Cottonopolis is about a week away from opening, so we sent our big character, Mark Jorgensen, for a pre-launch snoop around and taster session to find out the craic.
Housed in a Grade II listed building on Newton Street, Cottonopolis is a new bar restaurant located in an ever-blossoming area formerly known as the drunken stagger between each end of the Northern Quarter.
“no frills, quality
food and drink
inspired by the
It is a passion project from husband and wife team Nick and Hayley, self-confessed old school Manchester ravers whose love and enthusiasm for the city is evident – even aside from the name and Manchester Bees emblazoned on the windows – with a welcoming, made-in-Manchester feel to the place the second you walk in.
The décor has been really nicely integrated with the already impressive space, which still bears the floorboard scars from its former life as a tailors, and the couple’s aim is to bring no frills, quality food and drink inspired by the city’s former merchant trade connections.
First up, drinks. The cocktail menu has been masterminded by ubiquitous booze expert Jamie Jones and among the range we tried, highlight for me was the NWA, which somehow looks like a bit like 2 Pac, with a clipped napkin resembling a Crip bandana and tastes like pineapple. (Bloods bandana variation may also be available upon request).
Veering away from the all-too-NQ bottled US beers in favour of a range of locally sourced European beers, the main attraction is Krusovice, which will arrive direct from the Czech Republic each week and 1900-odd pints worth pumped through the windows from the side road into the giant tanks above the bar.
It is also noting that they will also be selling bottles of sparkling sake. I never knew this was a thing, but having had a sample I suspect this may be the downfall of me. If at any point in the near future you see me staggering around on a traffic island singing UK garage classics into my shoe, it wasn’t me, it was likely the sparkling sake.
Onto the food. The menu has been crafted by Head Chef Joe Grant (Australasia, James Martin) and Sushi Chef Alastair Long (Australasia, Sakana) and is split into four categories; fire, steam, ice and oil.
Within each category there are a number of small dishes which will all be priced under £10.
From sashimi to dim sum to tempura prawns to lamb chops to steamed Taiwanese bao buns with pork belly- everything we tried both looked and tasted great.
Anyone who knows me will ratify that me eating any sort of seafood is as likely as Vladimir Putin attending an LGBT parade, but such was the environment and enthusiasm from the owners and staff at the open kitchen that I actually ate both sea bass and prawns.
Might have secretly liked them too. If you knew how militantly adverse I am to eating anything that swims, this would be a glowing review in itself.
Cottonopolis launches on November 13 and will be open seven days a week, 12-10pm with the bar until 1am on Friday’s and 2am Saturday’s.