• Preview: Higher Ground at Ducie Street Warehouse

Preview: Higher Ground at Ducie Street Warehouse

23 September 2020 by Neil Sowerby

EVEN in these Covid-safety conscious times there is such a thing as a hot ticket. The peripatetic Higher Ground team have sold out all three of their £100  head supper clubs (Sept 24-26) at Moda’s penthouse suites, Manchester’s highest dining venue, towering over Angel Meadows.

That is one of the flagship events to have survived the umbrella postponement of Manchester Food and Drink Festival and marks the return of Higher Ground duo Joseph Otway and Richard Cossins after their huge pop-up success at Kampus pre-pandemic. 

There’s obviously an appetite in the city for their food and drink offering – honed in some of the globe’s most cutting edge establishments. Hence their residency throughout October at the Ducie Street Warehouse, formerly known as Cultureplex in the restaurant space formerly known as/occupied by Bistrotheque. Confusing? Still the upper floors of this awesome building next to Piccadilly Station still houses the Native Aparthotel.

Each Friday and Saturday the dining room will host a five course pop-up dinner cooked by Otway (below), former head chef at Stockport’s Where The Light Gets In and once of Relae in Copenhagen, a seminal Nordic kitchen, this December due to close after a decade. Front of house once again will be Cossins, who ran Fera at Claridges and met Otway at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in upstate New York. The farm to table ethos of the latter informs all the duo do.

A preview dinner was all about earthy, seasonal provenance with veg the star. ‘Terry in Ormskirk’ grew the leeks (main image), blanched and coated in an oyster emulsion, shot through with shards of perilla, a piquant Korean leaf, that started our meal. Beetroot next, supplied by a mysterious, never-to-be encountered fellow called Dennis, according to Richard. The dressing was made from a salted blueberry compote which tangoed well with a sharp goat curd.


Highlight of any visit to Michelin two star Moor Hall is their elevation of the humble carrot from their garden into a star culinary turn. Joseph roasts his with a sauce made from sea buckthorn (a Michelin must-have) and scatters the plate with rye crumbs.

Platt Field Market Garden provides the tomatoes for a paired dish, also featuring Brighton charcuterie Curing Rebels’ ‘Do-Ya’, their take on spicy, spreadable nduja, which was sourced for their Kampus gig, as we recall.

Our main is a substantial plate of chicken thigh with sweetcorn, pureed and charred, and swiss chard from famed Suffolk organic specialists Foskett. Alongside, brassicas and chestnut mushrooms for their sauce hail from nearer home, Platt Fields again.

As at Kampus, the rogue ‘signature’ rejoinder to all this (gorgeous) veg is the Oxtail Madrasty. What’s not to like about slow braised shredded beef inside a buttery pasty parcel, served on a heady Madras gravy? A delight.

Ducie Street Warehouse, Ground Floor, Ducie Street, Manchester, M1 2TP. 0161 713 3130. Each Friday and Saturday throughout October there will be 40 tickets at £45 a head available for each five-course dinner (with an optional £25 matching wine flight – of the natural persuasion). The maximum table size is six guests, with pre-payment for the food menu required when booking. To secure your table, click here. Follow @highergroundmcr on Instagram and @DucieStMCR on Twitter.