With a looming work trip to Manchester, I started digging around on the internet for somewhere interesting to have a casual dinner with an old friend. Gorilla holds the award for Best Burger in Manchester, so booking a table there was a no-brainer.
It was absolutely pouring with rain when Kirsten and I dashed into Gorilla, under the railway tracks on Whitworth Street West. Gorilla multitasks as a bar, restaurant, live music venue and club.
The interior is amazing, utilising the bunker-like railway arch to its full potential, keeping the original brickwork, alongside rustic and industrial touches and plush booths overlooking the main bar below.
It was a Friday night and the place was buzzing, with drinkers filling the ground floor bar, and groups of girls and guys, dressed up to the nines, dining.
Our table was in the Gin Parlour, located on the mezzanine, and stocked with the top gins from around the world – small batch, hand-crafted distillations and a huge variety of styles – alongside other top spirits, to create an interesting and lengthy cocktail menu.
Kirsten’s G&T-with-a-twist was complemented by a homemade tonic syrup and fresh grapefruit to make it a pretty special tipple. My New York Sour was a bourbon-based cocktail on the rocks, with a red wine float – a novel addition to my favourite style of drink that somehow (oddly) worked.
The food menu is broad and award-winning, and includes hearty salads, chargrilled burgers, roast chicken, kebabs and steaks. If visiting for brunch (which I would suggest you do), the in-house bakery provides the freshest sourdough, brioche, muffins and cakes, served alongside shakes and Fair Trade coffees.
We chowed down on chicken kebabs and hot dogs before dashing back out into the vile weather to catch a train home.
Gorilla is a real find – it’s one of those all-rounders which would work for a date, a big group of friends or even colleagues, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks or dancing – and I would certainly go back.
54-56 Whitworth Street, Manchester, M1 5WW
Reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org / 0161 407 0301