The weather in Manchester has been chilling down a lot of late - but what with the Manchester Food and Drink Festival in full swing in the city, and the excitement of Christmas fairy-lit balconies filling our heads, we've been looking for terraces in and around Manchester with lovely outdoor heaters where we can soak up the last of the bearable outside temperatures.
There are a good few places in Manchester which boast wintery terrazas, but the majority of them are smack bang in the middle of the centre and consequently absolutely crawling with punters.
When you want a quiet drink (where you can actually hear yourself think and not fall victim to five pints being spilled all over your new summer lounge pants) with a few buds on a Sunday - that's not the ideal situation.
I popped into Vivid Lounge on Great Ancoats Street on a late weekend afternoon. Always trying (and often failing, if I'm honest) to make healthy choices wherever I can, and knowing the quality of the food here is always top notch - tucking into a plate of steaming, fragrant pumpkin curry outside on the terrace with a glass of white seemed like the perfect way to while away the long evening.
The gaff offers vegan specials - the creamy, coconut-y (and slightly spicy) pumpkin curry - which was chocka-block full of Thai herbs and spices and felt like a real blast of rude health as well as being utterly delicious, alongside a sweetcorn fritter patty made with shallots, garlic, fresh ginger, chillies, lemongrass and spring onions - popped in a toasted bun with colourful veggies and the scrummiest homemade peanut drizzle my tastebuds have ever had the pleasure of welcoming.
Humble but not to be underestimated, Vivid boasts the best chefs around - cooking up truly authentic food produced and cooked to the highest standards...
Two of us shared both of the vegan options on the day so we had a little taster of each and were absolutely blown away by the quality and fullness of flavour. I always think it's a bit sad when people often seem put off if foods are labelled as vegan when you can get dishes as beautiful as these - but Manchester's offering seems to be growing exponentially of late and Vivid is up there among the best in terms of options for non-meat eaters as well as carnivores.
I challenge any devout steak-lover to taste Vivid's fritter and have a bad word to say about it. An absolute triumph, I wanted to run out into the street and tell everyone how good it was and I will definitely be bringing all of my friends back to try it.
Saying that, Vivid isn't a vegetarian or vegan restaurant - the beef massaman curry is one of their most popular dishes and heartily recommended by the heart-warmingly enthusiastic chefs and staff who label it their 'labour of love.'
And on the open sandwich lunchtime special it looks absolutely mouth-watering...
My advice? Get yourself down to Vivid, pitch up with a cold cider or a glass of wine and order a few nibbles (the Southern chicken wings are absolutely insane) and follow up with one of the special Thai mains for an experience you won't forget.
Trust me ;)..