Tag Archives: Manchester

Kaleido Manchester

When we think of the combination of football and food I would imagine that the majority of us would conjure images of pies.

But stop right there……… this is definitely not another pie post.

Kaleido is perched atop the newly relocated National Football Museum on the 5th floor of the Urbis Building, with the attached cocktail bar nestling above on the 6th.

Kaleido has by no means generated the kind of fervent anticipation of other recent openings but the team of Executive Chef Paul Riley, General Manager Franco Caroleo and figurehead Frank Bordoni are keen to match the ambition of the museum beneath them.

So we thought we’d have a look.  We being The Hungry Mrs and me plus Mr B and his better half.

After being greeted on the ground floor and escorted via the lift to the 5th my initial thoughts were that the place looked good – a little bit 1980s – but good. All white leather and a feature wall reminiscent of one of those toys we all had as a kid………. you know that you looked into and twisted and…………. oh.  Decoration aside the name is a nod to the kaleidoscope of people who play, support or are involved in football.

I have to be honest and admit that at this point I was a little pessimistic. I am so much more at home in homely feeling restaurants so I began to feel that this may have been a case of style over substance or “all fur coat………” to pick  a more colourful expression.

However after a warm, if slightly nervous welcome from our waitress we got down to the business of deciding what to eat.  The first thing to grab our collective attention were the prices.  For a city centre restaurant sitting in a landmark building they seemed all too reasonable, again, creeping doubts.

I opted for the jellied ham hock terrine with (deconstructed)  piccalilli and sourdough while The Mrs went for the oak smoked salmon with gribiche and crispy capers. Both were beautifully presented and whilst I didn’t try the salmon, the terrine was delicious, the piccalilli lovely and tangy.

Mains were Hereford oxtail and kidney pudding with feather blade, cabbage and carrot puree for me and spring chicken with ravioli, truffle vinaigrette, baby leeks and smoked bacon for my better half.  Again there were no complaints about how well our eyes were being fed.  The pudding and it’s contents were delicious and moist, the small amount of kidney (a good thing in my opinion) just adding that lovely depth of flavour.  The feather blade fell apart, however was a little dry but when combined with the pudding gravy this was easily forgotten.  I didn’t sample the chicken but The Mrs commented that she’d have liked a stronger taste to the vinaigrette as the chicken, whilst wonderfully cooked came off a little bland.

Then came the desserts, caramel apple tart with tonka bean ice cream and a cheese board, both to share.

Gorgeous caramelized appley bits with a cool, smooth ice cream that had a hint of vanilla but also the faintest element of spice, perhaps cinnamon?  With regard to cheese, I’ll confess to being a bit of a luddite (more to come soon on this) but all were very tasty and set off beautifully by the quince jelly.

After dinner we also checked out the 6th floor bar, just, you know, because why not?  The Key West Cooler was a treat after a lovely meal.

So what of the overall impression of Kaleido? While there may not be the sea change that you may get in the images in that ubiquitous kids toy when it comes to the dishes on the menu, it is apparent that there is a dedication to create an experience.  Where, as each course is served, there are “Ooohs” and “Aaahs” from the assembled, reminiscent of a great fireworks display.  I think it is fair to say that this is no damp squib.  Vibrant but cool and with some fantastic views across our city this place is sure to go off like a rocket.

Football and food just got interesting.

THM

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SoLIta

According to our hosts for the evening “Solita” in Italian means “The only thing” and in Spanish “The lonely lady”.

For the last few weeks the Manchester food Twitterati has been twitching with the name of SoLIta.  Pictures of drool enducing dishes have appeared, disappeared, changed and reappeared.  The grapevine hissed with whispers “When does it open?” “How’d they do that?” Deep fried what now?”. It murmured with rumours “Manchesters first Inka” “There’ll be bacon jam” “Italy meets America meets Manchester”

Well thanks to Dom Sotgiu, the force behind this new venture inviting a few of us down for a sneaky preview, some of these quetions can start to be answered.

In a humble building in one of the oldest residential streets in Manchester is where you will find this place.  Just south (So) of what used to be well known as Little (L) Italy (Ita).

But judging books by covers is as we know, foolhardy at best.  While the groundfloor dining room and kitchen are in keeping with the scale of the exterior of the building the two upper floors house private dining areas for larger groups and the large, soundproofed basement bar expands the capacity even further.  This final aspect being a great addition for those who just perhaps fancy a superb cocktail.

So tour complete it was time to get stuck into that menu (link at bottom of page).  Pictures being worth a thousand words and all that I shall let them do the talking for a minute while I drool. Again.

So after wiping my chin I’ll continue.  The food all tasted amazing.  Personally I would prefer a rougher texture to the Chuck Steak Burger but I’m odd when it comes to textures, taste-wise though it was awesome, the inclusion of bone marrow just adding a lovely sweetness to hit against the smokey Inka cooked meat.

Ah, the Inka grill.  In case you haven’t heard of them, it is essentially an enclosed indoor barbecue, this one burning coconut husks to reach temperatures of around 500C

And?

Well, it gives up a fantastic smokey quality to anything it even looks at.  Add to this the fact that it allows for brilliantly pink in the middle steaks with a charred outer (see hanger steak) and yours truly is seriously wondering how essential the washing machine actually is.

Oh and yes.  Currently this is the only Inka grill in the city.

Now unfortunately I had to leave early so I did not get a chance to sample the much discussed deep fried coke or the similarly treated mac ‘n’ cheese.  This however is not a major problem, serving only to provide an excuse for a revisit – as if I needed one.

So while SoLIta may be the only thing in the city serving up Inka cooked food I somehow doubt that they will remain the lonely lady for very long.  I predict a whole host of new friends very soon

Cheers

THM

SoLIta
Turner Street
Manchester
01618395600

Menu


Three Wine Men – or – Tipsy at the Museum

“Wine is wonderful stuff.  But so many people are put off by the snobbery of it”
John Cleese

And who am I to argue with a Python?

It’s true though.  I enjoy drinking wine but I don’t get hung up on which wine it is.  I’m as happy drinking a chilled crisp white wine in the sun as I might be drinking a heavy red wine with a steak. And if the occasion calls for a bit of fizz a nice prosecco does the job for me.

I have never been that concerned with grape variety, geography or whether the vines grew on a south facing slope at an altitude above 1000ft, overlooking a village where the locals sang to the grapes each evening to ensure they were happy!

I appreciate that all these things make a difference (well all except the last perhaps), however they have not been something I have been conscious of while having a slurp.

So when I was fortunate enough to win a couple of tickets to Three Wine Men which clinked up at the Museum of Science  and Industry, I took along no preconceptions, no airs or graces and let’s be honest no in depth knowledge of the subject.

The Three Wine Men are Oz Clarke, Olly Smith and Tim Atkin and according to their website they:
“want to get everyone in the country tasting, experiencing and enjoying new wines and discovering different foods. Their events bring together wine and food retailers and producers to show you just how much fun your taste buds can have in a day”.

So with the sun shining off I went with Mr B, (the only person I could convice to begin drinking wine at 11am)  to see what I might learn from these three enthusiastic fellas.

What we found was a room full of people all eager to try some of the 250 wines on show, match them with food from various different outlets and possibly learn more about a product they thought they knew.  In essence what we found was a cracking way to spend 4 hours on a Saturday.

I have neither the capabilty or the space here to describe the wines we tasted (there were lots) however I will pick out some that caught my/our attention:

There was food to be had from Booths, Morrisons and ASDA.  Booths in particular showing off some really tasty offerings from Mr Trotter’s Pork Scratchings to a raspberry balsamic vinegar which had summer salad dressing written all over it.  There was experimentation with apples and cheese courtesy of The Wine & Spirit Education Trust.  And there were masterclasses to attend, the one we stopped by having been excellently presented by Andy Green (Wine Buyer for Booths) on the subject of food matching and how and why different combinations work.  Turns out I really like Sherry!!

But what of the Three Wine Men?

Tim Atkin talking sense

Well we caught glimpses of (TVs) Oz Clarke, running from table to table with a cohort of half a dozen people who appeared to be trapped in his enthusiastic whirlwind.  We managed to catch a couple of talks from Tim Atkin who was entertaining, engaging and enlightening.  I’ll come back to Tim shortly. A somehwhat reduced in bulk Olly Smith was kind enough to spend some time with us and introduced us to D Vine Wines, their enthusiasm matching Olly’s and their wine in a plastic bottle actually has some significant cost and environmental savings.  I’ll let the snobs work out if it’s a seller or not but I can see the attraction in carrying around wine in a bottle that won’t break and as Greg from D Vine said “Ten/fifteen years ago there are some people who wouldn’t have drunk wine from a screwtop bottle”.  Olly then went on to give us an insight and a couple of tips for the gewurztraminer grape, so thank you to him for that.The day was a blast. Fun, engaging and nobody made us pair of wine newbies feel in any way akward, therefore tickets have already been purchased for the return trip in December.But I will leave you with a point that Tim Atkin made, which was for me, the best point of the day.  That being this –  of all the wines in the room, regardless of opinion, of price, of whether you followed all the tasting hints and tips,  the best wine is the one you enjoyed the most.

For me that was a Brazilian White wine – the Alisios Pinot Grigio/Riesling 2011 from Bibendum Wines which think ggiven the weather I could have drunk all day long!!

Cheers

THM