Manchester’s highest cocktail bar, Cloud 23, has launched something called Drunch. Nope, not a villain from an 80s B-movie, Drunch is actually a meal that lies halfway between a snack and a dinner. It’s aimed at early evening drinkers and diners, either winding down after work or preparing for a night on the town.
There are two components to Drunch. The food – a choice between salad, taco or flatbread, with various toppings – and the drink, which is actually bottomless punch, from a choice of five types of booze. It’s priced fairly reasonably, at £35 per person, or £50 per person if you’re going for the Veuve Cliquot edition.
The food is fine, as it goes. The flatbread makes for a decent pizza-style option, fluffy, thick and satisfying to tear apart. We opt for chorizo and manchego cheese topping on one, but it seems oddly sparse when it comes to cheese. Plenty of nicely-charred cubes of chorizo make up for it somewhat, but there’s a whole lot of bread, and not quite enough manchego.
To this day we’re none the wiser about what happened with the curious case of the missing artichoke
The other topping we try consists of brie, charred apple, honey and dijon, onion, artichokes and oregano. Or so it claims. There’s a distinct lack of artichoke – or, more accurately, none at all – which disappoints my artichoke-loving companion (a weird choice of favourite vegetable, but life’s a rich tapestry). We ask our waiter about it, who vows to find out, and subsequently disappears, never to be seen again. Half an hour later, we try again with a new waiter, who also promises to find out, and – you guessed it – never returns. Amazed by the ability of artichoke to eradicate front of house, we try again, for a third and final time. And, well, to this day we’re none the wiser about what happened with the curious case of the missing artichoke.
As for the topping itself, it’s fine enough. The charred apple is a little odd but nothing too unpleasant. We also try the tacos but they’re made with a disappointing soft tortilla – is it even a taco if it doesn’t crunch? Not in my book. Though the tandoori sauce, goats cheese and coriander filling is hot to the tongue and pleasingly memorable.
But in truth, ‘Drunch’ isn’t so much about the food as it is the amazing views over the city, and the bottomless drinks. Our tip: go for the pink pornstar. It’s sweet, boozy, bright purple (as opposed to pink) and exceptionally easy to drink. The food is a side event to this, the main show. If you want to get merrily sozzled before your night on the town, while looking miles across said town, from 23 floors up, then look no further.