in by Constance Harper. She was notable in many ways not least because she was the first female member of the Halle Orchestra. And her instrument? The harp. Constance Harper was a harper.

Sleuth And Too Much Money

Earlier this week Sleuth took a group from Vienna around. They were city officials looking at how Manchester had rejuvenated some of its inner areas. Of course, many of the schemes wound down after the 2007/8 doldrums when the money for example in Urban Splash's New Islington scheme simply ran out. “In our case,” said the boss of the Viennese group dolefully, "we have another problem. As a city we have too much money. It's been a problem for decades.” The others nodded sagely as Sleuth asked whether he could have some.

What can we do with it all?

What can we do with it all?

Beer Breakthrough

The Viennese people also wondered why - given that Greater Manchester has 42 breweries - their hotel and the restaurants they visited in Manchester don't sell local beers. "Everywhere in Europe, when there is something really good locally they promote it as it makes a place distinctive," said the boss man. "That's easy to explain," said Sleuth. "Usually the hotels and main restaurants are too bone-idle to install pumps, buy in bottles or are simply ignorant about beer and don't realise in the last six years there's been a beer revolution and everybody's drinking it." Then he went to the Palace Hotel and found he was, in this instance, quite wrong. The hotel sells a very acceptable bottled ale called Clock Tower Blonded by Tatton Brewery and produced just for them.

Beer in a hotel

Beer in a hotel

The Most Expensive Wine In Manchester

Sleuth ordered a bottled beer at the bar in the Palace Hotel and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. "That's £15.50," said the highwayman behind the bar. "What?" said Sleuth wondering if he could find the Viennese again to see if they might lend him some dosh. "The wine is £10.50 a glass," said the pirate behind the bar. "What wine is this? The juice of the Gods?" Sleuth said, "please show me. Ah yes, the wine that costs £11 a bottle in M&S."

Probably just have the one glass

Probably just have the one glass

New Art Gallery For MCR

Sleuth is told that a new independent art gallery is set to open in Manchester next week, on Blossom Street in Ancoats (next to that new Guerrilla Eats street food ding-dong in the Fairbairn Building). What’s most surprising is that the new BLACKOUT gallery promises to never, ever, under any circumstances be a gallery for ‘North West artists painting dour North West scenes’. What? No dreary Printworks scene reflected in a sodden pavement, neon lights and umbrella’d pedestrians battling through the glumness? No speccy office worker in a camel mac chasing a flying newspaper through Piccadilly Gardens? Not one downtrodden grey matchstick man? Not one? Really? Wow.

Somewhere round here...Somewhere round here...

Take Me To The Northern Quarter…

Sleuth’s chum was in town this week for some event that Sleuth has utterly forgotten. Something to do with marigolds. After one or two shandies, Sleuth’s chum bundled into a Manchester taxi and cried "take me to the Northern Quarter", hoping to chase down some skirt in a trendy NQ drinking den. “Where did you end up?” asked Sleuth. “Not sure,” replied chum, “But it wasn’t much of a bar.” “What did it look like?” enquired Sleuth. “It was on a corner, did a beautiful Pollock.” “A Pollock?” replied Sleuth. “What sort of bar does Pollock?” “I told you it wasn’t much of a bar,” said the chum. Sleuth racked his brain. It clicked. “When you asked the driver to take you to the Northern Quarter…” Sleuth continued, “Did the driver take you straight to THE Northern Quarter… restaurant?” Pause. “Do they do Pollock?” asked the chum. “Yes,” said Sleuth. Pause. “I wondered why everyone was sat down,” said chum.

The Northern Quarter OR the sit down barThe Northern Quarter OR the sit down bar 

MCR’s Least Robust Cig Bin

Sleuth has an idea. If you’re a company that specialises in producing cigarette bins, or even a Council that buys cigarette bins from that company that specialises in producing cigarette bins, for gawd sake, make sure they’re fire resistant…

Rubbish cig binRubbish cig bin

Sleuth's Speech Of The Week

Sleuth was amused by Mark Garner's stirring speech about Michelin stars and Manchester during the Food and Drink Festival gala dinner on Monday. He made the speech about the most prestigious accolade in the food industry while giving out the Cheap Eats award. Sleuth was helpless with giggles, the audience were bemused.

City Centre's Most Autumnal Tree?

Sleuth was strolling through Spinningfields and caught this lovely autumnal scene, it made Sleuth want to cook a stew, carve a pumpkin, have a game of conkers, write a poem about cheese. This is the first line: 'Cheese, cheese, cheese, oh cheesy cheese... autumn leaves...' It's a work in progress. Sleuth's comin' for ya Duffy.

Autumn in SpinningfieldsAutumn in Spinningfields

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

AnonymousOctober 3rd 2014.

Sleuth, I do feel you missed the opportunity to rhyme "leaves getting redder" with "artisanal cheddar"

Lesley HampsonOctober 3rd 2014.

I had the same rip off Sauvignon Blanc experience at the Palace Hotel. I queried the price too. Treated like a pleb not knowing her wine. I won't go again.

Samantha CoatesOctober 5th 2014.

I've also been shocked by the sauvignon in the palace. The trouble is, cheaper stuff there is awful.

Chris HawkeOctober 5th 2014.

Guerrilla Eats street food and an art gallery in Ancoats? I struggle to visualise them working out (the area is still rather quiet), good luck to them however.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Chris HawkeOctober 11th 2014.

Update. It appears I was wrong - Guerrilla Eats was going alright and has a decent number of of visitors today. Koffee lock also has a pop up dress display. Something interesting and decent happening after all.

AnonymousOctober 6th 2014.

Is that a large glass? if it is that's £31.50 or roughly 3x high street pricing which isn't that unusual in restaurants and bars.

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