One thing that keeps me satisfied with Manchester restaurants and bars is when they offer a bit of ‘newness’ every so often. I mean, of course, every eatery focuses on new menus when there are season changes. But when something fresh and exciting is brought out, offering something separate from the main menu, it always gives the food reviewer in me something to get interested in.
The latest is the Buns and Bubbles menu from Cloud 23, following on from my last review of their unique Drunch menu offering. The Buns and Bubbles menu launched on the 1st February, focusing on three bao buns each with different fillings, paired with an elegant Asian inspired cocktail (or bubbles!), enjoyed above the clouds.
I feel like I have to add in the ‘above the clouds’ note because Cloud 23 really does give you that whole ‘wow’ experience for dining and drinks. If you want to book in for a brunch, lunch, afternoon tea of dinner and experience a lavish cocktail too, it makes such a difference when you are surrounded by stunning views of Manchester. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of the views on the 23rd floor of the Hilton Deansgate, and for that, Cloud 23 always remains a favourite.
Firstly, lets talk about the menu offering. Now I love Asian inspired food, and more so when washed down with a glass of fizz or a cocktail. And I won’t beat around the bush: Cloud 23 is known for having slightly higher priced cocktails, which tend to look like works of art and make for brilliant social media content!
So when I saw that this menu offered three large bao buns and a cocktail for £23, I felt this was pretty good value for this luxury location. Perfect for food and drinks after work, or on a weekend lunchtime with the girls (or your partner, as after all, more and more men are enjoying going out for cocktails!).
You have the choice to have each bun with a different filling, or a combination, or all 3 with the same filling – the choice is yours! You’ll also find a lovely list of cocktails to chose from along side a range of fizz and bubbles. I of course decided to try out a cocktail, and one of each bao bun filling…
Myself and my guest went for New Day Sparkles, a tall glass muddled with Kettle One vodka, Champagne, Melon Puree, Chinese Golden Syrup, Creme di Violette, orange bitters, passionfruit and mint. As you can tell form the photo below, it’s garnished with a sprinkling of fresh fruit too, and makes quite the picture perfect cocktail.
I’d highly recommend this cocktail from the list if you like a refreshing, fizzy and slightly sweet concoction. I also gave the Spice & Stormy cocktail a try too and although this one was particularly impressive to look at, it was slightly too lemon-y for me, making the New Day Sparkles my fave!
Now let’s take a look at the buns! OK so I could be biased but I ADORE Bao Buns, so to also spy Jackfruit as one of the fillings filled me with joy. Potentially the perfect offering for me. Either way, I am both a meat eater and an avid vegetarian/vegan food option fan so I decided to go for one of each filling.
This included Pork Belly with a Korean wing sauce and Chicken Katsu, with kimchi and curry mayonnaise. The pork was tender and you get a real good serving size stuffed into the softest, fluffiest and slightly sticky buns, where the sauce adds that extra bit of a ‘kick’.
I would say that my two favourites have to be the Chicken Katsu and the Pulled Jackfruit with cucumber and spring onion. The Chicken Katsu is just delicious, and I feel like everyone who is expecting a taste of the Wagamama style katsu will be in for a surprise. The curry mayonaise actually gives a creamier and cooler taste to the katsu, almost a little yoghurt like in my opinion. It was a delight to experience a different tasting katsu!
I’ve also only just recently gotten into Jackfruit, and I’m so pleasantly surprised by it. It’s juicy to taste and so flavoursome – works incredibly well with the soft bao buns.
The main thing to note here is that the size of the buns are pretty huge, meaning you certainly get a proper ‘meal’ sized portion here. I mean, we were greedy and then went on to choose a sharing platter of chocolate inspired desserts, but that’s because I have such a sweet tooth and don’t know when to stop!
Thank you Cloud 23 for hosting myself and my guest to share my review of the lovely new launch. Can’t fault it – excellent food, larger than expected sizes, unique cocktails and as always, a faultless dining space to enjoy the food and drinks.
You can see the full menu here.