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Steak pie | © WikiCommons
Steak pie | © WikiCommons
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A Gravy Bar Is Opening in Manchester, but Is it too Good to Be True?

Picture of Andrew Webb
Food & Drink Editor
Updated: 28 March 2017
News out this week that a new gravy bar is opening in Manchester got Culture Trip’s northern food editor licking his lips, but is it all a big hoax?

Perhaps it was only a matter of time before someone rode the current trend for single item venues (we’re looking at you cereal cafe and crisps restaurants) and opened a gravy bar. The line between hipster and irony is now tissue paper thin it seems.

Naturally this, and I quote from their website ‘deluxe cuisinery’, is set to open in the Northern Quarter (or ‘near Affleck’s Palace’ as it used to be known). We’re not sure ‘cuisinery’ is even a proper word, but hey, grammar be damned, there’s gravy to be had, or is there?

Looking at the menu there’s a few items that just seem a little strange. There’s the flavours for a start, from classic – fair enough – to ‘founders reserve’, which is apparently ‘finished’ in a sherry cask. Next there’s things to put your gravy on. Pies are there, as is a giant Yorkshire pudding, but then you can also bring your own pie, or even a Thermos to fill up with gravy. And, says the website: ‘Forgot your flask? Our gravysmiths have branded hip-flasks behind the bar.’ Gravy, from a hip flask?

What’s on the menu at the Gravy Bar?

Things get really weird in the ‘extras’ part of the menu. Quinoa as a topping is described as ‘the popular pseudo cereal, with a delicious “oniony” tang.’ Could this be a veiled pop at the cereal cafe or a reference to top silly fake news site, The Onion? Finally the addition of hundreds and thousands, the multicoloured sugary confections, is not something your average lad from Wythenshawe puts on gravy.

Is Manchester’s Gravy Bar a hoax?

Maybe it is, maybe they’re just building anticipation? But hip flasks, crazy toppings, pseudo cereal, no location details, and wooden whittled ladles reminiscent of Hackney’s very own spoon carver, ‘Barn the Spoon’. If it is a hoax or April fool, it’s a good one. Food is ripe for a good gag – it was Panorama who famously spoofed the entire nation with their spaghetti harvest story in 1957.

‘as tha nowt moist?

Hoax or not, gravy is in Mancunians’ blood, indeed in 2010 one Manchester restaurant even served gravy with fish pie. If you grew up in the north, chips and gravy is as close as we get to soul food. Southerners don’t really do gravy, or mushy peas, as Peter Kaye famously explored in this sketch. As for the Gravy Bar, we’ll just have to wait and see…