The countdown to the c-word has begin. That’s right, as Noddy H likes to yell, it’s Christmas. Love it or loathe it, it’s going nowhere and it’s always good news for you food-lovers as the city’s finest bars and restaurants start to flex their muscles, showing off their winter menus.
This month we have some of the very best options across the North, including a fantastic new vegan restaurant in Manchester; the latest restaurant from chef t’errible (that’s French for controversial chef, by the way, not ‘bad chef’, far from it) Marco Pierre White; Deansgate tapas; one of Liverpool’s best new independent venues; a South Manchester favourite; the stunning winter menu from a reliably brililant Spinningfields restaurant, and much much more.
That’s more than enough for you to explore over the next four weeks, before the big day itself arrives, with its inevitably inedible turkey and soggy sprouts. We’ll be back in a month, in those lost post-Christmas weeks – which, lucky for us all, brings all manner of wonderful January discounts. Now that’s something to look forward to. Until then, mine’s a Snowball.
Here are our picks
The Allotment Vegan Restaurant, Lloyd’s house, 18-22 Lloyd St, Manchester, M2 5WA - Visit now
The Allotment is a vegan restaurant, but it’s not trying to replicate or even replace non-vegan dishes. It takes a wide range of vegan produce and turns it into something quite unique and as a result, some of the dishes are like nothing you’ve seen before. Stockport’s loss is very much Manchester’s grain and yes we did mean to write grain.
Marco Pierre White’s English Chophouse, 2 Canal St, Manchester, M1 3HE - Visit now
The latest restaurant from the legendary Marco Pierre White offers great artistry in British cooking, with a French flair and combination of amazing flavours. And yes, the exquisite food more than justifies the price tag.
Tattu, Gartside Street, 3 Hardman Square, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 3EB - Visit now
A new menu at Tattu, Spinningfields’ leading restaurant (sorry 20 Stories, maybe next year), is always a cause for celebration. They’ve been reliably putting out some of the most elaborate and intricate – but above all delicious – dishes for years, and this winter sees some of their chefs most inventive creations yet.
Peaberry Coffee House & Kitchen Albert Dock, Albert Dock, Units 1/2a The Colonnades, Liverpool, L3 4AA - Visit now
Liverpool’s Albert Dock has a reputation as something of a tourist haunt, but with the likes of Peaberry, things are certainly changing. Fiercely independent, without being too niche or too obvious, it’s a shining example of an exciting forward-thinking eatery.
Albert’s Restaurant & Bar, 120-122 Barlow Moor Rd, Manchester, M20 2PU - Visit now
Albert’s is the right kind of small chain, the kind of place that you know you’ll always enjoy a similarly high-level experience, but at the same time it doesn’t feel like the personality has been emptied out to the gods of a regimented handbook.
Evuna Deansgate, 277-279 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 4EW - Visit now
Time is generally one of the truest tests of a restaurant’s calibre. It takes both quality output and a local touch to not just exist, but thrive. At tapas restaurant Evuna – who’ve recently celebrated 15 years of operating – that’s exactly what’s on offer.
PLY, 26 Lever Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 1DW - Visit now
The waft of pizza and the soft music make PLY perhaps the most welcoming of all the current pizzerias in Manchester. A Christmas special, the Fairytale pizza features little roast potatoes and the probably controversial addition of raw sprouts. Admittedly this is not going to be for everyone but, come on, the concept is fun and actually adds a nice bitter note.
The third annual Liverpool Christmas Ice Festival is back and it’s better than ever. As well as a bunch of high-octane funfair rides and ice-based events for all you thrill-seekers, there’s a range of excellent pop-up food and drink stalls. Our favourite? The Sausage Swing Grill with its endless range of high-quality bratwurst dishes. Warm yourself up this Christmas, grab a tray of their mouth-watering currywurst.
We are lucky to be spoilt for choice when it comes to fresh, delicious and independent food choices in the centre of Manchester. Nowhere is this presence felt more than in the Northern Quarter. Join John Ryan on this taster walk as you eat your way through the back streets learning about the local history and culture as you go.
Satisfy your hunger for knowledge as well as lunch with Scranchester’s food tours of the city centre. You may discover a new favourite hidden gem or learn a bit more about the cultural or historical significance of the food you eat all the time.
Add a more personal twist to a meal out by cooking your own three course restaurant standard meal from scratch. Food Sorcery’s cooking together evenings are all about making cookery fun and sociable whilst still producing high quality dishes.
Join Craft Beer Tour Manchester for a journey through some of the cities best local breweries and artisanal beer serving bars. Discover the personality of Manchester’s beer through a diverse range of pints.
‘Come As You Are’ and count down to 2019 in style with a whole host of familiar faces and fantastic folk at The Refuge, Manchester.
Leeds International Festival, the UK’s leading metropolitan festival of new ideas and innovation, is back for its second year, this time featuring more than 50 events and 40 speakers over 15 days.
Celebrate the brilliance of 20th century design, fashion, vehicles and entertainment at this award-winning festival set around Morecambe’s famous art deco Midland Hotel.