This Magical Ride On A Steam Train With Steak, Port And Jaffa Pudding Is The Loveliest Experience This Winter
"I felt like I was in a completely different city 100 years ago."
I've always been a sucker for a gorgeous view, all the better when I can see one with a chilled glass of Pecorino in hand.
There are some beautiful places in Manchester to enjoy dinner and drinks. Eprnay's balcony and atrium overlooking the Albert Hall and the new 20 Stories immediately spring to mind, but my preference over those swish, glassy affairs that have come to define the Spinningfields area has always been a more traditional setting brimming with character and history.
If you're looking to experience Greater Manchester in a new light, it might be high-time to check out the East Lancashire Railways's Dining With Distinction.
Travel back to a time gone-by and rumble through the charming Lancashire countryside...
The East Lancashire Railway has been around for years and is still considered to be a key part of British heritage, once providing that vital link to the country's network of import but also a leisure-time service for holiday-makers. In fact, to soak up the picturesque panoramas as you journeyed through was considered the absolute height of sophistication.
All of the experiences offered feature the traditional vintage Pullman style carriages and upholstery, and of course a luscious vantage point to admire the beautiful Irwell valley.
The Red Rose Dinner
Step out into the crisp, early evening air and breathe in the wonderful, mildewy smell of the steam train as you settle aboard and indulge in a complimentary glass of fizz for a 2 and a half hour journey back in time.
Each of the dinners feature a four-course meal using traditionally British, locally-sourced ingredients with options ranging from wild game terrine, a charcuterie selection of continental meats and steak saute and mushrooms - all finished off with rich chocolate pudding with hot jaffa sauce or a strawberry and white chocolate Charlotte and of course, a hearty glass of Krohn!
On which note, the flight served aboard is absolutely divine and supplied by local wine shop and self-proclaimed tipple specialists "here to spread the word about great wine" - Kwoff. Specialising in such as the traditional cabernet sauvignon and the new blankbottle - the unique little unit on Silver Street in Bury also sells novelties including unicorn gin (yes really) and violet liqueurs.
The whole flagship dining experience is proving a sell-out, and it's not hard to see why - combing first-class food with superior service, from the elegant red carpet welcome to the tantalising wine pairing options with each course, it's a unique and quirky way to appreciate our city completely afresh and is one of the most lovely experiences to share with your loved one.
It's worth noting that the red rose dinner is adults-only, and will set you back around £60 a head - with optional extras including a wine flight, bottles and gourmet chocolate truffles, but the ELR also offer midweek luncheons, wine and spirit tasting journeys, and Murder Mystery dinners for those of you who consider yourself a bit of a Poirot - alongside of course, as always, proper old-fashioned Lancastrian fare!
Themes are as far-reaching as alien invasions and a Malice in Wonderland theme (think a frankly mad tea party with a heartless knave) and entertainment onboard is from the growing-in-fame After Dark Murder Mystery Events.
The whole feel of the thing is so headily authentic that it's instantly set apart from the rest. You'll feel as though you're right back in the midst of a secret supper oozing 1920s glamour - a breath of fresh air and something you'll remember long after the last of the wine's been supped.
Dining with Distinction makes tracks from Bury Bolton Station on chosen Fridays and Saturdays throughout the year.
2019 dates will be released on October 8th on the official website here.