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24th February 2016

Meat and moonshine with Cane & Grain

Eva Katz reveals the mystery that lies within Northern Quarter’s finest rib joint, Cane & Grain

There’s just something about the prohibition era which has always held an air of secrecy and excitement isn’t there? The lengths, ideas and inventions that many would go to for a sip of the Devil’s water has certainly never failed to intrigue and amaze me. I’m not saying that I blame them, nor do I think them to be foolish, but I am dazed by the extensive creativity that the forbidden inspired. But what has this got to do with that swishy rib joint in the Northern Quarter, you ask? Well, everything.

There is no doubt that Cane & Grain channels that era of embargo to its very core. Hell, even the door leading to their first floor is a riddle in itself; so carefully hidden by the bar’s dim lighting and decorative façade. However, it only begins to hint at the further covert thrills hidden above the raucous bar below. From the panelled walls—which seemed as if they could open to reveal yet another surprise at any given moment—to the windowed bar, shelved with minuscule bottles of unknown concoctions, the room seethed enough suspense to leave you dining with goosebumps.

However this joint hasn’t chosen to situate itself just anywhere in Prohibition America, but instead it channels numerous elements of the South through nothing more so than the delicacies it has to offer. Ribs are their speciality, and my God are they special. Don’t be fooled if you’ve been unfortunate enough to sample ribs at a second-rate establishment prioritising quantity over quality, your taste buds will be duly unprepared for what’s to come. Make no mistake, quantity can be found here, too. Look no further than the Meat Fest for a meal to give you the meat sweats and sticky fingers galore. But the quality is second to none. With a multitude of marinades to choose from, it simply boils down to your preference of sweet, savoury or spicy. The Louisiana will have you appreciating why Yoncé carries hot sauce in her bag as a homage to the fine food of her home state. Just as the rum marinade will simultaneously sweeten and smoke your taste buds, accompanied by an array of pimped fries topped with a concoction of your choice, they leave little else to be desired. Other than an exquisite cocktail to cleanse your palate for that next bite.

Fortunately for you, Cane & Grain can provide that too. Drinks a plenty, no tastebuds are left neglected here. Whether you’re after sophistication, strength or subtlety, their experienced mixologist can provide a beverage to meet your heart’s desires.

The service here only enhances the experience. Attentive but not overbearing, and helpful but not forceful. Overall, you’re free to slip into the fantasy thinking that you’re no longer in Manchester but in a Louisiana speakeasy enjoying the finest forbidden fruits the Southern state has to offer.

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