Blonde Happiness

A Travel and Lifestyle Blog between Manchester and Munich

Yelp Staycation Manchester I - Urban Cookhouse

By 13:04 , , ,

As a travel and food blogger the new Yelp concept of the Manchester Staycation is everything I could hope for. Exploring your local area and finding the best food around, suggested by fellow food bloggers. Yelp Manchester will be organising a series of events based around the theme in the weeks to come and feature all our blogger tips on the website, so if you are stuck in rut with your dining options make sure to check back on their website.

Our Staycation kick off event was agained organised by the legendary community manager Jonny who lead us to one of the latest additions to the Manchester food scene in the up and coming Princess St. / Sackville Campus area of town: The Urban Cookhouse.

We were welcomed by Jonny and the crew with some lovely gin drinks with cucumber, instant like.

The place is so fresh on the market it still smells of paint, yet for me it still lacks a bit of comfy feeling to it. The lofty NY vibe should not be be “cold” and could be improved by adding some more plants and cushions, espcially as the interior lines were kept quite clean.

The bar area is separated from the dining area and kitchen which should bridge between restaurant and club. I know very few places this combination is working properly but it certainly can.

Finishing my drink and a cherry tomato appetizer of no distinct flavour, we were ushered into the dining area that was set up beautifully.
Usually this is the point were the owners give a quick run down of their business, what to expect of the night, inspiration behind the menu etc. In this case the owner did not show up all evening to engage with us. I felt this was a bit of missed opportunity, when do you usually get 20 food lovers you can win over and spread the word about your business?

Back to food: As this should be the relaunch of the menu, so I was told, I was under the impression we would be sampling some food and sharing a few of the dishes. Instead of knowing what we were going to have I was presented with a plate with a pig cheek sub.
I´ve never had them before but I am always up for something new and have heard that this is one of the prime pig bits ( if such thing exists ).

Unfortunately the fat and carb loaded sub (a standard white roll), whit a load of cheese and marinara sauce, plus the cheek fried up as a breadcrumbed meatball didn´t win me over. I believe the pig cheek balls as such would make a lovely starter, yet the combo is rather tasteless, except for the marinara sauce.

Our dessert were either some fruit smothie ice cream or a cheesecake mug cake. I have gone for the cheesecake and found the espresso froth on top overpowering and the cheesecake mediocre.

The highlight of my night were in this case the drinks. The chilean wine was delightful and the cocktails we samples certainly unique. Thumbs up to the bar tenders, great job!

Before leaving I actually asked for the regular menu they are serving now, as I was quite curious as to what they were serving now. What shall I say, it sounded all way better than what we had. Fresh ingredients, an eclectic mix of country specific cuisine with a NY twist. From the lookd I would have prefered almost everything on there to what I had on the night.

Thinking on it I am not quite sure what to think of the Urban Cookhouse. I am not sure if they have found THEIR concept yet.

Waiters in branded tshirts + funky loft + dirty NY grub = win
Upscale bar and chic waiters + funky loft+ upscale food and bar = win
Waiters in branded tshirts + funky loft vibe + mediocre food = no win for me

So this was either a step towards option one, in that case the cookhouse should get their flavours and prices right.

If they want to keep the concept as it goes now, I am not quite sure why we have been served such a different taster in contrast to the current menu.

Despite having loads of fun on the night, I have left the evening certainly confused about the ambigous vibes this place sends. It´s really got potential but needs tuning to find its niche in town.

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