Time for Society

I was up in Manchester for some meetings. After a long morning meeting I headed out into Manchester city centre for something to eat. On previous visits to Manchester I had seen Society before, I had even gone in there to see what it was like, but I had never actually eaten there. So, on this walk around the centre, and having looked around a few places, I ended up at Society.

A fresh addition to the city’s vibrant cultural space, Society is a hub of street food, craft beer, wine and cocktails and boasts an impressive line-up of talented independent traders. Society features four independently-owned kitchens, from the towering burgers of Slap & Pickle, pan-Asian specialists Manzoku Street Food, flavoursome Indian street food from Chaat Cart and experts in Korean street food, Yoki Social Table. Society also houses a cocktail bar and specialist taproom by craft brewery Vocation.    

The process is quite simple, take a seat, note your table number, scan in the QR code, place your order on your phone and wait for your food. With some of the traders you can order at the counter if you want to.

I did first peruse the different (phyiscal) menus and noted that Manzoku had a January special of bao buns. Now I quite like a good bao bun, so this was quite tempting.

I sat down at a table with a glass of water from the bar and looked over the menu. I decided to have the crispy chicken bao buns with a portion of crispy squid.

The January Special Bao Chicken was two fluffy bao buns filled with ginger and garlic chicken thigh in a crispy coating, with Japanese pickled slaw.

They looked great. The chicken was a little dry and overcooked for me, but did have a nice flavour. The rest of the dish was great, fresh and flavoursome.

Alongside I had the Spicy Salt & Pepper Squid. This was deep fried marinated crispy salt & pepper squid with a kick, chilli mayo, and togarashi spice.

When eating this I was reminded of the chilli squid I have eaten at Wagamama. It was crispy on the outside, tender squid on the inside. Nice spicing and I enjoyed the chilli mayo.

Overall I did like both dishes and really enjoyed them. It was a little more than I would normally pay for lunch, but I do think it was value for money. I would certainly have a night out at Society, having a beer and a few dishes from the different street food traders.

Ditto Coffee

When I am in a new city or town, though familiarity normally means visiting a place like Caffe Nero for a coffee, if I do get the chance, I do like to try somewhere new, such as Kiss the Hippo in London.

Up in Manchester, back in May 2022, close to our office, I liked the look of Ditto Coffee so popped in for a coffee. It was a delicious cup of coffee and I really enjoyed it.

So it wasn’t too surprising when I was back in Manchester and wanting a coffee I headed back to Ditto for a coffee.

This time though I ordered a Cortado and a cake, as part of a special deal.

The coffee was excellent (again) and I really enjoyed it (again). The caramel slice was rather good too. I was tempted to stay for another, but needed to get back to work. I will visit again.

Well at least I got fries this time…

I was up in Manchester staying at the Copthorne Hotel on Salford Quay and went for dinner in the restaurant, finding it was closed, no reason given, but food was being served in the bar area.

I decided to have the mackerel pate, however it wasn’t available. So I went with the soup of the day. Today it was tomato.

I had expected to get cream of tomato soup, like you get out of a Heinz can, but what I actually got was a really nice fresh tasting tomato soup. It was rather good. It came with some toast, I think toasted white bread is okay when cooking soup at home, but in a restaurant setting I think I would like to have seen some toasted sourdough or ciabatta. 

Though I hadn’t finished my soup, my main course arrived. So I quickly finished my soup and was about to start my main course, when I realised I had no cutlery. So it was back to the bar to get a knife and fork.

I had ordered Steak Frites. This was steak with garlic butter, fries, a parmesan and rocket salad.

In a previous visit to the Copthorne Hotel on Salford Quay I had ordered Steak Frites and I wrote this.

Well, yes it was a sirloin steak, yes it was served with herb garlic butter (and it was quite garlicky), yes there was some rocket. However those were not fries, they were chips! Okay maybe being a little petty, but the menu describes the fish and chips as coming with chips, the steak and ale pie talks about being served with chips, but when I see a menu say it is served with fries, I do expect to get fries. 

Well at least I got fries this time… 

The rocket and parmesan was nice and would be something that I would try and make myself.

Alas unlike my previous visit, the steak was rather disappointing.

The steak was unseasoned and had very little flavour, the garlic butter was missing. It was still cooked medium-rare as requested. I decided that I would add some salt, and I literally never add salt to my food when eating. However there was no salt on the table, so I had to go back to the bar and ask for salt.

Overall I liked the soup, I was pleased with the fries, but was disappointed with the steak.

A disappointing roasted pigeon

I was staying up in Manchester. I was staying at the Macdonald Manchester Hotel. I had stayed at the hotel before in 2015, though back then I didn’t have dinner in the hotel. This time I was eating in the hotel.

Sometimes before eating out I will check out the menu and then also look at pictures on Google or Trip Advisor and see what the dishes look like.

So one dish I did quite like the sound of was the Roasted Pigeon. This was pigeon supremes, blueberry vinegar, with crispy bacon and mash.

I did find this image of the Roasted Pigeon on Instagram. 

It looked like a really impressive dish. So you can imagine my disappointment when, after ordering the dish, I was served this.

Yes, these two things are not the same.

The mash was quite nice, the pigeon was a little too charred for my liking and, though I asked for medium, it was served well done. As a result it was a little tough and chewy. The bacon was rather sad as well.

Yes this dish could have been excellent, I was expecting what I saw in the photograph. What I got was a real disappointment. 

Wild Mushrooms

I was staying up in Manchester. I was staying at the Macdonald Manchester Hotel. I had stayed at the hotel before in 2015, though back then I didn’t have dinner in the hotel. This time I was eating in the hotel.

After enjoying my Barnsley Chop, this time I went with the Wild Mushroom dish.

This was described on the menu as assorted wild mushrooms, asparagus, white truffle oil, port wine cream, mini fondants, puff pastry and tenderstem broccoli.

This dish had huge potential to be an outstanding plate of food, alas it wasn’t.

Well, firstly, I couldn’t find any mini fondants. the puff pastry was a little flat and I did struggle to find the wild mushrooms in the dish. Having said that I did enjoy the asparagus and the tenderstem broccoli. The sauce was nice, but I did struggle to taste the truffle.

Overall I did quite enjoy the dish, but this a mediocre plate of food and I wish it could have been better.

Barnsley Chop

I was staying up in Manchester. I was staying at the Macdonald Manchester Hotel. I had stayed at the hotel before in 2015, though back then I didn’t have dinner in the hotel. This time having arrived late into Manchester, I decided to eat in the hotel restaurant.

It was a Monday evening, so I didn’t expect the place to be that busy. There were quite a few people eating in the bar, so I did think that there might be some people eating in the restaurant. When I arrived the restaurant was empty, but it was late, and I was hungry.

The restaurant is called The Scottish Steakhouse and if you go to the hotel website it says:

True to our Scottish heritage, the beef we serve comes from fully accredited Scottish farms and supplied to us by Scotbeef, suppliers to the highest quality retailers in the country. The beef is then traditionally aged for a minimum of 21 days on the bone and hand cut by highly skilled butchers using time-honoured techniques, delivering the perfect Scottish dining experience. 

However the menu actually says:

All our steaks are from the North West England! Straight from Dukesmoor Farm who have a range of superior and traditionally reared British cattle.

So, which is correct? Well who knows, I suspect the menu is now right.

Looking over the menu, I decided that I would have something from the grill. I do quite like a nice lamb chop, so went with the Barnsley Chop, which the menu said was served with grilled mushrooms and roast cherry vine tomatoes.

I did ask if the dish came with chips, I was told it came with fries, but did I want chips, I said I was happy with fries. I thought they might be extra. Well when I got the bill they were an extra, I didn’t mind as I wanted some fries, but didn’t appreciate the confusion.

My meal arrived promptly and looked very nice.

Overall it was a nice plate of food. The chips was nice, as were the mushrooms and tomatoes. The lamb was cooked well, was tender and tasty. I think the lamb could have been better seasoned, but that was a minor comment.

Thought the initial service left a lot to be desired, the service after the meal was friendly and excellent.

Chilango Hotbox

I was recently up in Manchester and wanting lunch. I have been a fair few times to Chilango both in Manchester and in London. 

Back in October 2016 I had some great tacos from the Manchester branch of Chilango. So I was hoping to get some of those, however since then Chilango have changed their menu, and they no longer do tacos. I was a little disappointed. In the end I went with a Surf and Turf Hotbox.

A hotbox has “alll the flavour of a burrito” but without the tortilla. This one was served with prawns and steak.

I did quite enjoy the hotbox, there were some great flavours.

That time I had some Chilango Tacos

Back in October 2016 I was staying in Manchester for a conference and had arrived the night before. Across the road was a branch of Chilango, so went there for dinner.

They had an interesting menu, but I was hungry so I went for the plate of tacos with a choice of fillings and salsas, along with a bottle of beer.

The tacos are made fresh to order, and after paying, I took my tacos to a table.

They looked great and were very tasty.

Would you like fries with that? Yes I would please!

Having arrived late one Sunday into Manchester and was staying at the Copthorne Hotel in the Salford Quays. I was quite hungry after a long drive. I headed down into the hotel foyer where I found the restaurant had just closed, but the bar was still open for food. They had quite a good menu, in the end I chose the Steak frites, this was described as a sirloin steak served with rocket, fries and herb garlic butter.

This is what I got.

Well, yes it was a sirloin steak, yes it was served with herb garlic butter (and it was quite garlicky), yes there was some rocket. However those were not fries, they were chips! Okay maybe being a little petty, but the menu describes the fish and chips as coming with chips, the steak and ale pie talks about being served with chips, but when I see a menu say it is served with fries, I do expect to get fries.

The menu says steak frites, this means steak with fries, not chips. Fries are not chips, chips are chips and fries are fries.

Well apart from the fries disappointment, the chips were okay. The steak was nice, the herb garlic butter was probably a little too strong for me, but I did like it. The rocket salad, was okay. Overall, I was hungry, this was a nice plate of food.

African Spiced Lamb Rump

I was up in Manchester staying at the Copthorne Hotel on Salford Quay and went for dinner in the restaurant. I had a table overlooking the water, I settled in and looked over the menu and ordered.

Well after a somewhat disappointing starter, I did have quite low expectations about my main course. I had ordered the African spiced lamb rump with roasted Mediterranean cous cous.

Unlike my starter I got what was described on the menu.

The lamb was nice, tender, but lacked flavour. There wasn’t s lot of African spice there. The cous cous was nice and there were some nice roasted Mediterranean vegetables hidden in there. The dish was dressed with a yoghurt dressing.

I have to say, I did enjoy the dish, it wasn’t that impressive, but it was okay. If I was at the Copthorne again, would I order it again, probably yes.