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Food & Drink

A new Blues, Bourbon and BBQ joint called The Blues Kitchen is opening near Deansgate

My kind of place

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theblueskitchenmcr/Instagram

The Blues Kitchen will be bringing a flavour of the Deep South to the city with live music, bourbon and BBQ!

A new two-storey venue comprising of a restaurant and bar, as well as a stunning concert hall, is set to open on May 20th. 

Taking over 13 Quay Street, an old Victorian Eye Hospital, The Blues Kitchen will transform the site with new additions as well as restoring some of the original features. 

The concert hall is set to open for seated performances on May 20th subject to further guidelines, before fully opening for standing gigs and club nights on June 21st.

theblueskitchenmcr/Instagram

Guests will be transported to the Deep South with flavours, sounds and smells of Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi & Texas all on offer.

The venue will be filled with décor that emulates the roots of Blues, with a gospel roof constructed with reclaimed 19th century tin plates from a derelict church in Manhattan.

Plus there will be a stained-glass ceiling, fashioned with the original stained-glass windows from Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey, where one of the true blues greats, Woody Guthrie, once resided.

There will also be an original 1920s Air Stream Caravan that has been revamped to provide the ultimate retro private party space.

theblueskitchenmcr/Instagram

Located on the ground floor is a restaurant and bar specialising in American Soul food and rare and vintage bourbon.

There will be everything from brunch, lunch, supper and dessert covered with proper classic comfort food. 

Expect the likes of stacked-up burgers, creamy mac n cheese, finger lickin’ buffalo hot wings and succulent smoky ribs.

Behind the bar, guests will have the choice of 80 bourbons as well as a dedicated menu of cocktails, beers, wines and other spirits.

The whiskey menu covers everything from Single Barrel (aged 12 years), Rye, Corn & Wheated, Small Batch, Tennessee, Rare & Vintage as well as whiskeys from around the world.

theblueskitchenmcr/Instagram

Guests can also expect a curated live music programme every single day of the week on the ground floor while you sip on whisky and tuck into a burger. 

Heading upstairs to the concert hall, the space will host concerts with international headliners to 500 guests. There will also be in-house gigs and club nights with a variety of genres.

Steve Ball, CEO of The Columbo Group, which owns The Blues Kitchen, said: “We’ve been looking for the perfect site in Manchester for years and have finally found it.

“We’ve taken a great deal of pleasure in restoring the building over the past year, and we’ve managed to get hold of some incredible vintage features from The States so it’s really going to be quite something. We’re really excited to reveal it all soon along with our entertainment programme once restrictions have lifted.”

Keep up to date on their Instagram.

Food & Drink

Chef calls out ‘opportunists looking for a free meal’ who refused to pay bill after eating ‘70%’ of their food

‘Everyone’s after something for free at the moment, which perhaps comes from their lack of respect for the industry’

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The Pack Horse Hayfield / Facebook

A chef and restaurant owner has opened up about an incident in which a couple refused to pay for their bill, despite having eaten the majority of the food served to them.

Luke Payne has owned and run The Pack Horse in Hayfield with his partner Emma for the last five years, and prides himself on serving ‘up market’ contemporary food not found in your typical pub.

According to Luke, 99% of The Pack Horse’s customers are ‘lovely’ and ‘have an amazing time’, but, on Saturday night, one couple refused point blank to pay up for their bill despite having eaten the majority of their meals.

Luke has since spoken out about the incident, saying the couple were simply ‘opportunists’ on the look-out for a free meal, clearly oblivious to the crippling impacts the Covid-19 pandemic has had upon the business and the rest of the hospitality industry.

Speaking to Proper Manchester, Luke detailed how, despite the couple being checked on by his waiting team several times throughout their meal, they never once complained about their food until they’d eaten ‘around 70% of it’.

The Pack Horse Hayfield / Facebook

He explained: “Despite having being checked back by our waiting team to see if everything was okay, the woman brought her pork chop up to the bar and compared it to ‘fatty bacon’, saying ‘this isn’t what I expected, I don’t really like it, I’d like another meal to replace it for free.’

“She had the opportunity to say if something was wrong or not to her liking, and in that scenario, we would have absolutely done everything we could to have made their evening better. She wanted a replacement for free, but she’d already eaten her meal essentially. So I said no, and informed her that if she wanted anything else she’d have to pay for it.”

At this, the woman’s husband allegedly became aggressive and claimed to be ‘in the right as the customer’. The couple then refused point blank to pay any of their bill, which amounted to £106, before leaving the premises. 

Luke said: “Obviously we don’t live or die by £100, but it’s still a lot of money. That’s a young waitress’ wage for the day.”

Luke ended up charging the couple using the card details they had submitted when securing their reservation online – however, they threatened to get their card insurers involved so whether or not the money will actually come through will only be determined in the next couple of days.

The incident has understandably left Luke and his team disheartened and frustrated, with him noting: “When it’s your business and your livelihood and your passion, you want to make sure that everyone leaves having had a great time. So these kind of things do stick, and it is really frustrating.

“I take stuff like this really personally, because this is all we know, it’s all we do and we do it for love. The backbone of what we do is making people happy, so this kind of stuff brings out a certain level of upset.”

And sadly, this isn’t Luke’s first experience with customers attempting to get their meals for free; he told us that since restaurants have reopened after the lockdowns, he’s noticed a rise in diners complaining about food to avoid paying their bill.

“The customer always thinks they’re right, even when they’re not. We’re professionals at the end of the day, if something is wrong with the food and drink and the service that we’re providing, we’ll know about it. So people should be a little more respectful of what we do.

“Everyone’s after something for free at the moment, which perhaps comes from their lack of respect for the industry and the hard work and the graft and the love that goes into it… People only see the end product, they don’t understand why things cost as much as they do and why they take as long to prepare as they do.”

Since sharing his experience on Twitter, Luke and the Pack Horse team have been flooded with messages of support from adoring customers. One person wrote: “Corr, I wish I was having that pork chop for lunch. I love The Packhorse. These miserly chancers do not deserve your incredible food.”

Another noted: “We came in last week and 2 of our party had the Pork and absolutely loved it. Urrrgghh chancers trying to pull a fast one on a local business – hate it!”

You can stay up to date with The Pack Horse on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

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Food & Drink

You can get doner kebab pies from this Greater Manchester bakery and they look incredible

Wigan, you’ve really outdone yourself…

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Well Good Blog

A Wigan bakery has started making doner kebab pies and, let me tell you, they look revolutionary.

Wigan has been on the map for its unique pie creations for quite some time now – it’s the place that brought the Wigan Kebab to us, for goodness sake (a meat pie sandwiched in a barm, incase you’re new here). But the town’s latest pie offering could be the best yet.

Introducing, the doner kebab pie: Carefully curated by Whittles Pies, the kebab pie consists of all those beloved takeaway bits, including doner meat, sweetcorn relish and chilli sauce all baked inside a homemade shortcrust pastry.

Well Good Blog

Beats a 2am doner kebab from the dodgy takeaway on the corner, doesn’t it?

And better yet, the pie – which can be enjoyed both hot or cold – is priced at an outrageously reasonable £1.80, so a haul won’t set you back too much.

And for those of you who prefer something a little more traditional, Whittles Pies have a whole array of tasty pies on their menu, such as meat and potato, steak, chicken and mushroom and even sausage rolls and cheese and onion pasties.

Whittles Pies / Facebook

Who else really fancies a pie now?

Whittles Pies is open between 9:30am – 1:30pm Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and can be found at the rear of 1 Tunstall Lane, Pemberton.

Make sure to check out their Facebook page for menu updates.

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Food & Drink

NEW OPENING: A Polynesian-themed tiki bar with treasure chest cocktails comes to the Northern Quarter

Another wonderful addition to the Northern Quarter

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@lonocove / Instagram

Manchester’s Northern Quarter has an exciting new addition in the form of a Polynesian-themed tiki bar.

Opening its doors just last week in the former Apotheca site, Lono Cove features two floors of ‘contemporary’ tiki fun, including treasure chest cocktails and an abundance of greenery – enough in fact to make you forget that you’re in rainy Manchester at all.

Billed as a ‘tropical escape’, Lono Cove is owned and founded by former Big Brother star Luke Edge. It’s already built a name for itself at its debut site in Chester, which opened in 2018 and scooped a number of prestigious awards within its first year.

@lonocove / Instagram

@lonocove / Instagram

And its new Northern Quarter venture is looking to fare no differently; there’s two floors of tropical cocktails, with the ground floor featuring cosy booths and giant birdcages which can cater for groups of up to 6 people. 

Down in the basement, guests can drink among gorgeous floral decor and partake in private functions and cocktail masterclasses. 

And, perhaps most importantly, Lono Cove features a very impressive cocktail menu; we’re talking all the tiki classics such as Zombies and Mojitos, and even treasure chest cocktails packed with flavour, fun and plenty of booze. 

@lonocove / Instagram

@lonocove / Instagram

Luke Edge said on the growth of his brand: “We are so excited to be opening in Manchester alongside some amazing operators. Chester has been embraced by both customers and the trade, winning three awards in the first year, I knew it was ready to take it further afield and into a bigger unit with a much more diverse usage.

“We can now offer private parties and large bookings, something I have been keen to do as it’s what our customers want.I wanted to design a bar that had all the magic of Tiki but in a sumptuous setting that would tantalise your senses. Welcome to Lono Cove!”

Lono Cove Manchester is open now, follow them on Instagram for news and updates.

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