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5th September 2014

Review: A Place Called Common

Ellie Gibbs checks out the food and drinks at trendy NQ restaurant and bar Common.

Located fittingly on Edge Street, this bar/restaurant boasts quality food, drinks and service with quirkiness and flare.

Upon my first visit to what’s often shortened to ‘Common’, I sat back to a window with a bright, full view of the bold yet minimal interior, comprised of a variety of organic colours and textures, such as wooden chipboard surfaces and vibrant paper artwork, giving warmth to the deep grey walls. Adding detail to the humble atmosphere of Common are a wide spread of colourful beer mats pasted to the walls and bar area, which decoratively highlight the extensive choice of unique craft ales in stock. Modest metallic furnishings combine with the fuzzy friendliness of the staff to create this fresh hangout spot in the heart of the Northern Quarter.

Now onto the food and drink. Despite the tempting ale variety, I skipped straight to the cocktails. To start, my lunch companion and I shared the curiously named ‘Beet Down’, which, according to the skilled barman, is a vibrant concoction of beetroot, vodka, passionfruit, and egg whites—Yum. Made obvious by this cheeky pink number, Common offers much more exciting cocktails than your standard Sex on the Beach (depending on who’s the cocktail shaker, I suppose.) At around £8 on average, the cocktails on this menu are well worth a try if you’re feeling daring, a bit mischievous, or just in the mood for some delicious, creative drinks.

To nibble, we began by sharing a portion of deep fried beer battered pickles and chillies. Like many other twenty-something year old foodies, they had me at ‘deep fried’ (referring here to food only—one can only dream of a deep-fried life…all of your things, coated in a delicious golden batter. Ahem.) Anyway, they were delicious, enough said.

For my main, I chose the shrimp, chorizo and avocado on sourdough toast with chipotle mayo. And, no surprise, it was exactly as good as it sounds: the chorizo was fresh and flavoursome, and the spice from the chipotle perfectly balanced the creamy avocado. My companion went for the roast vegetable chilli, which was delightfully served up in its own hardened tortilla bowl, she found the dish ‘inspirational’, buying a pack of tortillas on the way home to later attempt a recreation of the dish. We shared sides of the Deep House Salad, which was a delicious presentation of lettuce, cucumber and pickled cabbage but had nothing notably to do with house music, and Kimchi Slaw (I’d never heard of it either). To put it simply, our adventurousness paid off: both sides beautifully complimented or main dishes, and after some inspired researching (AKA, a quick Google), I now know that ‘kimchi’ is a fermented Korean dish with a variety of seasonings.

But don’t let that intimidate you less adventurous diners—in addition to their inspired and varied menu, Common also offers a wide range of American style burgers, westernised Mexican food, local meats, cheeses, and deli style sandwiches, as well as various salads. It has also created a generous variety for those with dietary requirements, like vegetarians and vegans. Considering the menu’s wonderful assortment, I would definitely bank on there being something delicious for everyone at Common.

After licking up every last crumb of our scrumptious meals, we sadly had no room for pudding, despite the shameless ogling of the Rocky Road that’d been giving us ‘the eye’ for the duration of our lunch. What a tease. Then again, that’s just another reason to return. I’m thrilled that I landed A Place Called Common as my first restaurant to write about. All I can say now is watch out Manchester—it’s going to be a tough act to follow.


A Place Called Common, 39 to 41 Edge Street
Northern Quarter
Manchester M4 1HW

0161 832 9245

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