Anyone that knows me will know that one of my favourite pastimes is checking out new restaurants. I absolutely love eating out, and probably do so more than I eat at home (don’t judge). You can imagine my excitement, then, when I got my hands on a voucher for 50% off all food at The Cosy Club, Manchester. Messaging my two close friends, Rebecca and Liam, I told them about the deal and we arranged to meet at The Cosy Club for food and a catch up one miserable Wednesday evening after we’d all finished work.
The Cosy Club is part of The Corn Exchange, a Grade 2 listed building dating back to the early 1900’s, and it still boasts lots of original features including the grand staircase, tiles and domed glass ceiling in the bar area. Although it is definitely cosy (as the name would suggest), eclectic might be a better way to describe this weird and wonderful place. Stuffed antelope heads and crystal chandeliers sit alongside vintage lampshades and oil paintings, with the decor ranging from floral wallpaper and mahogany pannelling to exposed bricks and industrial piping. As you may expect, the furniture is in-keeping with the eclectic feel, with leather and suede armchairs in vibrant colours sitting alongside stiff-backed wooden chairs and blue tables.
The vibe itself feels relaxed and unpretentious (which can be a rarity in Manchester!) and the staff were super attentive and friendly. The other customers seemed to be just like us – friends in their twenties and thirties meeting up for a gossip and a bite to eat, although Liam commented that it would be a great place to go for a first date as it is semi-romantic (oh hey mood lighting!), while not feeling too formal. The music is also low enough not to interfere with conversations, but just loud enough that it prevents you from being able to hear what the people on the next table are talking about (and with the conversations that my friends and I have, that can only be a good thing!
Between 4-8pm Sunday to Thursday, The Cosy Club has a happy hour where you can get any two cocktails for just £9.95. Although Becky and Liam weren’t interested (Becky was being sensible and Liam is faithful to his Sauvignon Blanc), I’d spotted Bloody Marys on the menu and so I wasn’t about to pass up the chance to indulge in my favourite tipple! Much to my surprise, I was allowed to choose two different cocktails (most places insist that both cocktails have to be the same), and I was even able to have them brought over one at a time!
The Bloody Mary was to die for. Not only did the waiter ask me how spicy I wanted it (he promised me a 12/10 and oh boy, did he deliver), but The Cosy Club have also given the classic recipe a fun twist with a dash of Malbec, horseradish and Chase smoked vodka in addition to the Smirnoff base.
For my second, I opted for a Cherry Bakewell, which arrived after I’d finished my meal and was the perfect dessert. Comprised of cherry juice, Amaretto, Ron Barcelo rum and caramel syrup, it was sickly sweet but oh so delicious, and had my friends been on the cocktail train, I would definitely have been tempted to sample some more of their extensive menu.
As far as grub goes, The Cosy Club has got it covered. Specialising in ‘luxury comfort food,’ with full vegan and gluten-free menus to boot, they really do cater for all. From ‘Cosy Fish Pie’ and good old Fish and Chips to Moroccan Tabbouleh and Beetroot and Goat’s Cheese salad, there is something to suit every taste.
To start, Becky opted for cheesy garlic bread (£2.50), while me and Liam decided to take advantage of the tapas deal (three plates for £11.95). Although it was difficult to pick just three, we eventually settled on garlic mushrooms, buttermilk chicken with chipotle mayo and king prawns in garlic and parsley butter, served with hot ciabatta.
Although I found the chicken slightly dry (Liam had no complaints), I have to hand it to The Cosy Club for their king prawns. I love my seafood, and I can confidently say that these prawns were the best ones I’ve ever tasted. They were juicy, they were flavoursome, and the portion size was actually bigger than I was expecting as well.
For our mains, Becky chose buttermilk chicken with triple cooked chips, chipotle mayo and house slaw (£9.95), which she loved. Not only did it look yummy, but the portion size was pretty impressive as well, especially for the price! Liam opted for the slightly fancier roasted chicken breast filled with mozzarella, tomatoes and pesto, wrapped in smoked bacon and served with peppers, kale, parmesan potatoes and a balsamic dressing (£13.95). He commented that the chicken was ‘juicy and full of flavour,’ and especially loved the parmesan potatoes.
And yours truly? Well, I went for the slow-cooked pork belly with a pea and ham hock croquette, kale, mustard mash and cider gravy (£14.50), and I did not regret it. The pork was juicy and succulent, and although I’m not a huge mustard fan, the potatoes and kale went beautifully together. My only critique would be that it could have used slightly more gravy, but that’s really only a minor thing.
I loved my experience at The Cosy Club. Granted, everything sure tasted a lot sweeter with our 50% off voucher, but even if we’d paid full price, I still think that The Cosy Club is excellent value. Three tapas dishes for £11.95 is a steal, and the portion sizes of each main course were more than generous (not to mention tasty!).
Service was excellent, and as mentioned earlier, I really appreciated the fact that I was allowed to enjoy my cocktails at my own leisure rather than being brought both at once (which is usually the case whenever there is a ‘2-4-1’ deal or something similar). However, what really made our experience special was the beautiful atmosphere of The Cosy Club. The fabulous decor, low lighting and soft music made for an intimate experience that allowed us to catch up with each other without worrying about other tables overhearing our conversations or uptight servers judging us for laughing too loudly or wearing the wrong clothes.
Have you ever been to The Cosy Club? What did you think? Do you have any other recommendations for me in Manchester centre? Let me know in the comments section!