As the Australians gather in the Oasis that is Manchester. HITC's Rana Malook reveals where the post match feasts can be had in the city.
If the cricketing fortune cookies prove lucky for Australian fans, their side might just prevent England securing the Ashes series in the upcoming third Test at the Emirates Old Trafford (EOT). Whether one believes in fortune or not however, when all is said and done and the Oz cricketing family return to their Island, Manchester is a city they're unlikely to forget in a hurry, not if I can help it.
Recent history shows the Australians as having a knack of making come backs in the third Test. If they decide to put up a fight again this time around, we could have a Test that actually lasts the five allocated days. This means the Australians (playing or non playing) visiting Manchester will have five nights to entertain themselves. But what to do? With the Australian team bound to have plenty of food for thought during the test, I felt a recommendation of eateries and drinking holes was in order. We are but accommodating souls here in the Land of Mancunia after all. The brochures at the hotels are likely to offer up the usual mundane options, the restaurants, bars and venues with all the advertising clout. But what of hidden gems? Not to worry, to help out (As an accommodating Mancunian host) I have kindly, albeit lightheartedly alloocated a plethora of places that might be of interest to each and every member of my Australian probable XI.
Australia's probable XI
Shane Watson, Chris Rogers, Usman Khawaja, Michael Clarke (capt), Steve Smith, David Warner, Brad Haddin (wk), Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris.
Chris Rogers - Odd Bar: Thomas Street, Northern Quarter Manchester (Distance from EOT approximately 4 Miles)
From his rather strange selection to his unorthodox technique, it might not be such a stretch to suggest that Rogers is a bit of an odd character. Highly unlikely to be playing Test cricket this time next year, Rogers is currently a short term fix in the Australian squad, hardly a central figure. The same can't be said for Odd Bar, a jewel in the crown of Manchester's bohemian Mecca that is the Northern Quarter. A comprehensively unpretentious bar and much like Rogers, everything about this place is defined by its given name. As well as having an impressive drinks and food menu first time visitors will love the collection of Odd souvenirs people have left here. Perhaps Rogers can leave one of his own, a replica of his baggie green perhaps?
Peter Siddle - Greens Restaurant: Lapwing Lane, Didsbury Manchester (Distance from EOT approximately 4.7 miles)
I'm unsure if celebrity Chef Simon Rimmer is a cricket fan, but if he is perhaps Vicious Sid can entice him with a few tickets in exchange for reservations at this renowned Vegan eatery in the leafy suburbs of West Didsbury. Opened 23 years ago, this Vegi-licious Restaurant has established a well deserved reputation amongst herbivores across the North West.
Shane Watson - 47 Kings Street West Restaurant/Bar &Tea rooms, Manchester (Distance from EOT approximately 2.8 miles)
Known affectionately by cricket fans around the world as the 50 king, Watson is currently on 46 first class half centuries and will be looking to make it 47 in Manchester in the next couple of days. Sources tell me he did make it to 47 this morning, 47 King Street West that is. The Australian opening batsman was spotted having a spot of breakfast with wife Lee Watson and newborn son Will Watson. In less than two years this eatery has built up an army of fans across Manchester, Chester and Liverpool. No mean feat, considering the famous San Carlo's is just across the road.
David Warner: - Dough Pizza Kitchen, Manchester Northern Quarter (Distance from EOT approximately 4 miles)
The hard "hitting" batsman has had his fair share of "Doh" moments in the last few months but all that's history. A safer option for Warner during the evenings this week would be to have a Dough-tastic time at this award winning Pizzeria in the Northern Quarter while he is in Manchester. There is a large variety of Pizzas freshly made to cater for everyone. The atmosphere is homely despite the decor upholding the modern chique feel of the area. What's more, Apotheca (the restaurant's sister cocktail bar) next door is ideally placed should Warner help the Australians to an unlikely victory.
Usman Khawaja - Vermillion & Cinnabar, Lord North Street Manchester(Distance from EOT, approximately 5 miles)
Manchester has a long list of incredible halal restaurants. The likes of East z East, Nawab and Mughli Knutsford all come to mind. However when it comes to a five star overall dining experience, Vermillion is tough to beat. No expenses were spared when the Pan-Asian restaurant opened 6 years ago, with the interior design being the brain child of the world renowned Miguel Cancio Martins. Furthermore the restaurant boasts the best seafood options the North West has to offer thanks to its links with Seamark. Regardless of the outcome of the Test match, Khawaja and his team mates might want the privacy of the cocoons upstairs in the Cinnabar, to relax with a few refreshing cocktails.
Mitchell Starc, Ryan Harris - Bem Brazil Deansgate, Manchester. (Distance from EOT, approximately 2.5 miles)
These two Australian quicks may have to bowl a few more marathon spells at EOT. With the muscle cells in the body taking a pounding, Starc and Harris will need plenty of protein to replace/repair those muscle cells. Luckily for them, Bem Brazil is all about a seemingly endless supply of succulent barbecued meat.
Steven Smith, Ashton Agar, Phil Hughes - Sapporo Teppanyaki, Liverpool road Manchester (Distance from EOT, approximately 2.5 miles)
Australia's three young musketeers will most likely look for fun and enjoyable after match culinary activities, Sapporo Teppanyaki fits that bill rather well. Not only is the food absolutely delicious, dining here is simple unadulterated fun. The multi-talented chefs aren't there just to cook your food but will thrill you with their sense of humour and a mixed bag of tricks.
Brad Haddin - Australasia, Spinningfields Manchester (Distance from EOT Approximately 2.5 miles)
Wicket keeping has proved a tough gig for Haddin. Much like the bowlers there's been very little time to put the feet up in between innings. It's unlikely therefore that he's likely to venture too far out of Manchester during the match for some grub. The close proximity of Australasia and the chance to taste the pacific rim flavours in this Australian restaurant might prove irresistible.
Michael Clarke - Belle Epoque, Knutsford Cheshire (Distance from EOT approximately 17 miles)
The pressure of the Ashes perhaps weighs heaviest on the shoulders of the Australian captain. A quick getaway for a relaxing evening with the wife to switch off and recharge the batteries is his likely plan of action. Nestled in the affluent suburb of Knutsford just outside Manchester Belle Epoque could well be the answer. The family run restaurant has been around for over three decades and provides a cosy environment for an English countryside dining experience like no other.