Then The Skinny Food and Drink Survey 2014 needs you
Ah, Food. The Universal Language. Everyone remember June’s G8 summit where Ireland communicated entirely in colcannon and the French fulminated in foie gras? Whole speeches were composed of different types of wursts and multipacks of Walkers crisps. Lough Erne Resort, Fermanagh, had never seen the like of it. You can only imagine the mess.
Except that didn’t happen, did it? No, this is just us riffing on a half-baked (woah-hoh!) idea to introduce our annual Food and Drink Survey, where, from now until end November, we ask YOU for YOUR favourite hangouts or best-kept secrets of either a culinary or lubricating nature (or both) in the Northwest. Early December, we’ll take a well-needed break to sift through the votes (vote here!) and then, in our January 2014 issue, publish – and playfully interpret – the results.
So what makes our survey so great? Categories. That’s right. Categories. As an example of what to expect, we asked some local notables to answer a selection of them for you, with varying degrees of sincerity.
Dulcimer, Manchester (Andy Proudfoot, Dutch Uncles): “We've recently added a bit of routine into our debauched and decadent rock'n'roll lives. The Inn-Quizition pub quiz is a welcome break from just talking to each other. Top rounds: Geography and British Prime Ministers.”
The Ship & Mitre, Liverpool (Julian Shepherd, DJ): “The selection of ales is mindboggling. Last time I was in it was so hot I nearly became a boil-in-the-bag ready meal for one. So I drank some more to get over it.”
The Temple of Convenience, Manchester (Jozef K, DJ): “The draft pints are always class and the jukebox is mega too. It's safe to say that The Temple eats soulless chain pubs for breakfast then has 10 pints of Krombacher from its own pump after it. For me it’s hands down the best boozer of all time.”
BEST LOCAL BREWERY?
TicketyBrew (Pasta Paul, DJ): “A newcomer to the scene, they make two fantastic ales. It's all hand made and hand labelled too. They've just started selling it on draft in a few places, including Kosmonaut (Manchester).”
Bold Street Coffee, Liverpool (Andrew Ellis, Samizdat promotions and DJ): “The coffee is exceptional, they have possibly the world's greatest bacon sandwich and they play a lot of ESG. Also of note are their ventures into live music: Stan the renowned Liverpool harpist plays in the shop every Wednesday.”
Takk, Manchester (Steven McInerney, Embers): “Admittedly I only wondered in because of the Sigur Rós-related name, but it's a lovely little place. All quaint and charming, desks adorned with graffiti... probably stolen from some local school but they introduced me to Portishead so I'll forgive them.”
“The best new place of 2013 is probably Korova. I haven't been yet but I reckon it's gonna be the new Korova.” (Jon Davies, Deep Hedonia promotions)
BEST FOOD OR DRINK SHOP?
“You can have all the gourmet food shops in the world, but there is only one Asda. Literally.” (Jon Davies)
BEST PLACE... WHEN HUNGOVER?
Koffee Pot, Manchester (Steven McInerney): “I tend to find my band's dark and dank rehearsal room below Sunshine Studios tends to do the job, but most people don't have a key to there so I'd probably go with Koffee Pot. They provide a perfectly hearty and sufficiently greasy wake up.”
“Unashamedly Dominos.co.uk” (Andrew Ellis)
BEST PLACE... FOR A FIRST DATE?
Pinkies Diner, Afflecks, Manchester (Tom Ragsdale, Ghosting Season): “They do a milkshake challenge, which I tried and failed, but if you can succeed you're sure to pull.”
Drop the Dumbells, Liverpool (George Maund): “You can do literally whatever you like in there, e.g. a spinny kickflip on a snowboard, and people will applaud you.”
BEST PLACE... WHEN YOU'RE IN A RUSH?
Mr Chilli, Liverpool (Julian Shepherd): “A quick and efficient service bringing what I believe is the most authentic Sichuan cuisine there is to be had in the city. I'm in regularly and am always excited by the particularly extreme menu, after the initial anxiety attack – chilli frogs legs anyone?”
Hot Chillis, Liverpool (Garvan Cosgrove, Clang Boom Steam): “For the best chicken kebab (at 3am) and proprietor with the best memory in Liverpool. He can recall everyone I've ever been in there with. Seriously, thats about six years' worth of deviants and drunks.”
AROUND THE WORLD: THE AMERICAS
“Forget all the hype about these places that you queue up for two hours just to get a table to be treated like shit. The best burger is at The Molly House in the Village (Manchester). It's a great place, too. Almost feels like you're on set for a BBC Victorian period drama in there.” (Pasta Paul)
AROUND THE WORLD: ASIA
Umami, Manchester (Wesley Killerbee, Now Wave): “I'M OBSESSED WITH THAT PLACE IT'S SO CHEAP AND TASTY. MY NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION LAST YEAR WAS TO GO TO UMAMI 52 TIMES.”
Fuzion, Fallowfield, Manchester (Steven McInerney): “Easy. They do strawberry lemonade and it's delightful. I'd argue that when combined with their spicy prawn crackers and a Thai red curry it basically equates to the perfect meal.”
Yuet Ben, Liverpool (Andrew Ellis): “Often overlooked due to hiding just out of sight from the Chinatown strip of Chinese restaurants. Run by the same family for as long as anyone can remember, this is the jewel in the crown of Liverpool's Asian food selection. You'll be greeted by the owner, Terry, who knows all the regulars well and once you've been once you'll inevitably join the regulars crowd. Great, fresh food, no bright orange sauces, no pre-packaged pancakes.”
AROUND THE WORLD: INDIAN SUB-CONTINENT
“THIS N THAT IN THE N.Q. (Manchester). EASY EATING. GOOD LUNCH TIME TACKLE.” (Wes)
AROUND THE WORLD: EUROPE
“The Spanish guys who come into my work cook up a paella that makes me feel like I'm on holiday.” (George Maund)
So yeah. Basically, this is a chance for you to have your say. Perhaps you’re fed up with the hegemony of a certain Americanised form of sandwich and want to big up your local curryhouse instead? Maybe you think Liverpool’s brewers have got it locked down, or that Manchester is the beating heart of the ale scene? Is there a street-food star you want to champion? There's room for all opinions, all sides of the debate. But y'know, we're walking contradictions. We like to think of ourselves as gourmands but you'll still see us down Chicken Cottage at 3am.