Thursday 14 April 2016

Bringing Michelin Star Chefs to Manchester.

Manchester famously doesn't currently have a Michelin star restaurant. Some people think that this doesn't really matter but I feel it would certainly help if we would like to think of ourselves as a world class city for dining. (And I do).

It got me thinking though, why not ask some of the chefs that I've occasionally met on my trips to come and cook for us here in the rainy city?
The only problem was that I had no idea of how to actually achieve this and no venue.
As most of the restaurants I visit are in Spain, I asked Ibérica, thinking that this could be a perfect fit but that they probably wouldn't agree to it. To my surprise they thought it was a great idea.
They had actually already invited some of the big names of Spanish and worldwide gastronomy to their sites in London. Luminaries such as Joan Roca, Dabiz Muñoz, Albert Adrià and Andoni Luis Aduriz have all at some point cooked at various Ibérica restaurants over the last few years.
Now it's Manchester's turn and I think the time is right.
The chefs I'd initially contacted over in Spain were all keen to come over here too but this was going to take some serious organising.
Understandably Ibérica needed to make a few tweaks to the original idea. Their restaurant is all about tapas. So the menu would need to reflect this more casual approach of the venue. 
Nacho Manzano their executive chef will also collaborating dishes with the guest chefs too. He's a holder of two Michelin stars at Casa Marcial and one for La Salgar as well as Gloria Casa de Comidas and the more tapas style of Ibérica. We settled on two one off events to begin with for 2016. 

Quique Dacosta has a three Michelin star restaurant in Dénia as well as one star at El Poblet, along with the more casual Vuelve Carolina and MercatBar in Valencia. He is one of the few heavyweights of top end Spanish dining. 
His eponymous restaurant has been named the 39th best in the world.

So I am pleased to announce that Quique Dacosta will be coming to Ibérica in Manchester and he'll be cooking with Nacho Manzano on Tuesday 17th May at 7pm.
The 4 Hands Menu by Quique & Nacho will be priced at £60 including wine & service charge.
I think this is a pretty amazing price for such an event, these two chefs have seven Michelin stars between them. The chefs are still working on the menu and I will update you with this shortly.
You can book the 4 Hands Menu by Quique & Nacho by emailing or calling 0207 636 8650.
Here are some of the dishes you will see on the night.
Ashes rice (from Quique Dacosta's Michelin star restaurant El Poblet).
Crushed Tomatoes (from Quique Dacosta's 3 Michelin star restaurant, Quique Dacosta).
Soft Shell Crab (from Nacho Manzano). 
Hake salad with hollandaise sauce and dried eggs (from Nacho Manzano). 
Lemon fish (from Quique Dacosta's casual restaurant Vuelve Carolina).
If these nights are a success we could well see more in the future so I'd recommend getting a reservation earlier rather than later as space is limited. I anticipate that they will likely sell out quickly.
THIS EVENT HAS NOW SOLD OUT within days of the announcement, proving perhaps that Manchester is hungry for this style of dining.

I must thank the whole team at Ibérica for their tireless work in organising these events. 
Photos courtesy of Quique Dacosta & Nacho Manzano.
We will announce the second confirmed event and chefs soon.

Wednesday 6 April 2016

World's Best Pizzas.

Several months ago I was asked to contribute to the newly published Where to Eat Pizza, a world pizza guide book as a regional 'advisor'.
In any case I didn't really need to do that much. Author Daniel Young already knew how good Honest Crust are and Rudy's wasn't yet open at that time. Thankfully they both deservedly made the final deadline of the book, the only two places from the North West. The book also gave me the excuse to go and re-visit both of these fine pizzerias as if I needed it.
Honest Crust housed in the ever popular Altrincham Market is always mad busy whenever you go, day or night. This market serves as a blueprint for how to do things properly, using quality independent traders over bland and boring chains. I'm looking forward to seeing similar in Manchester City centre hopefully. I usually go for the "Atomica"(£10) as I did on this occasion. For me the hot and spicy n'duja works so perfectly with the molten cheese.
As I came out of the market, a Spanish lady asking for directions wanted to know the place where people used to be 'whipped and flogged' in the old market. I couldn't help with that, it's not my specialism but I did direct her to where she could get some of the best pizza in the UK.
Rudy's Pizza.
One thing of the things that really pisses me off is when lazy restaurants do things without love and on the cheap using crap produce. There are one or two pizza places like that near to me. The slightly irritating thing is that they're busy all the time too. I'm ever optimistic that things are getting better and people are getting more discerning. Thank god there are proper good places like Rudy's about. Another great success story in the up and coming area of Ancoats, it's really lovely to see these guys are always busy and quite right too. Jim is a pizza obsessive and it shows, these really are the real deal. Below the Calabrese (with n'duja, £7.80) and the Lardo ('white' pizza with egg, £8.50).
Buy Where to Eat Pizza here.

Rudy's Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato