The infamous Manchester brand Trof have opened a slick new venue on Whitworth Street under the rather ominous name ‘Gorilla’ and, while it boasts all the usual attributes of the chain, this particular establishment has a sophisticated niche: gin.
The parlour itself, housed on the exclusively designed mezzanine, stocks around 35 different hand-picked gins from around the world, all of which are selected for their broad variety and superior quality. Here, the gins can be relished as part of a balanced cocktail, or with an effortless tonic.
The cocktails are all-encompassing. From the contemporary classics, I would recommend the spicy, sweet and intense ‘Ginger Gin Sling’ or the ‘Kingston Collins’, which is a lively and tropical alteration to the original mix. The ‘Ramos Gin Fizz’ was a challenge as it was far too creamy, so approach with caution. The ‘Tonic’ selection offers more clear and crisp options such as ‘Green’, a beautiful perfumed drink containing the rosemary and cucumber infused gin, Hendricks, and the refreshing ‘Coconut’ made with exquisite English Millers Gin, mixed with a Jamaican coconut rum.
No self-respecting gin parlour would be complete without a martini, and Gorilla offers understated traditionals as well as a few unusual alternatives. The undoubted crowning glory, however, was the homemade ‘Buttered Gin’, a recipe adapted from a drink originally made in New York speakeasies. The spirit possesses a pleasurabe sweet, smooth, buttery taste whilst preserving an unmasked strong gin flavour, and can be consumed in a cocktail or modestly on the rocks.
If you’re adverse to a gin tipple, Gorilla offers a cornucopia of other indulgences. The food, for example, is all fresh, free range and carefully considered, right down to the delicious brioche burger buns and succulent Rib-eye steak. A recommendation must be made for the incredibly hearty ‘Royal Breakfast’, containing everything you could ever want to cure the most arduous of hangovers. There is also an extensive list of eclectic rums, vodkas and bourbons waiting to be discovered. For the small hours, juxtaposed to the relaxed bar is the adjoined club which is currently hosting an array of alternative nights, underground artist gigs and even cult film screenings. This place really has everything.
Unsurprisingly, Gorilla has been nominated for ‘Best Newcomer’ at this year’s Manchester Food & Drink Festival and, although not the cheapest of venues around, it’s one of the most diverse and exciting to recently emerge. It’s assuredly worth spending a bit more to visit, whether it be for the club, bar or food, so attempt to banish thoughts about your overdrafts, dismiss the fiscal temptation of Sainsbury’s Basics vodka and go check it out.