A few weeks ago, I wrote about how Manchester, whilst clearly lovely, didn't really do SUN with any great aplomb - particularly if that sun is of the very hot variety. Well, I take it all back. Last Thursday was hot, sticky and sultry, and this is how a gloriously sunny Manchester made the best of the weather:
First stop, Birra Moretti's Gran Tour at the Old Granada Studios. There's still just about time to snap up tickets to this small but perfectly formed event, which has set up residence in the Old Granada Studios until tomorrow (Sunday) and offers a celebration of authentic Italian food via a food-based tour of regions such as Naples, Lombardy, Puglia and Sicily. I am wildly suspicious of anything marked "authentic" and am happy to acknowledge that Birra Moretti would not be everybody's first choice of beer (although I rather like it), but the streetfood traders for this event do genuinely seem to have been selected with great care, and each was offering excellent (and interesting) food. I very much enjoyed the arancini (risotto balls) from the Arancini Bros., the deep-fried meatball calzone from Cheeky Italian, the ricotta and sour cherry gelato from Gelupo, the gnocchi with slow-braised pork shoulder from Pasta e Basta, and last but not least, the torta fritta with Guanciale (a sort of savoury doughnut puff topped with cured meat) from the magnificently moustached Gurmetti. I didn't have time to try the ravioli from Cooking Cooks or the Porchetta from Forza Win, and was cruelly denied Pizza Pilgrims by an untimely oven fire, so it is your DUTY to go along tomorrow and try them for me. £10 gets you a beer and two dishes.
Next up, the Appleton Rum Bus on Great Northern Square. This seems to me like a fine idea - it's a bus, and it's full of rum, specifically rum-based cocktails designed by those nice people at West Didsbury's Violet Hour, and it's decided to park up in Great Northern Square for the next month. The bus itself seats 16, but obviously everybody at Thursday's launch was sitting outside - the place has a nice atmosphere even if the bar is a little high and the menu a little limited. I tried a Jamaican Mule, a Rum Punch and a Mai Tai (the one I didn't try, the Rum & Raisin Dream, is cream-based, and sounded a bit rich for me) - these are priced between £6 and £7 but come in generous cups and appear to my untrained eye to be on the strong side. Perhaps best not have three next time - I barely resisted the urge to keep shouting "PEEP PEEP! ALL ABOARD!" as it was.
Final destination, Evuna. Obviously I wasn't, ahem, at all hungry after all the food I'd put away earlier, but it seemed wrong not to take advantage of the balmy climes and sit outside a little longer, particularly as there was a table free outside Evuna on Deansgate, beckoning us enticingly. Evuna has always been reliable but seems to have upped its game a little - the four dishes we tried were all utterly (and in the case of the Iberico Black foot pig and the guest tapas of pork chop with broad bean sauce, breathtakingly) exemplary. No pictures (dark; tired; greedy), but I really need to go back and have a proper explore of the Evuna menu very soon.
Obviously, since then we have had thunder, lightning and apocalytic, end-of-days weather - but now the sun is peeping back out and quite frankly I'm ready to do it all again...