We took a sneak peek at Annies, the new restaurant opened by Corrie star Jennie McAlpine which opens its doors to the public this week.
“…like your nan’s front room…”
Just off St Anne’s Square, hence the name, the flame-haired star who play Fizz in the classic soap, told us she wants it to be ‘like your nan’s front room’.
The idea is that it is an antidote to the glitz and bling of other venues and we thought it was like a cross between Sam’s Chop House and Betty’s, the fab quaint tea-house in Yorkshire.
The menu looks scrumptious, with classic British dishes and the nibbles we tasted were fantastic but we will be going back to do a proper review next week.
Jennie has set the restaurant up with partner Chris Farr and said: “We’re really excited to finally be opening Annies to the public. Chris and I have been working on this project for over a year now, from finding the right space to working on the refurbishment and planning the menus and overall look and feel of the restaurant.”
With a classic, cosy British feel, wooden paneling, low lights and autumn tones, the interior is designed to feel instantly relaxing, much like visiting an old friend. And we felt right at home, especially Ginger who loves meeting other redheads.
The Annies menu offers classic, homely dishes featuring locally sourced ingredients. Executive Chef Richard Moore has presided over kitchens across the North West and has a very clear remit in mind.
He commented: “Simply put we want to serve the sort of food people want to eat. Traditional and delicious English dishes such as hotpot & slow braised lamb shank, perfectly prepared without any pretense.”
Starters include Bury Black Pudding Spring Rolls, Potted Ham Hock and Seared Scallops. For main course, there’s a selection of pies, including Three Cheese & Onion, Cabbage Patch Pie, Steak & Ale and Fish. From the Annies Classics menu, options include Salmon & Smoked Haddock Fishcakes and Fish, Chips & Mushy Peas. There’s also an a la carte menu, which features Pan Fried Loin of Cod, Fillet of Sea bass and Loin Pork Chop.
Annies also has a private dining room that allows up to 20 guests to dine in comfort with access to the VIP bar. It will also be available to hire throughout the day for functions or business meetings.
For lunchtimes, there’s a two or three course set menu, as well as a light bites option, featuring Welsh Rarebit, Crispy Fried Squid with Garlic Mayonnaise and Homemade Sausage Rolls with a Sweet Tomato Relish.
Afternoon Tea, Champagne Tea and Traditional Cream tea is also served daily.
“I Love Manchester! I live in Manchester, I work in Manchester and now Annies is in Manchester!”
We grabbed five minutes with Jennie: “Chris and I have been together a long time. His background is in restaurants, so since we’ve been together we’ve talked about it (a restaurant together). A couple of years ago we decided to do it properly – we found the right place. Even before it’s opened it’s become Annies!
Annies is just off St Anne’s Square, down the side of Starbucks. Jennie continued: “I Love Manchester! I live in Manchester, I work in Manchester and now Annies is in Manchester!
“St Anne’s Square is such an iconic/historic part of Manchester that everyone knows of and will always be here. The Royal Exchange Theatre (on St Anne’s Square) is a connection to myself, being an actress.
“Manchester has some amazing places. You could be anywhere when you’re in here (Annies) when you open those doors. It’s quite small and unassuming from the front, then you come through and you’re in Annies with that homely vibe.”
Jennie gives her restaurant a one liner: “It’s essentially my love of theatre and Chris’ love for restaurants that comes together. Traditional, classic, British style and dishes which Grandma used to make with a theatrical twist.”
So, what’s her favourite dish? “It’s difficult to pick my favourite thing from the menu but I can confirm the Annies hot pot is pretty amazing!”
Annies opens today, Friday 7 December.
For more information and opening times visit anniesmanchester.co.uk