Winning small plate fusion in an iconic and glamorous setting. Housed in Manchester’s iconic The Refuge Assurance Company dating back to 1858, this DJ-run restaurant and bar is large and sassy. There’s a Winter Garden; an enormous bar; a restaurant; and subterranean ballroom. The venue (as opposed to the wider Principal Hotel, of which it is a part) is run by Luke Cowdrey and Justin Crawford AKA DJ duo The Unabombers who were given the job on the coattails of their success with West Didsbury bar and restaurant, Volta. The dining room is all soaring ceilings and bright tiles, while service is friendly without being pushy. Food is still a focus though: think Middle East meets Manc via India. The whole menu is, bravely, small plates, or ‘Voltini’ as they’re called here. Highlights could include sticky cubes of Gloucester old spot pork belly with cumin and chimichurri, crispy lamb shawarma with harissa and yogurt or slow cooked ox cheek, egg and Sriracha. The rich and buttery black daal makhani and beetroot pakoras are a thrill while a pleasingly succinct wine list – with some accessible wines at £18 a bottle and six taps dedicated to regional craft beers – offer plenty of opportunities for fun and games. Sunday roast sharing boards are the stuff of legend, as are puddings like rhubarb and custard doughnuts, chocolate fondue and homemade Eccles cakes with Lancashire cheese. A truly enjoyable experience, day or night.
- Good for vegetarians