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An intimate new grill restaurant is coming to Freight Island this spring

Carnival will offer a tasting menu in an intimate setting behind a curtain with seating for just 10 to 12 people

Food market Escape to Freight Island will soon see a new selection of traders, featuring local favourites as well as national food heroes.

One which is guaranteed to get people talking is Carnival, a new collaboration concept with Richard Turner.

Richard is co-founder of some of the best grill restaurants in the country including Hawksmoor, Pitt Cue Co, Blacklock and Meatopia Festival.

Carnival will be taking over the grill of what previously was Baratxuri this spring – and we had a sneak preview of what to expect.

The new indoor restaurant will offer a ‘Front Row Seat’ tasting menu, in an intimate setting with bar seating for just 10 to 12 people surrounding the grill.

Partitioned off by a curtain, it will provide an intimate space to enjoy a series of dishes from chargrilled vegetables and fresh Cornish fish to huge sharing steaks.

But it’s not all about the grill.

We started our sample tasting menu with delicious crisp deep-fried churros dusted with aged Parmesan, and light golden juicy scampi.

The first of the new season asparagus was charred by the grill, the tender green spears topped with a hazelnut aillade, a simple French classic condiment adding a glorious rich nuttiness.

Chargrilled squid came with rocket and kosho, a lightly spiced Japanese chilli paste with floral notes, while a homemade crumpet was topped with soft, fatty and deeply flavourful braised pigs head meat formed into a patty.

Fresh meaty mackerel fillets were blackened by the grill, served with apple and tamarind, with a potato salad providing a burst of freshness.

Using the best meat from a single producer farm, Carnival’s meat menu highlights will include fine cuts of premium rib, porterhouse and T-bone steak.

We tried a selection, the vast sharing cuts beautifully seared on the grill and sliced to reveal a perfectly pink interior.

Juicy and intensely beefy, the steak is as good as you’d expect from Richard, coming from his own meat merchants Turner & George.

And the sides don’t disappoint, either.

The insides of baked potatoes have been scooped out and mashed with beef dripping before being stuffed back in the skins. Then they’ve been loaded with slow braised ox cheek and tail. It’s heavenly.

Even carrots get the grill treatment, expertly intensifying the flavour, while onions have been stuffed decadently with sausage.

Pudding, meanwhile, is a classic: rich, sweet sticky toffee pudding, made with love and care – and a hefty dollop of clotted cream.

It’s an accomplished menu, and gives a taster of what can be expected from the new venture.

If you just fancy a steak, you’ll be able to order that within Freight Island, too, though the bar seating will be reserved for the full tasting menu.

Carnival might be one of Manchester’s most intimate restaurants, but it’s destined to become a city favourite.

We can’t wait.

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