This review should really be called ‘Ginger Ninja vs Food’ because I’ve seen him pack in a mean meal or two but I don’t think I’ve quite seen him put so much in his mouth in one sitting.
Southern Eleven has been around for about a year, just off Hardman Square in Spinningfields and is the older bro of Neighbourhood, run and directed by the same people.
“…named after the 11 Southern states of USA and specialises in (as you would expect) American cuisine…”
It’s named after the 11 Southern states of USA and specialises in (as you would expect) American cuisine, well really, it seems to specialise in a lot of meat and certainly this place has huge man appeal. In fact if you know any huge men, send them here.
We took Leggy who knows a bit about this sort of cooking and had a hankering to try this place out (see even remembering this meal makes me want to sing like Dolly and ride a bucking bronco).
You’d think it would be done up like a diner or a ranch, but no this place avoids all such gimmicks and instead is a chic, muted mocha and cream oasis with dazzling lighting, booths for larger parties, a bar and pleasant outside area for smokers.
It’s bustling with brisk, expert service, especially Stuart who looked after us for the evening and knew the menu inside out.
Prices put this restaurant in the Nandos/Pizza Express bracket with starters from £3.95 and mains from under a tenner. But the quality is way above that – seriously good.
To be honest when I saw the menu, I didn’t think I was going to like it, and that it wouldn’t be my bag, but the pulled pork (more on that later) was a dish to die for and like Arnie, I’ll be back.
We shared, if that’s the right word, as the portions here are massive, in fact almost too big to fit on the table, the homemade tortilla chips with guacamole and salsa as well as chicken wings.
Leggy (who is a good mother) makes her own salsa and appreciated the tangy fresh flavours of their salsa, whilst I enjoyed the cheesiness of it and Ginger just wolfed it all down.
The chicken wings were sticky, spicy and gorgeous, though word of warning, if you’re going on a first date this is not the best place to be as our fingers and faces got more and more messy – not helped by the fact my napkin kept slipping off my leather pants (see what I mean about getting in an American vibe, pants not trousers).
When I return here (Leggy and I just have to bring our boys here), I would have the wings with a salad as a main, and that’s the beauty here. It’s easy to stuff your chops like Ginger or you can opt for lighter bites and bring the protein level down.
It was onto mains and we had the southern tasting platter with the Ginger ordering a side for himself of their burger – that’s right, a burger, as a side. When it came it was actually bigger than the Ginger’s head.
Meat here is locally sourced and is cooked on hickory wood smokers, to give it its authentic and distinctive taste.
On the platter was beef brisket, which I’ve always wanted to try and which didn’t disappoint with a dryish texture but truly, deeply, beefy taste – like a distillation of beef.
There were also absolutely massive pork belly ribs that Leggy and I wondered how to eat (Ginger didn’t, he just shoved it in his gob) and in the end opted for putting it on our plate and eating with a knife and fork.
I’m not a fan of pork belly and found it too fatty for my taste and the meat a little dry. Leggy concurred but the Ginge loved it, as he did his burger, it’s probably a caveman thing.
But OMG the tender pulled pork – this has to be one of the best dishes in the city. It is worth going to Southern Eleven on its own as well as everything else this eatery has to offer.
It’s smoked and tenderised for 18 hours and served here with homemade ‘slaw’ and absolutely stunning cornbread. All this for £9.50. I can’t tell you how intensely flavoured this was (I wrote in my notes that this is the essence of pig), just superb and you should go and try this at least once.
Leggy and I were washing this down with a crisply dry Prosecco and the Ginger had found Gentleman Jack, better than JD and putting him in full cowboy mode.
Ginger was still peckish (how?), though he did admit to feeling like he could give birth ‘just like the nativity’ he suggested – not quite what me and Leggy felt.
He indulged in milk and cookies for pud which took him back to the nursery as good old comfort food while Leggy and I shared a simply scrumptious knicker-bocker glory. It had just the right layers of cream and tingly ice-cream with lots of gooey chocolate.
A couple of other things to mention here, they do a Tuesday deal so definitely ditch Dominos one Tuesday and try this place.
Also, a lot of the meat is cooked in a way that is gluten-free and in the new year we’ll be compiling a list of gluten-free places to go to as Leggy (who knows about this) told us one in 10 people are now gluten intolerant.
On the I Love’o’meter
HA! One we’ll definitely ride again.
Unit 26, 3 Hardman Street, Spinningfields, Manchester M3 3EB
0161 832 0482
RESERVE A TABLE
or call 0161 8320482