Friday Night Al Fresco – A Review of Southern Eleven Manchester

Southern Eleven is easily in my top ten places to eat…ever! It’s a winner every time and my go-to place when I have visitors.It oozes comfortable sophistication, in a buzzing atmosphere in Spinningfields, central Manchester.
It’s not your average diner food or setting, instead it’s a cool cocktail bar and restaurant serving-up gastronomic delights with an open kitchen and a seriously stylish interior.You look around and you’re surrounded by young-professionals, families, first-daters, girls-night-outers and regulars – this place has a lot of regulars.
What I’m saying is, it’s a mixed-crowd as everyone loves Southern Eleven and everyone fits in. It’s a pleaser on every level. This is basically because the food is out-standing. It’s authentic, careful and delicious. The owners and chefs take great pride in making sure they get everything right, from the mouth-watering menu, locally-sourced produce, authentic cooking techniques and unique twists like the ‘Shake your own cocktails’. It’s a fun place to be, with prompt service and an effortlessly cool vibe.
Ok, you probably get the idea now…I like Southern Eleven!
Now on to the menu…For this outing, we had 2 guests in tow from oversees; cool twenty-somethings who were hoping to experience some of what Manchester’s best food has to offer. It was a balmy Friday evening and Spinningfields was alive and buzzing with live music, pop-up bars and deck-chairs on The Lawns. We were lucky enough to have a booth outside on Southern Eleven’s courtyard, so we could enjoy our dining experience Al Fresco (a rarity in Manchester) and take in the atmosphere.Reserved Table southern 11

So onto drinks…what was our poison?

Southern 11 menusMe and hubby Southern 11Samara and Claire happy to be at Southern 11

Two of us went for their refreshingly tasty ‘Gin & Jazz’ from the ‘Signature Cocktails’ menu, which was served in a chilled jar filled with crushed-ice and finished with a sprig of mint. Perfect for a hot Summer’s evening. Mmmmm…

Gin and jazz cocktail Southern 11

The rest of us (the more adventurous types) went for something from their ‘Shake Your Own Cocktails’ menu. This is a really nice idea of Southern Eleven, which is a fun and interactive way of serving the cocktails and gives a bit of va-va-voom at the dinner table. We chose the ‘Berried Daq’ which was a mixture of strawberries, blackberries, vanilla, Bacardi, Chamboard and finished with fresh raspberries. Delicious and easy to drink! We received a board with all our ingredients in shot glasses, a chilled cocktail glass and of course the cocktail shaker.

Shake your own cocktail Southern 11Berried Daq cocktail southern 11

After combining our ingredients and a good shakey-shake, our cocktails were ready to pour.

Shaking our own cocktail Southern 11

With a great sense of satisfaction, we enjoyed our creation immensely!

Sipping my Berried Daq cocktail Southern 11

Then onto the food…we had the Deep Fried Pickle Spears to start, which are a must-have if you visit Southern Eleven. They are seriously delicious, light, crispy and packed full of flavour. I’ve seen people who despise pickles, munch into these bad-boys like there’s no tomorrow. A minimum of 2 orders at the table is a necessity.

Claire happy to be at Southern 11

Then onto the mains… I have the same predicament every time – do I try something new? I’ve eaten a fair selection of the menu and believe me, it’s all outstanding, but I always come back to the same two things – the Tender Pulled Pork (served with coleslaw, jalapeno corn bread and parmesan truffle fries) or the Southern Tasting Platter (a selection of smoked pulled pork, beef brisket, pork belly ribs and parmesan truffle fries). This time I went for the latter. Absolutely delicious as always, with succulent meat that melts in your mouth, crispy skinny fries and a killer homemade BBQ sauce. (I might have also accidentally ordered the Mac & Cheese and Sweetcorn Pudding on the side too! It would’ve been rude not to!).

Southern tasting platter southern 11

Two of us had the platter and the other two of us enjoyed the BBQ Slider Selection (mini burgers filled with pulled pork, beef brisket and 100% beef rump with all the fixings, served with coleslaw and parmesan truffle fries). We all had food-envy of each other’s dishes, but funnily-enough didn’t want to share!

BBQ Slider Selection Southern 11

So with satisfied smiles-on-faces we ate our way through the deliciousness in front of us and enjoyed every mouthful. Sadly and is often the case with my visits to Southern Eleven, we filled our tums with so much savoury goodness, that we couldn’t quite squeeze in dessert. But seriously, if you can, do! Again, I’ve tried a fair few of their sweety-treats and they are well worth ordering and do not disappoint…the same with their milkshakes!

OK, so there we have it – a review of Southern Eleven, Manchester! I’m actually salivating as I type this, so I think that’s my cue to wrap-up…

For me, Southern Eleven is a definite 5 stars.

Have you been? What do you think? Comment below.

If you’ve got any suggestions of restuarants I should be eating at, please like and comment on my Hollygoeslightly Facebook Page.

  • http://richard-wood.co.uk/ Rich Wood

    Huge fan!

  • ppolo99

    Heard a lot of good things but I never really venture down spinningfields way. This will have to change, looked amazing! Cheers

    • hollynicol

      Yes please do head down, I know you’ll be impressed! Let me know how you get on. Holly

  • broguesb4hoes

    I’ll preamble my comments below by saying I definitely do enjoy Southern 11. I do. Great location, great for groups, and some really tasty food.

    For me, it has one glaring problem that no one ever seems to comment on. Having travelled the US these last few years, I like to think I’ve had my fair share of good BBQ, especially in the southern states – which Southern 11 obviously draws its inspiration from. BBQ is wholesome, hearty, soulful food, with no frills presentation, where the meat is the star of the show. This is where Southern 11 falls down for me.

    Instead of big portions served on plates or in baskets, we get pulled pork and slivers of brisket neatly placed on wooden boards, coleslaw in jam jars, and beans served in iron pots. It just feels like everything that makes BBQ so special is taking a back seat, so that the bright lights and fancy presentation can take center stage over the actual food.

    As I say, the food tastes great, but if the cost of the meal wasn’t subsidising the cost of the serving platter and the location, and instead went on bigger portions, this would be a much better restaurant.

    I would love to see Manchester get something like Red’s “True Barbecue” from Leeds..

    • hollynicol

      Thanks for your comment and I totally get what you’re saying. However, I think we have to take into account a few things, mainly: a) location and setting AND b) audience. I think Southern 11 have done particularly well in introducing quality authentic American food to a new audience and generally a young, professional, trendy (I hate the word trendy!) group. Therefore the decor, wooden boards and copper pots will tick a lot of boxes for them (as it does me) as it’s somewhere you feel like you’re not skimping on when you take the parents or mates out to eat. It’s more than just a ‘burger-joint’ I guess. I’m always an advocate for value for money and large portions though :-) I think they’ve found a middle ground that appeals to the majority.

      I haven’t tried Red’s True Barbecue – but will be sure to go along and write a post on here about it – thanks for the recommendation!

      • broguesb4hoes

        “I think they’ve found a middle ground that appeals to the majority”.

        Agreed, I don’t know a single person who dislikes anything about Southern 11.

        Considering how diverse this city is, we definitely need some more homely and authentic BBQ, Mexican, and Caribbean restaurants, in my opinion.

        • http://hollygoeslightly.co.uk/ Holly Wood

          Totally agree :-)

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