THE tra­di­tional Christ­mas Din­ner isn’t as sacro­sanct as it once was. Monotony grates and we have be­come less in­clined to the stress in­volved with cook­ing it at home, so it’s no sur­prise peo­ple are straying away from the clas­sic and opt­ing for the more al­ter­na­tive choices on of­fer.

For the past few years, Manch­ester’s restau­rants have been of­fer­ing new takes on fes­tive din­ing, putting a Christ­mas spin on their spe­cial­ity fare.

These un­con­ven­tional menus make for quirky Christ­mas work party sub­sti­tutes.

We’ve rounded up some of the city’s top al­ter­na­tive menus for the com­ing fes­tive sea­son.

Bock’s Sun­day roast fon­due

Tib Lane’s Bel­gian beer bar Bock Biere Cafe has given its pop­u­lar Sun­day roast fon­due a fes­tive up­grade, with a bub­bling pot of red wine gravy to dunk all the trim­mings in.

Served as a feast­ing plat­ter for groups to share, it in­cludes turkey, eight hour slow-cooked beef brisket, pigs in blan­kets, stuff­ing balls, roast pota­toes, Dutch bit­ter­ballen, cau­li­flower cheese, parsnips, car­rots and beet­root and a pot of cran­berry sauce.

A veg­e­tar­ian mush­room welling­ton al­ter­na­tive is also avail­able along­side ve­gan and gluten-free op­tions.

It costs £25 per per­son which also in­cludes a choice of desserts to round the meal off. Ad­vance book­ing is re­quired at bock­cafe.co.uk.

Yard & Coop’s Dirty Santa af­ter­noon tea

No stranger to fes­tive-themed menus, this year Yard & Coop re­turns with the Dirty Santa Af­ter­noon Tea.

The three-tiered shar­ing feast is brim­ming with but­ter­milk fried­chicken daubed with ba­con jam, fries and sweet potato fries, cubes of deep fried brie as well as yule log (all on sep­a­rate tiers, thank­fully).

The sharer is priced at £20 per per­son, rea­son­able con­sid­er­ing a fes­tive gin serve is also in­cluded and is avail­able from the Edge Street restau­rant now.

Bun­do­bust’s sprout bhaji butty Bun­do­bust’s sprout bha­jis are now an an­nual fix­ture on its Christ­mas menu - and this year they’ve been given an up­grade.

The In­dian street food and craft beer bar is serv­ing them in a sprout bhaji butty (£5.50) this year, stacked with red onion, kachum­ber samb­haro, cran­berry chut­ney and green chut­ney, in­side a brioche bun.

Bet­ter yet, £1 from each one sold goes to Manch­ester home­less­ness char­ity Mus­tard Tree.

You can still or­der them on their own too (£4.50), along­side a fes­tive curry of win­ter roots and French beans in a tomato and co­conut sauce spiced with cin­na­mon, star anise and curry leaf.

A Christ­mas combo for two is also avail­able for £26.50, giv­ing you and a friend a por­tion of sprout bha­jis, Bundo chaat, pa­neer and mush­room tikka, a fes­tive curry and a mas­sala dosa to share.

Crazy Pe­dro’s mince pie pizza

It’s the cus­tard and moz­zarella mar­riage no­body asked for.

Crazy Pe­dro’s Christ­mas spe­cial is a mince pie pizza topped with crum­bled mince pies, whiskey cream, cran­berry sauce, cus­tard and cheese.

Called Pie Hard, in homage to every­one’s favourite al­ter­na­tive Christ­mas clas­sic, it’s avail­able by the slice for £3 or you can buy the whole 16-inch pizza for £16 from both the Bridge Street and Short Street sites.

Solita’s Christ­mas burger and menu Famed for its burg­ers that push the bound­aries of cre­ativ­ity and grav­ity, Solita’s Christ­mas party menu fol­lows suit: start­ing with the likes of pigs in blan­kets spring rolls served with turkey gravy and fried shrimp with bloody Mary sauce.

Din­ers can choose from two cour­ses for £18.90 or three for £23.90, with main cour­ses in­clud­ing a gi­ant pig in blan­ket hot dog topped with chest­nut stuff­ing, cran­berry sauce and turkey gravy.

Solita’s Christ­mas burger is also back and avail­able as part of the set menu for a £5 sup­ple­ment.

The pre­car­i­ous stack of fes­tive favourites starts with two 4oz Wagyu chuck pat­ties, piled high with Mon­terey Jack cheese, but­ter­milk turkey breast, cran­berry sauce, a slice of roasted gam­mon, deep-fried sprouts, toasted chest­nut pieces, two stuff­ing balls and a can­died pig in blan­ket.

A veg­gie ver­sion is also avail­able with veg­etable and bean pat­ties, grilled hal­loumi and panko-fried por­to­bello in place of the meat.

Spring rolls book­end the set menu as they re-ap­pear for dessert, this time crammed with mince pie fill­ing and brandy sauce, com­ple­mented by a scoop of mince pie ice cream.

Dishoom’s turkey raan feast

The Irani-Bom­bay cafe’s Christ­mas feast menu is avail­able un­til Christ­mas Eve and in­cludes two set menus - one veg­e­tar­ian and one not.

Din­ers will be pre­sented with thaals of turkey raan with spiced cran­berry chut­ney or chick­pea curry with puffed puris, as well as a selec­tion of other small plates, naan and daal. Menus will cost £42 per per­son.

If it’s any jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for that some­what wal­let-twitch­ing per-head price, The Bridge Street restau­rant prom­ises ‘ev­ery­thing is served in plen­ti­ful por­tions’.

A range of clas­sic win­ter cock­tails will also be given a Bom­bay makeover, with chai eggnog and a ‘taj toddy’ avail­able - a play on the old re­li­able hot toddy, reimag­ined with fresh sliced gin­ger, cider and cloves.

Porky Pig’s bat­tered pigs in blan­kets

If ever a meal summed up the fes­tive ex­cess of Christ­mas, Porky Pig’s deep-fried pigs in blan­kets (£4.50) are the one: two full-sized sausages (no chipo­latas here) swad­dled in ba­con and bat­ter and drib­bled with gravy and ap­ple sauce.

Avail­able at the Christ­mas mar­kets stall in Ex­change Square un­til De­cem­ber 21, it’s a dish that’ll leave you full to the Box­ing Day brim.

Hot Stuffed Bread Com­pany’s turkey and stuff­ing buntzel

A sand­wich, but not as you know it, the buntzel is a hot pret­zel dough bun stuffed with all kinds of fes­tive fill­ings - in­clud­ing this turkey din­ner ver­sion.

Baked to a golden glaze at the edges, soft and still doughy in­side and densely packed with sliv­ers of turkey, sage and onion stuff­ing and cran­berry sauce, it’s a com­fort­ing lump of Christ­massy stodge.

It’s served with a choice of chicken and thyme gravy, beef and red wine jus or sweet pep­per and smoky tomato sauce, for £5 and avail­able at the Christ­mas Mar­kets in Pic­cadilly Gar­dens.

Mackie Mayor’s Chrimbo Feasts In­side the grade II listed mar­ket re­vamped by the team be­hind Al­trin­cham Mar­ket, Mackie Mayor’s new Chrimbo Feasts menu in­cludes a selec­tion of fes­tive tacos and a Brus­sel sprout pizza, along­side the more ex­pected op­tions like turkey crown with bread sauce and roast beef with York­shire pud­dings.

The feasts are meant to be ‘the cen­tre for any oc­ca­sion’ and the dishes are de­signed to be shared.

The Chrimbo Feasts are priced at £35 per head and can cater for up to 20 peo­ple, mak­ing them per­fect for a work Christ­mas meal.

The Al­lot­ment’s ve­gan Christ­mas din­ner

The Al­lot­ment have been the lead­ers in veg­e­tar­ian and ve­gan cui­sine since 2017, when they were first awarded ac­co­lades for best restau­rant and best veg­e­tar­ian restau­rant, then kept win­ning them.

More re­cently awarded the 2019 Best Ve­gan Roast Award, it’s ob­vi­ous that Al­lot­ment’s ve­gan Christ­mas din­ners should be on ev­ery veg­gie’s Christ­mas list.

Show­cas­ing braised red cab­bage dec­o­rated with shi­itake ‘ba­con’, chest­nut stew and cab­bage, leek and potato cake and fes­tive ter­rine to name a few, the Lloyd Street restau­rant of­fers an el­e­vated ve­gan al­ter­na­tive.


Yard & Coop’s Christ­mas plat­ters

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