Food and Drink Survey 2014: Around the World in Four Categories
Your votes in our Around the World categories for the Northwest – Indian Sub-continent, Asian, European and American – result in a whistle-stop tour of the world cuisine on your doorstep. And we don’t mean all those Just Eat takeaways in your wheelie bin
Imagine you’re a barge-owner serenely navigating the sinuous waterways of the Northwest. Suddenly, you find yourself craving, say, American cuisine, but making your way into open water and crossing the Atlantic seems dangerous, potentially life-threatening even, and just plain time-consuming. Then it hits you: it’s 2014 (you ask yourself why you’re still using a barge), and you can get any damn cuisine you like.
Let’s start with the Americana revivalists. There was a lot of love for Manchester's Luck, Lust, Liquor & Burn and their largely California-inflected menu, with the kind of delicious bastardisations of burritos and tacos that would make Mexican cantina cooks weep. The Dr. Frankenstein of the city's burger scene, SoLIta, edged in with their love of meat and all things mac'n'cheese. In Liverpool, Free State Kitchen won over your stomachs with their takes on East Coast cuisine – think chowder, Reuben sarnies and crabcakes. Happily for Me-hi-co, Pancho's Burritos in Manchester Arndale got plenty of shout-outs for more homely, authentic cooking that includes more dishes than their name suggests – and Liverpool's Lucha Libre proved they could still hold it down even with the move to Manchester.
When it came to voting for the Indian sub-continent, Rusholme’s Mughli proved popular with many besides rockstars and politicians (see above). Coriander, who have places in Chorlton and Withington, command a long-standing following hooked on their non-greasy Bengali cuisine with emphasis on the no-MSG, no-food-colourings policy. Northern Quarter fave, the canteen-style This & That, pleased plenty with its cheap, authentic curries. Mayur in Liverpool has garnered awards for its cooking and reaches beyond the usual fare, upgrading 'rare recipes handed down through generations to our master Chefs' according to their site. It seems Merseyside curryhouses have a thing about master chefs: case in point, Masterchef, which y'all voted as one of the better examples.
In our Asian category, Liverpool noob HOST covered all bases by offering pan-Asian delights from laksa to katsu. Yuzu, aka the only place in Manchester fit for Chloë Sevigny, got plenty of votes for its well-articulated Japanese dishes and some of the best sashimi in the city. Ning in the Northern Quarter has Norman Musa, the UK’s leading Malaysian chef, behind it – and more than a few mentions – while Etsu pleased Nipponophiles by remaining largely unrivalled as far as Japanese restaurants go in Liverpool. Finally, Red Chilli, who have locations in Manchester and beyond, won over voters with their Beijing and Sichuan cuisine.
While we would have liked to see a spread of European restaurants – y’know, places from Armenia to Switzerland – what actually happened was that you all voted for tapas joints. Well, Liverpool’s Lunya offers a bit more than just tapas, but Neon Jamon has it as their USP. In Manchester, Bar San Juan and El Rincon made the cut, with San Carlo’s Cicchetti flying a lone flag for their eponymous Italian small plates. Perhaps it’s a sign that eating lots of little things will never go out of fashion.