Winter is here and that means a whole lot of fabulous new openings, menu launches and lots of food and drink fun in Manchester.
Here’s VIVA’s round up of the seven best new arrivals to mark the new season in style.
1. Not your normal afternoon tea at Robby 1884
Roby 1844 has introduced a brand-new untraditional afternoon tea to its menu for just £22 per person.
There’s an eclectic range of dishes including a crispy fish, mushy pea and tartare sauce sandwich, a beef, stilton, arugula, caramelised onion slider and a selection dessert of favourites including Eton mess and lemon drizzle cake.
The afternoon tea can be enjoyed on Roby’s two floor waterside terrace or in the restaurant area of Holiday Inn, Manchester.
2. MUSU to host Live Tuna Cutting Experience & Sake Tasting
MUSU is hosting a Tuna Cutting Experience & Sake Tasting evening on Thursday, November 23 from 7pm.
A cult experience on the streets of Tokyo, MUSU brings it to Manchester for the first time, with guests seated in front of the open kitchen, where MUSU’s sushi chefs will explain the origin and sustainability of the bluefin tuna, before preparing and showcasing the various cuts.
After the unique live demonstration, guests will be seated in the restaurant, where they can sample the different tuna cuts which have just been prepared, including Akami (lean tuna) Otoro (fatty tuna) and Chu-toro (semi-fatty tuna), in the form of sashimi, nigiri and hosomaki dishes.
Guests will also have the option to add on a sake tasting, with sommelier Ivan hand-selecting three sake rice wines to complement the dishes on the night. There are limited tickets available for this event, priced at £70 per person, or £110 with the sake tasting, on a first come first serve basis. The ticket also includes a welcome drink on arrival at 7pm.
3. Brunch makes a welcome return to Zouk
Zouk Tea Bar & Grill’s well-loved and much-missed brunch makes a welcome return this Autumn, featuring a range of breakfast classics alongside a dish or two with a special Zouk twist.
Available for the first-time post pandemic, the brunch menu includes a selection of savoury and sweet dishes. Visit the Zouk website to see the full menu or to book a table.
4. Brunch with Gusto
Gusto, the elegant Italian with a city centre and Alderley eatery, has launched an Italian-inspired bottomless brunch, so VIVA went to brunch in style and check out the new drinks and food menu – you’re welcome.
It’s just £37 per person and the menu offers two courses and bottomless cocktails and prosecco across 90 minutes on Fridays and Saturdays, from midday until 3pm. The first thing to say is that the venue is simply gorgeous. We went to the Manchester city centre Gusto just off Deansgate and it’s all sumptuous booths, shiny brass and a vibey bustle, with friendly and chatty staff for whom nothing is too much trouble.
It’s perfect for a catch up with your squad or to revive after a busy morning shopping and it works for dates with some private nooks and crannies to hide away. The menu starts with the restaurant’s signature Gusto Dough Petals to start followed by a main of your choice.
Drinks wise, you can toast and sip your way through unlimited Aperol Spritz, Passion Fruit Spritz, Prosecco or Limoncello Sangria for 90 minutes. Most of our party opted for fizz and our glasses were kept full throughout the entire hour and a half, while our cocktail drinker worked his way through all four options. The Aperol Spritz (Aperol, Prosecco, soda), Limoncello Sangria (Tosolini Limoncello, white wine, pink grapefruit, orange juice, lemon, elderflower cordial, basil, strawberries), Fever-Tree Sicilian lemonade passion fruit spritz (Absolut Vanilia Vodka, Passoã, pineapple juice, passion fruit purée, vanilla syrup, lemon, soda), were pronounced delicious and brunch perfect.
And of course, the Prosecco, which was wonderfully crisp and refreshing with notes of pear drops, green apple and lemon. You can mix and match too, if you fancy switching from the fizz to cocktails, which we did. There’s plenty of choice for the main brunch event and some more expensive options where a supplement is added. There’s plenty for vegans, veggies and a gluten free option too. I chose the burger, and this was a juicy tasty treat with caramelised onion, pecorino cheese, tomato, lettuce, relish and gherkin, perfect with fries.
Other choices from team VIVA, also hit the spot. A smashed avocado on toast with a soft poach egg was a dippy delight, whilst the pizza was cheesy, stringy, comforting and ideal for soaking up all the booze.
VIVA verdict: A wonderful bottomless brunch that is great value for money at under £40 per person, with generous glass top ups, some yummy food and a wonderful setting.
5. Juicy news
JUICEBOX, the coffee, bottle shop, bar, local grocery, delivery service, and natural wine purveyor has arrived in the city centre, following the huge success of its first branch in Didsbury Village. VIVA went to visit and found a wonderful new haven for foodies, wine lovers and coffee junkies, plus a couple of our favourite bar people including Frenchie, hosting in style front of house.
On Bridge Street, just off Deansgate, it’s something of a Tardis as the shopfront is deceptive and there’s tons of space through the back. It’s chic and earthy with a casual vibe and you can sit down and be waited on or pull up a bar stool and have natter.
The food is just stunning. We shared the cheese plate (gorgeous smoked cheddar, Comte cheese, a wonderful blue and a stunning almond cake), to get us in the food mood. Known for its natural wines, we were after a sparkling rosé and here they are happy for you to try before you buy with a choice of two on the menu (the wines change regularly, and the staff also have their favourite choices with their bottles of the week if you want some inspiration). Both were good, but the light English blush sparkling was a clear winner for me.
They specialise in focaccia, and these are enormous. So big, I took half of mine home in a doggy bag. They’re also drop dead delicious. My truffle courgette was stacked with truffle burrata, rocket, courgette, hot honey and truffle mayo, and was a thing of beauty.
The vegan donner (you read that right), was loaded with vegan shawarma, green olive tapenade, house hummus, Thick hot sauce, lettuce and sun blushed tomatoes and described as pure bliss by my normally carnivorous friend. They also do a chicken special that’s available Fridays and Saturdays, which is apparently legendary according to many of VIVA’s mates.
The way Juicebox works is that during the day, it is open early for speciality coffees, pastries and baked goods and they welcome remote workers, as the ideal spot to perch up and well, work. There’s also a deli shop to stock up on food-store cupboard essentials, super tasty snacks and fancy deli goods sourced from across Spain, Italy and the UK.
The menu from midday features the freshly baked focaccia loaded with the finest ingredients to form superior sarnies Also on the menu are cheeseboards, charcuterie, and seasonal small plates that showcase the deli goods, with a great deal of three plates for just £15 between 12-5pm every day and is open until midnight on weekends with DJs.