Good food and a good venue are timeless – and go so very well with good friends.
So it is that there’s a little neighbourhood haunt in Chorlton that comes with all three – and once you’ve found it, you’ll never want to leave.
Before the Manchester cultural phenomena that are Volta and The Refuge was Electrik.
Tucked away in the south Manchester suburb, it might be the forgotten sibling of these two iconic venues – but back in the day it’s where the Unabombers first cut their teeth.
Luke Chowdrey and Justin Crawford’s original HQ looks like it hasn’t changed since the early days.
Not that it’s shabby – far from it.
More that it’s got the sort of retro styling which is de rigeur in bars and pubs these days.
Electik are pushing a major kitchen takeover this month with the original senior sous chef from Volta, bringing together eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern and Persian food with a street food ethos.
Called Yadda Yadda, they promised handmade fresh flatbreads, slow cooked meats, fresh fish, vegan delights and a mezze of amazing street-food small plates.
On a Thursday night early evening it was quiet but the time we were leaving it was a bustling neighbourhood joint – clearly there are those have been coming here all this time while we’d forgotten about it.
The walls are decorated with really interesting art including graphic representations of famous images of Joy Division.
Our waiter was Australian, so enthusiastic about the bar, the drinks, the food – he was obviously in his element.
He recommended three small dishes and flatbreads to share, so that’s what we ordered – some of the dishes are available in a larger size.
The Keralan Fried Chicken (£6) came first – crunch on the outside and with fragrant spice in the batter, it was just meaty enough to be a proper mouthful.
The Crab Biryani Balls (£6.50) were like little shellfish bhajis, all crispy and crunchy but with a moreish, nutty centre that melted on the tongue.
The big surprise of the night for both of us was the Smoked Almond Dhal (£5.50).
I’m not a massive dhal fan, but the sweet almond flavour brought the memory of a creamy, nutty korma – mild and perfumed, but not too heavy. Like a guilt-free indulgence
For dipping purposes, the flatbreads (£1.50) were ideal.
Heavier than they look but the weight of the dough didn’t make them cloying at all – and they were really great for mopping up all that delicious sauce.
The menu’s got lots of other really great-sounding dishes – Biryani Arancini Balls, Korean Steak, Kofter Cheeseburger – and off the back of this delicious dinner, we’ll definitely be back to try them all out.
Events are also running alongside the Yadda Yadda kitchen takeover. Flatz are a fiver every Monday. Each Friday, 5pm – 9pm, Yadda Yadda Friday People’s Club will take place at Electrik aimed at the after-work crowd with an offer – a complimentary beer, glass of wine or cocktail with any Flatz Kebab – with a line-up of DJs specialising in world music, middle eastern, afro, reggae, 1930s swing, soul and much more.
Find out more on Electrik here.
Electrik Bar is at 559 Wilbraham Rd, Manchester M21 0AE