Published on December 4th, 2012 | by thehungrymanc1
When a new restaurant opens in Manchester my Twitter feed is usually all a buzz. This was a little more sedate. No clamouring for opening night seats, no guess who, guess what work. But when I heard that the independent team behind Southern Eleven were to open another eatery just round the corner I was intrigued.
So when an e-mail arrived from Manchester Confidential inviting me to attend the launch party I thought I’d go along and see what was going on.
According to the website, Neighbourhood describe themselves as:
“A New York eatery and bar inspired by Manhattan’s definitive neighbourhoods.
Honing their unique take on casual fine dining, luxury ingredients & industrial chic aesthetics in the heart of Spinningfields.”
I’ve always loved New York and have been fortunate enough to visit so this statement sounded perfect.
However on stepping through the door I was greeted by braces, bow ties and Converse trainers, oh and Sam Adams on tap. Which is all very nice but I didn’t feel like I’d been whisked across the pond. Don’t get me wrong, the bar and restaurant areas both looked great, modern and clean hitting up against the exposed industrial concrete and brick, and perhaps I’d just got myself too excited about it being authentically New York but somehow I just didn’t see the connection. Not that Neighbourhood wouldn’t have looked at home in New York – just that it would have looked good anywhere.
After a couple of free drinks courtesy of Manchester Confidential we were beginning to get a little peckish. Some canapés had been promised but on this busy opening night we’d only managed to snaffle a slider each. The mini burger having been perfectly cooked, seasoned and left nice and simple.
Therefore we decided we’d jump into the menu, just for a little taster of what was on offer. OK so we were sat at bar stools in the bar area (but not at the bar itself) and yes, it was busy but we were only looking to try a couple of the starters. This seemed like the oddest of requests as far as the staff were concerned and every effort was made to convince us to move through to the restaurant. This struck me as counter to the New York attitude of being able to eat wherever you fancied.
Having agreed to serve us where we were, we opted for a portion of the Chicken Lollipops, The Artisan Board and some fries. They were all delicious. The salty, crispy chicken bites actually making for a great bar snack. The fries were not typically American fries but instead proper, skin on chips and the artisan board was delicious, great cheeses, lovely meats and vinegary but incredibly moreish pickles.
On our way out, while paying, we had a brief chat to one of the team. They reassured us that the music was a little louder than could be expected on a normal Friday night but since it was opening night they were in party mode. That does make me sound like a bit of an old fart but if I’m out to eat I like to be able to chat to the people I am with.
Would I go back? Certainly. In fact I will be. I did like the place and I’d be intrigued to see if things were a bit more casual during the day. After-all the statement on the website hangs on that word. Well for me at least.