With the amount of restaurants and bars opening up in Manchester, you do sometimes tend to forget about those little hidden gems tucked in far corners of popular areas. I love heading over to the Northern Quarter to grab a bite and a cocktail. It’s no bs attitude, laid back vibe and total lack of pretentiousness makes its an area that is welcoming and inviting whilst keeping its cool and trendy atmosphere. Pen & Pencil in the Northern Quarter has been nestled on the corner of Tariff Street for the past few years, and is open daily to serve a great selection of light bites and big plates, as well as some cleverly constructed cocktails. With almost a touch of New York speakeasy to it’s interior, the lively yet relaxed bar was ticking all my boxes.
The service was attentive with attention to detail given when going through the menu. My halloumi addiction is growing stronger and so naturally, I chose the halloumi burger with a side of sweet potato fries. Served on a brioche bun with spiced tomato chutney and rocket salad, I was pretty much in food heaven, The sweet potato fries were seasoned beautifully, with no need for a further salting and the serving was very generous. My friend tucked into the Philadelphia flat steak which was seasoned with a rich garlic and rosemary marinade, and came with a side of skin on fries and a pot of chimichurri salsa. The salsa was delicious with the strong flavours of garlic and parsley tantalising the tongue whilst the steak, medium cooked was tender and melted in the mouth. The home cooked, skin on fries were also well cooked and seasoned.
You can’t beat a cocktail after work, and Pen & Pencil have a really good cocktail menu. With cheeky names such as Happy Birthday, Mr President and Dead Man Walking, the cocktail menu had me stumped as to what to choose. I eventually settled on the Sometimes Sunny in Manchester cocktail which was made up of passion fruit liqueur, pisco, lemon and lime, and egg white to give a lovely foam top. Garnished with syrup and an edible flower, the cocktail had just the right amount of tartness combined with a sweet and soft aftertaste. Reminiscent of jelly sweets, it certainly was very moreish.
For my friend, a long cocktail to quench the thirst from this unusually warm late September evening, she chose the Grapefruit Spritz. Tanqueray gin, Fentimans rose lemonade, passion fruit liqueur and grapefruit, this tangy sweet blend is garnished with a concertina cuber and a slice of grapefruit. Refreshing, light and a wonderful palette cleanser.
I think I will definitely be heading towards Pen & Pencil more often. For a casual place to unwind with friends, with great music, food and drinks, it has a winning recipe for the place to be.This post may contain PR samples that have been sent to me for consideration for review however all my opinions will be my own. The links in the post my be affiliate links which will earn a small amount of commission should you shop my recommendations.