17 Feb The Big Travel List: My 5 Favourite Spots in Manchester
Although I was born and raised just outside of Manchester, I’ve spent the last few years traveling the world and so it’s been impossible to keep up to date with new developments. I find myself coming back to a city that has been transformed over the last few years…some restaurants have closed, new ones have opened. Whole new apartment blocks have sprung out of nowhere and new areas such as Spinningfields and MediaCityUK have burst onto the scene.
The best thing about coming home is being able to be a tourist in my own city, and there are so many hotspots to uncover. Hertz recently asked me to contribute to The Big Travel List by sharing my favourite haunts in Manchester, so I spent a weekend uncovering some new jems. My Australian friend Tim came to visit from London, so it was fun to be able to show someone around that had never visited the city before, plus I had an excuse to go to a Manchester United game…one of the items on my 30 things to do before 30 list. I think he was impressed! These are my current top places to visit in Manchester…
Elixir Tonics & Treats
Elixir Tonics & Treats on Deansgate is quite the hidden gem and a fantastic place to take visitors if you want to impress them with your knowledge of local bars! I heard about this new venue online and decided to head over and check it out. I was more than impressed; most of their cocktails are served with some sort of delicious treat, such as a miniature creme brûlée, smoked cheese, crystallised flowers or candied blood orange. I ordered the ‘Widow of Windsor’;
“A twist on the classic White Lady cocktail. Inspired by the enduring “Widow of Windsor”, our longest serving queen, Britain’s “simple sweetheart”, fresh and feminine. Magical No.3 gin, Briottet triple sec, Egg White, Lemon Juice and finished with Fino Sherry. Served with a caged truffle and intensifying atomisers.”
There was a party going on downstairs in the basement, and I later learnt from the Daily Mail that Colleen Rooney was in attendance…what a shame I missed her entrance.
The Oast House
Located in the centre of the modern Spinningfields development, The Oast House is a fantastic pub ideal for informal drinks with friends. It’s housed inside an original hop house with brick work and exposed wood, ensuring it has a rustic and toasty atmosphere perfect for those cold winter nights. They have a wide selection of ale and beer brands, so I opted for a flight of ales in order to try the different varieties. If you have a party of over 6 people you can book an ale tasting session, which lasts around 90 minutes and provides the opportunity to taste and discuss the ales. Food-wise you can tuck into deli boards, ploughman’s boards, BBQ and rotisserie chicken. Yum!
Situated opposite the Museum of Science and Industry in Castlefield, Sapporo Teppanyaki is a great date-night restaurant as the atmosphere is always lively and entertaining. I had the Chef’s Selection sashimi, some edemame, gyoza and duck teppanyaki with teriyaki sauce. You sit alongside other diners around live cooking stations, where the chefs put on quite the performance. Our chef tossed an egg (in its shell) into the air, catching it on his spatula with great precision. He performed this trick several times until eventually catching it on the edge of his spatula, cracking the egg in two and painting a heart on the grill with egg white! He also tossed potato chips into our mouths…I didn’t catch it the first time but caught it like a pro the second time around! The best part is when they light the grills on fire one by one. Definitely a must-try if you like a bit of theatre with your food.
Rosylee Tea Rooms
Rosylee Tea Rooms in the Northern Quarter is a really cool, quirky spot for lunch. The staff are friendly and attentive, and the decor is very romantic, with foliage and elegant lighting hanging from the ceiling. We visited for a spot of lunch before the Manchester United v Fulham game and opted for the afternoon tea, complete with finger sandwiches, scones and delicate stakes served on a silver stand. The scones were some of the best I’ve ever had; warm and fluffy on the inside with a unique hint of grated lemon peel. Best of all there was live music; a man playing gentle tunes on his guitar to create a relaxing Sunday-afternoon ambience.
The Milton Club
The Milton Club is a new members club (membership is free) on Deansgate that takes its name from the legendary poet, John Milton. I love plush amber and black interior and the grand entrance of the 19th century Milton Hall. The staff are very attentive and it’s a great place to go for drinks in a less crowded atmosphere- you can also hire private booths and drinks tables if you require a bit more privacy. There’s an extensive selection of modern cocktails to choose from that are lovingly prepared by the friendly bartenders. You can also order rare whiskies and cognacs, a really good glass of wine or something from the club’s very own Champagne Bar.