It’s far from up there with P&O’s unceremonious mass cull of their crews but one of the more unsavoury moments in a troubled 2021 for the hospitality trade was Bruntwood’s decision to dispense with vin-yard, a bijou independent wine bar/shop at its Hatch ‘retail and leisure destination’ on Manchester’s Oxford Road. The landlord’s apparent reason was a need to recoup revenue lost during the pandemic by taking over booze sales from its tenants. The quality wine offering from vin-yard’s Anna Tutton has never been adequately replaced.
For several years it has been a ploy for developers, enlightened and otherwise, to add a dash of millennial cool to their sites by hosting street food wannabes on fixed term deals as a launchpad for eventually establishing their own permanent bases. Now with the economy in freefall that’s easier said than done. When I ran into Anna at a recent wine tasting she told me over lunch about her own life-after-Hatch plan for The Beeswing and it sounded a perfect next step, albeit again pitched as the icing on a property cake – at the Kampus ‘garden neighbourhood’ across the canal from the Village.
The Beeswing is a co-production with business partner Joe Maddock, who ran West Didsbury’s much-loved Pinchjo’s back in the day. For the new venture he’ll provide a small plate menu to match Anna’s eclectic wine offering (mainstream plus some natural). I was particularly taken with the black sesame crusted feta triangles, my main picture, from a menu that will reflect the melting pot of food styles around Manchester – including dals, plant-based and Ottolenghi-influenced Middle-Eastern. All food images by Rebecca Lupton.
Design – sneak preview courtesy of these 3D renders from Andy Gough – is in the hands of the talented and lovely Soo Wilkinson, co-founder of Chorlton’s The Creameries. Set upstairs above Nell’s Pizza place, it too looks a treat with its softened industrial look.
But now comes the rub. There is a budget deficit and Anna and Joe urgently need your crowdfunding help…
The pair’s initial costing was £80,000 and when the figure leapt up to over £100,000 they made up that deficit, but they £25,000 remain adrift of the new final total, so they have launched a crowdfunding campaign, deadline mid-April. It’s a great indie cause – contribute here.
Your potential rewards? You can pre-order a meal for two with wine for £50, or if you can’t wait for the restaurant to open, you can order a meal for six and two bottles of wine to be delivered to your home for £150. You can even help shape the menu by throwing £25 into the pot to be invited to a private dining event of menu cook-offs with chef Joe, and tell him what you think works – or doesn’t. I’ve invested in that one.
Kampus’ developers Capital & Centric and HBD have been pretty canny recruiting some established indie food and drink names to populate Instgrammably picturesque Little David Street. The presence of Pollen Bakery, Cloudwater, Madre, Great North Pie Co, Yum Cha and The Beeswing will attract a clientele way beyond the on-site apartment dwellers.
Cloudwater/Levanter collab at Kampus
This is still very much a work in progress, but to whet the appetite Manchester’s highest profile craft brewery, Cloudwater and Ramsbottom’s award-winning Spanish restaurant Levanter (sibling of Baratxuri) have unveiled a 10 week residency. This will consist of a series of globe-trotting weekend block parties around the ‘tropical garden’ with DJs saluting the likes of California beach sounds and raucous Mexican festivities for Cinco de Mayo, Irish folk parties and smooth NYC jazz.
My focus will obviously be on Levanter’s Joe Botham serving up his legendary giant paellas from 3pm at the canalside Bungalow. The residency kicks off on Easter weekend.