Escape to Freight Island has a new Sunday roast menu – What’s it like?

The urban street food and festival space is reinventing Sundays with speciality cocktails and a beast of a roast dinner

Manchester’s ‘inspiring urban landscape’, Escape to Freight Island, which has taken over part of Mayfield Depot, has been a real hit over the summer. People have been flocking to this huge events space to enjoy food from the cherry-picked range of exciting street food vendors and bars, and to enjoy the sunshine.

Now, they have introduced a new Sunday Roast menu up on the indoor terrace – just in time to get cosy for the autumn season. It comes courtesy of Carnival, one of the latest concepts to join the visionary food market earlier this year. It’s a high-quality, meat-lead collaboration between critically acclaimed chefs Richard Turner (ex-Hawksmoor) and Sam Grainger (Madre, Belzan and the Manchester Treetops Hotel when it opens next year). ETFI’s resident indie bar The Jane Eyre has also come up with an accompanying range of pre and after dinner specialty cocktails.

The intimate terrace space inside Escape to Freight Island Carnival now offers a friendly table service element, unlike the order-via-the-app system present throughout the rest of the venue.

Carnival’s new Sunday Roast is also an accessibly priced £25 for two courses for or three courses for £29. We couldn’t decide what to have until we’d ordered one of The Jane Eyre’s special Bloody Mary’s – they know what people want on a Sunday afternoon.

They’ve perfected the classic option (£9) for Bloody Mary purists and have also introduced a couple of brilliant variations. Horseradish Bloody Mary (£10) isn’t for the faint hearted thanks to the double power-packed due of horseradish infused vodka and a hearty slug of Tabasco. It was so invigorating doctors should start prescribing it. Their beetroot Bloody Mary (£10) wasn’t the lurid purple health tonic I was expecting with a clear beetroot spirit replacing the vodka, on top of red wine, tomato juice, celery bitters and lemon.

The weekly menu is printed on paper because it’s subject to changes depending on the availability of ingredients. There are a couple of fancy snacks (both £5) should you need them (Batard sourdough with caramelised cauliflower butter, or short rib nuggets, Ogleshield cheese and kimchi ketchup) although portions are pretty generous, so unlikely.

I thought I might pace myself with a light salad, but these Carnival guys are unashamed feeders. The celery and Beenleigh Blue cheese Waldorf Salad (£7) was packed high with candied walnuts and strips of fresh apple. If you like a hunk of something meaty to keep you going before your meaty main, confit duck leg (£7.50) is served straight up no messing with red cabbage ketchup. (We’ve tried Carnival’s other starter – chilli and aged Cheddar churros with pickle dip – £7, before. They’re great.)

Onto the star of the Sunday show. You can push the boat out if you want with ‘The Beast’ – chargrilled 1kg Porterhouse Steak and cauliflower cheese, which serves two (£70 or a surcharge applies). Or, you can choose between two roasts; slow roast 34 day aged rump of beef (served pink) or roasted porchetta stuffed with peach, sage and pancetta.

Vegetarian? No worries, they also offer a cheese and onion pie made with Mrs Kirkham’s. I would have chosen that. but it meant risking an afternoon carbohydrate coma. All the mains come served with an orange glazed carrot, shredded summer greens, roast potatoes (notoriously difficult for chefs to make in bulk but these weren’t bad), a giant Yorkshire Pudding and gravy. Not generic meat juice gravy either – both pork and the beef were partnered with a distinctly matching one.

Heaven forbid any customers should leave hungry, they also offer a range of additional sides including cauliflower cheese topped with herb crumb, caramelised onions and Tunworth cheese (£9); chargrilled Tenderstem broccoli with garlic butter (£7); and Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheese mashed potato (£6).

An as watertight decree that all bellies have every corner filled, they’ve chucked in a couple of dessert options (both £6) – sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream and miso toffee Sauce, or grilled english strawberries with elderflower and honey mascarpone.

The Jane Eyre have matched this with a super smooth hazelnut martini (£9) or a ‘Roni and the Eyre’ concoction with gin, Aperol, Sweet Vermouth and Amaro (£11). As you’d expect, they also offer an accessible and carefully chosen list of wines – we recommend their #Bio Chianti as the perfect lubricant for a Sunday roast.

Escape to Freight Island is proving itself to be an excellent all weather, all week venue for the city.

To book a table at Escape to Freight Island, from Sunday Roast to general bookings, click HERE


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