If there’s one thing I love about Manchester, it’s the city’s knack for turning old industrial buildings into gorgeous drinking and dining destinations. From Cottonopolis – a former tailor’s studio where huge pipes and brass fixtures meet Japanese cocktails – to the pimped out arches of Three Little Words, complete with a working distillery and feature bar, the North has some proper head turners. The latest to catch my eye? Ducie Street Warehouse.
Sandwiched between the Northern Quarter and Piccadilly station, the clandestine warehouse hotel lies in a hushed part of town. I’d walked past it more than once, not noticing what was within. But on the day we came to visit, it was hard to miss a wedding party outside and queues forming for Gooey (if you haven’t tried these desserts, have you even lived?). Slipping past a gang of groomsmen, we made our way into the towering Victorian building; coworking spaces on one side and coffee shop on another; boutique fitness classes at in-house gym Blok on the right plus a canalside terrace just moments away.
Nestled in the corner of it all, the restaurant touts the same high ceilings, grey beams and brown hues that make the rest of the Grade II listed building so distinctive. Settling in with a couple of cocktails, it was the refreshingly light yet bodied Native Peach Spritz (£10) for me (a piquant blend of vermouth, peach, rose and cinnamon) and the Yeah Mate (£11) for the other half - balancing Don Julio Blanco tequila and Yerba Mate with a hit of sweet watermelon sherbet and rosemary-infused Oloroso sherry.
We’d just missed brunch, which appeared to be a blessing in disguise. From the small plates, chilli and sesame peanut crispy chicken (£8.50) was matched with a light, milky miso buttermilk slaw and Gochujang that gave off Korean fried chicken feels, while salt and pepper calamari (£7.50) packed the kind of chunky bite that I hope for.
A great coupling, five spiced ox cheek and sweet potato croquettes (£7) slapped a meaty punch, as chilli and coriander king prawns (£8) were light and zesty with Sriracha mayo for dipping. We had high hopes for the lobster mac n cheese (£9) but it didn’t quite live up to the rest of the menu, lacking the flavour of its predecessors. Topping it all off with a large plate, the DSW slider plank (£13) arrived as a beautifully presented slab of steak, cooked to medium-rare perfection. Just how I like it.
Always one to save room for dessert, I opted for a salted caramel tart (£8) to share and the frothy Penja (£10) that mixed rum with peach wine, apple, lemon and pepper cordial. For him, it was the Negroni Magazzino (£10) – a silky, strawberry-led twist on the classic, made with gin, rose vermouth, black tea and suze.
The DesignMyNight Digest
While it may have been the lure of industrial chic interiors that lured me in, ultimately it was the menu at Ducie Street Warehouse that won me over. With food that’s full of flavour but light at the same time, and a drinks list that takes elements of classics and makes them wholly unique, the bar and kitchen work in perfect harmony to keep you coming back for more.
Ducie Street Warehouse is located (of course) on Ducie Street, M1 2TP and open daily for food and drinks. Discover more gorgeous places to eat with our list of Manchester's most Instagrammable restaurants.