Last week I was lucky enough to graze on mezze twice; once at Bakerie in the Northern Quarter and again at The Didsbury Lounge, in er, Didsbury.
First up, Bakerie. It was a Tuesday and I was catching up with an old friend so couldn't wait for 5.30 to roll round.
The Bakerie prides itself on being 'all about the bread', so naturally you're landed with the mother of all bread baskets; sour dough, focaccia, granary, rye and a good old white bloomer, warm and squidgy and made straight in front of you.
We got there just in time for happy hour, meaning our bottle of red only set us back £4.50 each (winning).
As you do with mezze menus, we went a bit mad with the food. We ordered the meat platter and chose salami napoli, serrano ham & chorizo which comes with caramelised onion relish and garlic sauce.
We also ordered a cheese platter with insanely generous slabs of smoked cheddar, brie and a Shropshire blue cheese, which came with a pot of pickled gherkins and grapes.
It didn't stop there. Oh no. We asked for marinated olives, balsamic vinegar, hummus and a tomato and fennel relish. Oh yes.
Everything was incredible and we ate and ate for hours. The only thing I wouldn't order again was the garlic sauce - it was essentially a garlic butter that looked like icing.
The atmosphere was great - I'm glad we got there early as there aren't too many tables so it filled up pretty quickly.
My photos of Bakerie didn't come out the best they could, so I've nabbed these two from the website:
It was the perfect weekday evening: picking and choosing lots of different foods, all washed down with a bottle of wine and half a year's worth of gossip.
It was my third time there and I've still not sampled their stews or gourmet toast - would you recommend?
Price: It all came at £37, so for just short of £20 was well worth it for the amount of food & drink we had.
Atmosphere: pretty 'weekendy' considering it was a Tuesday evening
Overall rating: 4****
I went to the Didsbury Lounge a few days after with Anna for some serious Sunday chilling.
Because it was Sunday there was plenty of hangovers going on - with some people choosing hair of the dog to tackle it and others preferring to satisfy their cravings with hearty, warm food.
I'd like to point out here that for once we weren't actually hungover.
Didsbury Lounge offers all types of food from breakfast to burgers, but their speciality (in my opinion) is their Smorgasbords (try saying that to a good looking waiter without a) sounding like Sean Connery or b) giggling).
We ordered the six dish Smorg (£12.99) but it wasn't an easy decision. There is SO MUCH scrummy sounding food to choose from that whittling down from twenty choices to six took ages.
In the end, we plumped for; lamb meatballs in Thai broth, a trio of lamb, chicken and beef burgers, skewered Teriyaki chicken kebab, mixed olive salad, Greek salad, aubergine dip and artisan bread.
YUM. There was just one thing - perhaps I'm just being
Price: we paid under a tenner each but remember this was without booze.
Atmosphere: nice & chilled - other customers included young families to groups of friends.
Service: v. flirty waiter!
Overall rating: 3***
If I had to sum up in a sentence I'd say... Bakerie wins hands down for weekday evening vibes, but the lounge is best for chilling out and massaging a hangover on a Sunday.