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Food & Drink

NEW OPENING: The deep-fried dumpling restaurant serving up huge salt & pepper boxes

There’s a new dumpling joint in town…

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Desert Island Dumplings / Instagram

A restaurant dedicated to all things dumplings is coming to Manchester this month for a limited time only. 

Desert Island Dumplings comes from humble beginnings, with founder Lucy starting the business by taking orders via Instagram and pedalling her dumplings across Liverpool on her push bike.

Following the initial success of Desert Island Dumplings, Lucy was able to secure a spot in Liverpool’s Kazimier Garden and, more recently, was even nominated in the ‘Best Dumpling’ category at this year’s Golden Chopstick Awards.

Desert Island Dumplings / Instagram

So now, it only makes sense for Desert Island Dumplings to make the next big step and bring its dumpling goodness to the people of Manchester.

And lo and behold, Lucy has managed to bag herself a month-long residency inside one of the city’s most iconic boozers, Cloudwater’s very own Sadler’s Cat in NOMA.

The deep-fried dumplings – all of which are entirely plant based – come with a number of different fillings, including salt and pepper ‘Chikn’, Hoisin ‘Mock Duck’ and the more adventurous flavours such as the Fried Breakfast Dumplings, Smokey Cheez Pizza and Cheezburger.

And on potential new fillings, Lucy hinted: “For the Kaz we made a Kazimier Katsu dumpling, I think at Sadler’s it’d be fun to do like a spicy sausage recipe… but I’ve also been itching to do a lasagna one for a while now too.”

Desert Island Dumplings / Instagram

But overall, she is confident that her dumplings will be a big hit at Sadler’s this summer, with her noting: “Whether you’re plant-based or not, the dumplings are really special.

“I’m passionate that good veggie food doesn’t need to compromise on flavour or choice.”

Desert Island Dumplings will be taking over Sadler’s on Thursday May 12th, and will run from Thursday to Sunday until the end of the month.

Follow Desert Island Dumplings on Instagram for news and updates.

Food & Drink

A FREE Michelin-starred food and drink festival is coming to Manchester this summer

Celebrated chefs from across the country will be joining forces with Escape to Freight Island for one weekend only

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Escape to Freight Island

The KANTINA Food and Drink Weekender is returning to Manchester this summer with a whole host of Michelin-starred talent.

And better yet? This year, it is completely FREE to attend.

Billed as a ‘feast for the city’, KANTINA 2022 will see national guest chefs, restaurants and bars pairing up with the existing traders in Escape to Freight Island for a whole host of tasty and unique collaborations.

As a part of the weekend’s line-up, Brad Carter’s One Star Döner Bar will partner with Michelin-starred chef Tom Brown who founded Cornerstone in London, alongside renowned independent food consultant from Birmingham, Lap-fai Lee.

@escapetofreightisland / Instagram

Escape to Freight Island

Famous for her South-East Asian cookery, Pippa Middlehurst ‘Pippy Eats’ will be returning to KANTINA for a follow-up collaboration with Mi & Pho, while the upscaled tacos from Madre will be teamed up with AngloThai’s co-founder and head chef John Chantarasak.

And Carnival – the popular new collaboration concept at Escape to Freight Island – will be taken over by award-winning chef, butcher, restauranteur and food writer Richard Turner, formerly of Hawksmoor.

There will also be an exclusive supper club will be presented by Luke French, the head chef and owner at the acclaimed JÖRO in Sheffield, which holds an impressive 3 AA Rosettes and Michelin Guide 2021 Recommended.

And for those with a sweet tooth, there will be a tantalising selection from ice cream sandwich connoisseurs Happy Endings will be available alongside offerings from Gooey and Batard.

Escape to Freight Island

Escape to Freight Island

On the drinks side of things, Soho House will take over Escape to Freight Island’s bar in the sky at The Jane Eyre, while the Pomona Island taproom will provide a whole range of beverages across the board.

And in true Escape to Freight Island fashion, the festival will host a vibrant roster of entertainment, varying from live performances, DJs, satellite events and more across the weekend.

KANTINA 2022 will be hosted at Escape to Freight Island on Friday June 10th (from 4pm until 1am), Saturday June 11th (from 12pm until 1am) and Sunday June 12th (from 12pm until 9pm) and will be completely free to attend.

Get your table booked here.

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Food & Drink

Kong’s Chicken launches jerk fried chicken, hanger steak ‘surf & turf’ and cheesy chips with gravy on new menu

Kong’s has shaken up the menu with some tasty new additions…

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Manchester's Finest Group

Manchester’s staple fried chicken joint Kongs Chicken Shop has strayed from tradition with the launch of its brand new menu.

Kong’s, the very place that sent the city into a frenzy with its fried chicken Sunday roast last year, was born out of the popular Northern Quarter ramen spot, CBRB, where it operated on a collection and delivery basis.

Thanks to its success however, Kong’s has been quick to grow and, in its short life, has held residencies in a number of city centre venues such as Foundation Coffee on Portland Street, Northern Monk Refectory, The Head of Steam in Didsbury Village and, most recently, Clubhouse in Spinningfields.

But in perhaps their biggest move yet, the fried chicken connoisseurs launched their very own American-style diner in late night arcade and bowling bar Dog Bowl at the start of the year.

Manchester’s Finest Group

And now they’ve settled into their new home nicely, Kong’s have unveiled a brand new menu, complete with their iconic fried chicken and something a little different, too.

Fans of the restaurant will recognise their trademark Signature Chicken Sandwich, which comes with a fried chicken thigh, crispy chicken skin, chunky burger sauce, iceberg lettuce, pickles and sriracha slaw, all sandwiched within a toasted seeded brioche bun.

For the first time, Kong’s is offering its own take on Caribbean cuisine with the new Jerk Chicken Sandwich – the chicken is marinated in house jerk sauce and paired with mango and pineapple hot salsa, slaw and iceberg lettuce. It is also available in vegan form, and is equally as good. 

Also new to the menu is the Panang Curry Chicken Sandwich and the Buffalo Chicken Poutine, consisting of a fried chicken thigh in buffalo sauce with mozzarella, fries, gravy, blue cheese sauce, crumbled cheese, chives and chilli. 

Manchester’s Finest Group

Kong’s has strayed from tradition with some of their new dishes too, including the Hanger Steak and Fries, which comes cooked rare and topped with chimichurri and watercress, with the option to add king prawns for £5 and a fried egg and grilled pineapple ring for £1.

And it’s worth mentioning that the restaurant doesn’t mess about when it comes to sides; their fried chicken and steak can be accompanied by Kong’s SlawOnion RingsBuffalo Blue Cheese Fries and a range of BBQ chicken wings and tenders.

Kong’s at Dog Bowl is open from 12pm every day, and makes the perfect accompaniment to a game of bowling or fun in the arcade. 

Make sure to follow Kong’s Chicken Shop on Instagram for news and updates.

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Food & Drink

New Turtle Bay restaurant set to open in Salford Quays as plans submitted

Manchester’s existing Turtle Bay restaurants are hugely popular thanks to their Caribbean-inspired menus and cocktails

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Turtle Bay

Salford Quays could soon be getting its very own Turtle Bay, with plans to build a new restaurant recently being submitted.

There are currently two existing Turtle Bay restaurants in Manchester, with one located down Oxford Road and the other in the Northern Quarter.

The venues have proven to be a huge hit among Mancunians over the years, mainly thanks to their Caribbean-inspired menus, extensive list of rum cocktails and their competitive Happy Hour, which runs at varying hours every day of the week. 

Turtle Bay

But the brand could soon be expanding outside of the city centre, with plans been recently submitted to open a new restaurant in Salford Quays.

According to the Salford City Council website, the application was received on Wednesday April 6th, and proposed the brands recognisable features, including an illuminated Turtle Bay sign, a ‘Caribbean social’ neon sign, and coloured awnings with pattern/graphics wording. 

It has also been pitched for the new Turtle Bay to move into the former Real China restaurant space in The Lowry Designer Outlet.

The proposal was validated last week on Tuesday May 3rd, so updates can be expected in the coming months. 

Manchester City Council

Turtle Bay was founded in 2010 by Sri Lankan Ajith Jaya-Wickrema, who also established the Mexican restaurant chain Las Iguanas. 

Ajith, who moved to the UK at the age of fifteen, had a vision to create a group of restaurants that would ‘transport you to the Caribbean without a plane ticket’ and, ultimately, ‘bring the fun, bring the flavour, and bring on the good times’. 

Fast forward to today and there are now forty-two Turtle Bay restaurants across the UK, with ever-evolving menus, cocktails, live music and social events.

Head over to the Turtle Bay website for to stay posted with updates on their next venture.

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