All hail Tariff and Dale

Thursdays are my favourite day. You’ve gone through the drudge and tedium of the start of the week. 

The creation of calling Wednesday hump day and celebrating its middle of the working week ‘ness’ does nothing for me. It’s still not the end of the week and produces nothing more than an internal struggle to not party like it’s Thursday. It’s the equivalent of, I’m reliably told, the 20 mile point of the marathon. Make or break. It’s dangerous. If you break and go down the path of ‘having a nice time’, you still have two more days at work. The regret and guilt of ‘having a nice time’ is palpable and not cushioned by it being part of the weekend by any stretch of the imagination. Not like a Thursday is. In fact if you go out pre-Thursday, you may as well shoot up at your desk at 9.30am on the Monday morning, such is the size of the veil of hedonistic shame that is drawn over you (no drama to see here, move along).

Thursdays are good. You’ve earned it and have the whole weekend still ahead of you.

This particular Thursday I decided to ‘have a nice time’ at Tariff and Dale.


don’t be put off – my friend and i had an early reservation, it soon filled up

As the website and indeed dining literature says, its 2 Tariff Street address is a creation of their own, yet the building is steeped in industrial history, and its infrastructure is a fantastic testament to this. 

see mum, it’s not rude to read at the table after all
A bit of a labyrinth finding your way round, once I’d finally found my way from the restaurant to the rest room and back again, I was relaxed enough to enjoy the quirks of the building, especially the exposed nature of the ladies room (I’m talking bricks and mortar, do not fear).

Candles are the order of the day, feeding my preference for mood lighting (going out straight from work does nothing for the bags under your eyes and my friend and co-diner is younger than me and very pretty).


she’d gone to the loo, i’m not inventing friends

I’m not intending for this blog to be a full on attempt at a food and drink review, more a commentary on Manc life and all that’s going on. This is a good job as enjoying our food so much, I forgot to take pics until the end and my friend selfishly forgot to remind me (her pork belly special, I’m told, was great and she’s a self-confessed food snob). I went with the air dried ham, goats cheese and red onion sour dough pizza. 

you get offered three types of oil for your pizza! three.

The open kitchen is there in all its glory and pizza oven in full flow. Service is fantastic – non-intrusive and incredibly tolerant of two people still not having chosen their drinks. And then their food. And then their desserts when asked for a third time (we hadn’t seen each other for a while), and even went off menu when a smaller measure of wine was requested, which was not optioned on the menu (I’d love to pretend I was involved in this exchange).

their pizza shovel is better than our pizza shovel.


bread and butter pudding – I’m told it was delicious. i just don’t understand the concept myself but Tariff and Dale clearly do

To sum up, don’t be silly like me and be put off by having to book via an email. A lover of the online booking system, this minor inconvenience led me to swerve their fantastic 50% off food January offer for a convenient click elsewhere. But then I am very, as I say, silly and glad I got over myself. 

Having taken a cocktail in the upstairs bar previously (anyone read the hilarious review of Tripadvisor recently where someone was very sad having been refused service after knocking her drink over at the end of the night? She was not drunk, no siree), I’m glad I cottoned on (there’s a tenuous link I’m drawing on for this pun – read the literature) to the restaurant.


Hotel Football (bloody hell*)

First job is to clarify I’m not a red. I’m not even a blue. I’m a blue and white halves. Declaring yourself as an honorary manc is one thing. Should this be extended to declaring yourself to be an honorary Manchester United fan is simply just… I was going to say ‘glory hunting’ but I forgot about…

My husband (let’s call him the Rabid Mime) is a red and for that reason I thought I’d give him the honour of spending Valentine’s Day with two things he loves: Old Trafford and Vimto (you get free fizzy Vimto!).


mini-bar with free sweeties


Should you want to, and can, ignore the big football stadium next door, Manchester United is not in your face. To be honest there is a thrill involved in opening your curtains to this view, no matter what your persuasion.


Morning glory (glory Man Utd…)


It would be foolish to not extend the brand to football in general, so as not to limit its appeal, and from the Panini sticker book decor in the corridors to the beguiling artwork in the bar, the hotel celebrates the beautiful game well but not too well, if you see what I mean.


“Bobby Moore wasn’t ginger.” “Yes he was?!”


Basic housekeeping – check in was swift, polite (allowing us into our room a couple of hours early), the room was great and, well, the housekeeping actually not so basic. I’ll be bold and even say ‘good’. Lovely comfy bed and Sky Sports in abundance on the TV (yay…).

bet you thought you’d have to sleep under a giant Man U top – you don’t


hair left lovely, soft and clean by number 2…


an early shower worth fighting for


Brief foray into Cafe…Football, yes, for some Valentine’s dining. Once we’d stopped basically just listing chocolate bars, we took the time to order. My overriding memory is my glee at the notion of a three pie starter.

count ’em


birds in a basket


All in all, it’s a very nice hotel, good at its usp and you feel very well looked after. Watch the prices as they fluctuate, depending on what the neighbours are upto.

To paraphrase the late, great George Best, we spent (not a) lot of money at Hotel Football on booze, birds in a basket and pies. The rest we just squandered.

*someone please get this

Lost in Tokyo – don’t send out the search party just yet…

I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for a cellar, basement, anywhere that involves a descent to a drink, bar. This is one of the latest to hit the Northern Quarter and had me at the title. 

Three visits in and I’m sold. From the mix of intimate tables and booths (Lord am I a sucker for a booth), the pretty low-lit lanterns and the elegant but verging on tongue in cheek touches to the cocktails, the hideaway on Stevenson Square delivers classic NQ with a different enough twist to keep things fresh.

And speaking of such things, I shall return to the cocktails.

I am by no means a cocktail bore. My general philosophy has always been why ruin a perfectly good spirit or glass of champagne by adding all and sundry. However, I have had my head turned a little here.

Tapping into the new penchant for  vanilla vodka, Memoirs of a Geisha not only delivers beautiful flavours but a prop no Japanese Doll should be without – a pretty, paper fan (step aside, ironic umbrellas).

Whilst I would also recommend the Asa Akira (a picture, a peg and some prosecco – it’s all there) and the Spirited Away, I am by no means finished with making my way through the menu 
Having previously visited with a drinking partner who was drawn in by the Japanese Lager on offer, it wasn’t until my third visit with my imouto that i realised that to buy two of these wonderful creations, is to pay just £10. 

I’m advised that the bar also does a mean line in Japanese whiskies. All I can say on this front is they do sell them, yes. I’ve not had them and this isn’t a press release. 

I can’t describe the soundtrack really. Rock-y? Pop-y? I recall Queen and Michael Jackson. Unexpected, but I don’t know exactly would have fulfilled my probably cliched expectations; the Kill Bill soundtrack? The Vapors’ anthem for onanism?

To conclude, and paraphrase my latter, lazy Japanese-related reference, will I return ? I really think so.