Richard and James sat down (with at least one bottle of red) to answer our questions in the form of a heated discussion on their favourite spots to wine, dine and experience exceptional hospitality in Manchester.
My favourite place to eat out in Manchester is…
RB: Now that’s a tricky one with so many new places opening every week its hard to have tried them all.
JT: Its even worse to have a favourite, what mood are we in? Are we going casual? Are we spoiling ourselves?
RB: We are always spoiling ourselves, sweetie. I know where I would pick. It has to be Adam Reid at the French, what a meal that was. First class cooking in a seriously epic dining room sat at his chef’s table. Epic. But it is a special occasion place. I don’t think I could go regularly.
JT: OK, well you didn’t invite me to that dinner, so I will choose a place we go to a little more regularly – Hawksmoor. Now this is a place that’s suitable for any occasion, great to have a casual full fat old-fashioned and a bite in the bar, a ‘meat’ing over a delicious steak in the dining room or perfect for date night, and if you’re really lucky you can get a great deal on the wine list.
RB: Who are you taking on a date? Like what you did with meat-ing though.
RB: Now that’s an easy one. It has to the pig’s head sausage roll from the one and only Gary Ushers new place, Karla, on King Street. We sat at the bar, enjoying a few nibbles and a glass of wine, but the stand-out dish was definitely that sausage roll.
JT: Oh yes, another jaunt I was not invited on!
RB: Ah yes, oops, sorry. Best of all he cooked one off for me even though the menu was not on. The guy is a legend.
JT: I would go for the Cochinillo (above) I had at Lunya. There’s the real way to enjoy pig, stuffed and roasted from its head to tail, not just a poncy sausage roll!
RB: Yes, I saw those pictures. It did look delicious, great for sharing. Surprised you managed it all to yoursel.
JT: I shared. Heather had some too and Matilda.
My favourite dining room in Manchester is…
JT: Nice question, but we are back to one dependent on the mood. However, I love the way our new neighbours, Dishoom, evokes the feeling of leaving rainy Manchester and stepping into Bombay with its authentic interpretation of the Irani cafes. The food is also always delicious, especially the little prawns with the green sauce (above).
RB: Oh, the green sauce. Love that dish and you are right, it’s a beautiful space. Love the team, too, they are just lovely people. Well, I loved Mana’s dining room. It’s like being in a foodie theatre where as the audience you get the pleasure of watching these artists create a masterpiece, and they serve it to you too. The simplicity and clean design are perfect to compliment the menu.
JT: At least you invited me to that meal and what a meal it was – 15 courses of interesting, experimental cooking and a well-designed space. Rich, I have to agree for once it was delightful.
My favourite lunch spot in Manchester is…
JT: When was the last time we got out for lunch?
JT: What about our trip to Elnecot in Ancoats. That was pretty special. So many great dishes from Michael and his team and really reasonable prices for lunch a great location and some brilliant beers on draught – what more could you possibly want for a cheeky lunchtime treat?
RB: He’s a great guy and it’s a perfect casual environment to enjoy any time of the day but lunch was seriously delicious, I could eat those green eggs and ham right now.
JT: Yes we need to go out for lunch more.
RB: We do and I have the place we should head for – the awesome street food traders at the Arndale market. Holy Crab, Blue Caribou Poutine, Mac Daddies, Wholesome Junkie the list goes on. These guys started at the same time as us in the street food game and it’s great to see so many of them smashing it and getting permanent homes. The food is authentic and delicious, great value for money and all independent.
JT: The lobster roll from Holy Crab, yes chef!
RB: Easy one, and I nearly did this when we were in The Kitchens competition with the Hip Hop Chip Shop (now open with an incredible restaurant in Ancoats). It has to be their Halloumi Wrap.
JT: I remember you were obsessed. I mean seriously Rich, you know there is no meat in it? But you’re right they were the best neighbours ever, daily swaps of our Bangers and Bacon’s meaty delights for delicious battered goodness. Possibly the nicest hospitality trio in the world.
RB: Oi, what about us? You, Heather and I make a lovely trio, too!
JT: You’re making it weird again Rich. Well you know what I’m going to say. It has to be my signature dish inspired by Fergus Henderson, the devilled kidneys. Perfect for breakfast, lunch and supper. Is there anything more delightful? I think not.
RB: That’s an offaly strong statement to make, Mr Taylor (James is unimpressed with Richards offal pun). Well that’s all the questions, that was fun, but I’m really hungry now.
JT: Quick Crazy Pedros then?
Interview ends with the boys out the door in search of pizza after the end of a busy service and a little too much wine.
Beastro is the place where you'll find Richard Brown and James Taylor (the bearded one), working in perfect harmony. Located in Spinningfields, Leftbank, it offers a real farm to fork ethos through varied lunch and brunch menus. Handmade sausages and bacon are a staple, but expect surprisingly inventive vegetarian and vegan dishes from the boys behind the Beast.
Passionate about nose to tail dining they are running a series of #Nose-To-Tail tasting events, with the next one #Beef on the Thursday, May 30. James Taylor has created an epic seven course menu and Richard has matched it with some interesting wines from Boutinot. The pair plus James’s wife Heather are shortly set to re-launch a pub in Royton, The Bulls Head Heyside. Full details are here.