Mackie Mayor

From the creators of the well-known Altrincham Market, the Mackie Mayor boasts a communal food-hall style eating and drinking dream, accommodating around 400 people! Be prepared, however – it seems like the whole of Manchester is in on the secret so avoid peak times if you want a seat!

The building itself – opened by Mayor Mackie, hence the name – dates back to 1858, is grade-two listed and was originally a popular meat market which fell into dereliction in the early nineties and has lain tragically empty until now. Careful restoration has ensured that the charm of the glass roof-topped building has not been lost, with original graffiti still gracing the exposed brick walls. I think it will take some time before I get used to the beauty of the place…

Nine independent food and drink businesses, including Honest Crust Pizza, Tendor Cow, Fin, Bao House, Katie’s Cakes, Reserve Wines and Black Jack Brewery are situated on the ground floor, with a mezzanine overlooking the magnificent architecture providing additional seating. I am fortunate enough to live a five minute walk away, but I’m confident that this gem will be drawing punters in from across the North West.

If you are only visiting Manchester temporarily, DO NOT LEAVE until you have dined beneath Mackie Mayor’s wonderful glass roof among other likeminded foodies. Be prepared to scootch up along the rows of benches, dodge a dog or two (!) to find yourself perfectly at home surrounded by a collection of passionate vendors who love food as much as you.

1 Eagle Street
M4 5BU

Photos by Claire Harrison

Zitto & Bevi

The name Zitto & Bevi is a play on the Italian saying zitto e mangia, which translates as ‘shut up and eat’. Zitto & Bevi however, is an instruction to ‘shut up and drink’ – not that any encouragement is really needed.

On entering we were led downstairs to an intimate and sparingly furnished basement, where we enjoyed a Negroni whilst browsing the menu. Although not as well known as a Campari or Aperol Spritz, the Negroni – which is made up of gin, vermouth and Campari – is becoming increasingly available in British bars and restaurants. It is part of the aperitivo culture which is slowly making its way into the UK, owing to the growing market of both tourists wanting to imitate the bel paese experience at home, and the large Italian community living here.

What may surprise some about the menu is the lack of pizza and sides dishes. However, this is an osteria, not a ristorante or pizzeria. This doesn’t mean that diners are missing out though. On the contrary, it identifies Zitto & Bevi as a more traditional (or original in the UK) addition to Bristol’s Italian food scene. Zitto & Bevi is unassuming and understated, encapsulating exactly what an osteria, or ‘tavern’, is when it’s at home. It’s a bit like sitting at your nonna’s kitchen table.

For starters, I went for the polenta with cod (£5), out of a selection of classic antipasti such as the mozzarella and tomato salad (£4) or the bruschetta with a choice of toppings (£5).

For mains, there are three varieties of lasagne: the classic ragù, Mediterranean vegetables, or salmon (£9). The other dishes also pay homage to simple Italian ingredients, such as the smoked scarmoza (smoked cheese) in the gateau di patate (‘potato cake’, £8). There is also a selection board of cured meats and cheeses (£12) for an even more relaxed finger-food meal. Although not the most exciting menu for vegans and vegetarians, I’m sure the approachable staff would be more than happy to accommodate if necessary.

I picked the amatriciana (£10), a tomato pasta staple in Italian households, from the specials board. Another specials board offering was the currently very fashionable, but simple, cheese and pepper pasta, cacio e pepe. The food, much like the setting, is personal, and above all authentic, made by Italian people for Italian palates (the pasta was unquestionably al-dente).

There is a carefully crafted wine list, red and white, sourced from family-run vineyards. I tried the modest Ulisse – Barbera DOC (£18), one of the more popular choices I was told, which was an ideal companion to the rich tomato base of the amatriciana. Other options start from £4 a glass, or £24 a bottle.

Informal and affordable, Zitto & Bevi offers quality classic Italian dining whilst fitting the independent and quirky Stokes Croft ethos. I look forward to returning to what is sure to become a Bristol classic.

3 Nine Tree Hill,
+44 117 329 7645

Photo by Benjamin Rowe

El Conde

If you are lucky enough to grab one of the few tables outside on the terrace, you will be able to relish in the bustling ambience of the other surrounding terraces. However, do not fret if you are unable to find a free table outside, because the real beauty of this bar lies within.

There is a hipster-vibe oozing throughout the bar, in the decor, furnishing and clientele. Whether it’s Friday night drinks with friends, or a romantic date with a loved one, you’ll be able to relax in this quirky, yet sophisticated setting. Not forgetting the staff who are incredibly friendly, they cater to your every need, and even speak English!

Whether it’s a delicious Ribera or a sweet bubbly Yllera, El Conde has a great range of wines to tipple your fancy. The prices are not the cheapest you will find in Granada, although they are also in no way steep, with a large glass of Ribera setting you back around €3.50. What sets El Conde aside from the plethora of other bars in this neighbourhood, is it’s exquisite attention to detail.

The tapas range from simple yet deliciously effective, succulent breaded chicken, to a homemade mini burger with caramelised onions and fried quails egg on top. This comes complete with a cute shot glass of crisps to nibble on as you enjoy your drink.

My personal favourite tapas here is a modern twist on the classic dish, jamón serrano (Cured ham from the mountains). I’m pretty sure Spaniards are fed jamón serrano from birth, as it forms a pivotal staple part of their diets. In fact, if you ever find yourself stuck for conversation with a Spaniard, rest assured you can always talk about their sacred jamón serrano ’til your hearts content! What I loved most about El Conde’s twist on this classic dish, is their successful audacity to modernise the dish, by topping it with brie cheese and a drizzle of sugar-cane honey and sweet chilli sauce. Successfully managing to merge the sweet and savoury boundaries to perfection!

El Conde
Calle del Rosario 12,
Spain 18009
+34 958 05 06 28

Le Baron Rouge

This little bar near Ledru-Rollin couldn’t be more typically ‘French’. Walking in past rustic barrels of wine towards an assortment of tables and chairs at the back, Le Baron Rouge invites you to warm your fingers and toes on its bright red bar and cosy atmosphere.

The simple wooden furniture and little blobs of coloured light hanging from the ceiling provide the backdrop to what also serves as an art gallery; every month or so they update their walls with new contemporary paintings and photographs, all of which can be bought. The barman’s brusque warmth makes you immediately feel like a regular.

There’s no messing about here; you buy your drinks at the bar and practically seconds after you’ve uttered your order, a straightforward-looking plate layered with meaty or cheesy things is plonked onto your table.

With a collection of incredibly tasty wines starting from only €1.50 a glass, and delicious accompanying aperitifs from around €10 to share between four, this place definitely ranks as one of the cheapest wine bars in town. This is quite astonishing when you consider the quality of their offerings and the fun to be had using the outdoor Turkish toilet round the back (ladies be warned).

Even better, you can buy and take away their wine for only €4 a bottle, with a €1 charge for the bottle itself, which you can return and have refilled. Wine bars don’t come much eco-friendlier than that! Warm, welcoming and reasonably-priced, Le Baron Rouge is perfect for a catch-up with friends over some wine and gourmet nibbles.

1 Rue Théophile Roussel
75012 Paris
+33 1 43 43 14 32