3twentyone, manchester

by thinhungrygirl

it’s not often that i come to blows with the other half about food. we tend to see eye to eye on lots of things – i trust his judgement, as he does mine.

well, i thought this was the case until we went to 3twentyone manchester and had probably one of the biggest bust ups of our relationship!

bbq food literally has the power to make or break us. (it didn’t, fair readers, but the drama is great right?)

3twentyone is based above the deansgate pub, an unassuming location near to the plush hilton hotel and around the corner from the somewhat seedy and usually frowned upon deansgate locks. there was the promise of a ‘smokehouse & liquor’ experience, so we were sold.

presented with our food and drinks menus, i instantly noticed a lack of anything liquor based – was it too much of me to expect at least a few cocktails? i was happy to drink my wine down, but this irked me already.

when it came to ordering, our starter options were the half rack of starter ribs and nachos.


WP_20130913_003the nachos were completely underwhelming, though it has been pointed out to me that y’know, there’s only so much you can do.  the ribs turned out to be the highlight of the entire meal – great spice, falling off the bone, and with that surprise pot of chips.

mains, however, were a different story. i chose the chicken stack, mr. thg the beef brisket handful/sandwich. after the waiter walked away, he came back to inform us they had neither. oh.

so then began the deliberation; the menu is full of tasty treats, but i was after something a bit ‘different’ i.e. not pulled pork (as much as i love it.)

we eventually went for a hanger steak and merchant of venice burger. a few moments after ordering, we heard the chef declare to the waiters that beef brisket was back on the menu. amazing, we thought, and asked to change the burger, which was fine – until one of the chefs in the back kitchen came out to complain to the ‘show’ chef in the open kitchen about the change in order. all within ear shot. sigh.


WP_20130913_008well, this is what we ended up with.  my hanger steak was tasty, but nowhere near the best i’ve had. it was left on the pass (open to public view) for at least 10 minutes, so arrived fairly cold, and i’d rather cut my own steak up. at least if it came in one there’d be less chance of it being cold!

the beef brisket handful was worth the daggers it came with; as soft as the bun it came on, with a nice sweetcorn relish, and more chips.

WP_20130913_007our sides consisted of corn on the cob and onion rings, firms favourites, and these were tasty. plus, thank god for whoever invented corn on the cob holders.

however, by this point in the meal i was feeling pretty dissapointed.

staff seemed lacking in that oomph, more concentrated on behind the scenes action than what was happening with our meal, and the food didn’t provide that bbq gluttony the menu promised.

perhaps i’m being a bit mean, or perhaps i’m just bitter that mr. thg’s meal was obviously better than mine, but i think 3twentyone will have to up its game to fight for its place in the manchester meat market.