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Restaurant review - Southern 11, Spinningfields, Manchester

PUBLISHED: 08:50 12 January 2015 | UPDATED: 12:18 19 January 2016

Pulled pork bun with added chicken & beef

Pulled pork bun with added chicken & beef

not Archant

We get a taste for down-home all-American BBQ...right here in Manchester

Southern Eleven in Spinningfields, ManchesterSouthern Eleven in Spinningfields, Manchester

Those paid to eat food and then write about it have been musing for some time about ‘Peak Burger’. Have we reached a peak in what was so oddly dubbed ‘dirty’ cuisine, now that the stuff is so ubiquitous? Are the faddish foodies destined to fall out of love with meat in a bun and seek the next culinary craze?

As I square up to the beefy, flame-grilled delight which is the Southern 11 Burger, I have no hesitation in answering that question; ‘Hell, no!’ Particularly here in the north of England, where many of us admit a deep-seated suspicion of meals which seem to entail no more than a speck and a smear on the plate, the burger revolution was like an emancipation, an admission of our true nature. There’s no going back.

Southern 11 - the first American-style BBQ restaurant in Manchester, recently re-launched - is much more than a burger joint, though burgers are certainly at the heart of the offer.

There is pulled pork, beef brisket, pit-roast chicken, ribs galore, a positive celebration of carnivorousness in plates such as the ‘Bone Yard’ - a £21.95 selection of all the restaurant’s ribs. There’s also a ‘Manc v Food’ challenge involving a monster burger and ‘suicide wings’. Pass.

Quesadilla with short rib burnt ends, jalapeno, cheddar cheeseQuesadilla with short rib burnt ends, jalapeno, cheddar cheese

Southern 11 was opened in 2011 in Manchester’s food and finance quarter Spinningfields. Owner James Hitchen (also responsible for New York-style Neighbourhood in Spinningfields, and the swish Victor’s in Hale) found himself working in a BBQ house in Tennessee, learning how to slow-cook slabs of pork and serve up lip-smacking ribs. He perfected the art back home, and launched Southern 11, catching a wave of affection for belly-filling American fare.

On offer at Southern 11 is a mighty fine house burger (£10), with which I opted for a £1.50 slathering of guacamole from the list of ‘fixings’. We had already feasted on a selection of ‘Lil’ Plates’ including quesadilla (burnt ends of short rib, wrapped in tortillas with jalapeno and cheese), Lil’ sausage links (delicious fat smoky sausages, served in a cowboy-style tin tray with a feisty chilli sauce), loaded baby skins (little half-spuds filled with pulled pork and BBQ sauce), and, best of all, fried chicken - tender meat in a crusty shell of cajun spice.

These sharing plates were so tasty and such good value (£5.75 for the quesadilla, all the rest under a fiver) that on our next visit, we’ll simply dine on a selection of these...Tennessee tapas!

The food’s right, the cocktails are fabulous and so is the ambience: bare brick, untreated wood, tables of charred timber and lampshades made of chicken wire. It’s raw roadhouse chic, hilariously at odds with the steel and glass modernism of Spinningfields. But it was buzzing with life on our visit. Join the party, but be prepared to loosen your belt a couple of notches.

Southern 11, 3 Hardman Street, Spinningfields, M3 3EB, 0161 832 0482, www.southern11.co.uk

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