Saturday, 14 January 2017
Menagerie in Manchester has caused quite a stir. I've heard and read mixed reviews on both ends of the spectrum. I went to the opening party but hadn't returned since, and that's not anything against the place - I just live and work in the NQ so it's a little bit of a trek for me. However when the New Year struck and my friend was driving up to visit, I thought I'd head back.
What Menagerie owns is the girl factor. It's lavishly kitted out in marble, gold, and pink neon signs. Add that to draping curtains, gold cutlery and yep, even a catwalk and I defy you to not want to Instagram everything. Some may say style over substance but the generation we're in today, the way a place looks is a pretty big deal. It's why I love a trip to Neighbourhood, why I'm head over heels with the newly refurbished Refuge at the Principal Hotel and why I've always wanted to go to Tattu to see the infamous tree.
Whilst I'm not a girly girl, I can appreciate the way a place looks and they have done a good job. My friend IS a girly girl and loved it equally. Location wise - it's not in my catchment area. I do get settled in never leaving the NQ - I know it, it's close, it's safe and I know a lot of people there. But I do always forget how much I enjoy the other end of town for a different night out vibe. It's technically in Salford but when I say it's in Salford, it's literally where the Salford sign starts. Not that there's anything wrong with Salford but if you've got the girls in heels, sometimes saying it's in the next town can freak them the hell out. In actual fact it's just behind Spinningfields. If you're on a night out, make your way through Spinny and straight across the river. If you're visiting during the day, it's lovely to take a stroll next to the river and past The Lowry.
We went for brunch AKA my favourite meal of the day and I can't exaggerate that enough. I'm always torn between sweet and savoury because I'm greedy and want the best of every world. But on this occasion I had the breakfast bun which is a bun with your usual suspects - bacon, sausage and egg. It came not only as that but with thin fries too which was to die for. The portion size was perfect as I left comfortably full and the ingredients whilst filling, didn't feel unhealthy. Would it soak up my hangovers? I'm not sure - I think I'd still head to Trof for that but for a girly sophisticated brunch, it did the job and I would more than happily have this again.
My friend's dessert looked like a piece of art and whilst it isn't to my taste, looked great on camera and she did rave about it so it's another thumbs up on that. The only real downside for me was on this occasion I couldn't drink and the waitress replied three times that they didn't serve non-alcoholic drinks which baffled me a little. What goes in the vodka and coke guys?!! She did say she could make a mocktail which to be fair was delightful but it was a little offputting to think all I could have at 12pm was an alcoholic beverage.
All in all we did have a great time. Will it be my go-to brunch spot? No, but that's because of the distance for me. If I was already that end of town yes, but credit where credit's due, it's a beautiful venue that seems to be targeting its market perfectly.