Review: Escape to Freight Island

PUBLISHED: 14:52 26 August 2020 | UPDATED: 15:12 26 August 2020

Hidden in plain sight, Escape to Freight Island is a welcome addition to Manchester's dining scene

Hidden in plain sight, Escape to Freight Island is a welcome addition to Manchester's dining scene

Jody Hartley

Escape to Freight Island offers more than just stand-out street food

Voodoo Rays offers huge 22-inch pizzasVoodoo Rays offers huge 22-inch pizzas

Going out for dinner is a luxury many of us took for granted, myself included. For someone who loves to eat out at every available chance they get, being stuck cooking at home for months hasn’t been the most enjoyable way to spend my time. Yes, I admit it has made me more inventive when it comes to meal planning, but it’s also made me incredibly excited at returning to my favourite restaurant spots as well as trying the new ones that have popped up. After hearing about Escape to Freight Island, I was intrigued. Alfresco dining has become a huge thing this summer, table and chairs are lining the streets, and with the sun shining, it almost makes up for not going abroad (almost). Escape to Freight Island took over the forgotten Mayfield Depot in the city centre which has been reimagined as an urban landscape built around a food market with a selection of bars and a wide range of seating, all with social distancing in mind.

When I first walked into Platform 15, the first stage of the concept to launch with a 600-space capacity, I completely understood why they’ve been booked up none-stop since opening. Live music has helped create that festival feeling we’ve all missed this summer and the sound of laughter, filled the array of seating on offer. This was all seen on a Thursday, so I expect the vibe on the weekend will be even more atmospheric.

Madre tacos are the perfect small platesMadre tacos are the perfect small plates

Everything is ordered through the app to keep everything socially distanced and safe and it worked seamlessly. Our drinks arrived in no time, and we sipped on deliciously chilled glasses of prosecco whilst we perused the options on offer. First, my friend and I decided to try the slices of pizza from Voodoo Rays, as we were tempted by the huge boxes making their rounds. Be warned, the slices are huge and reminiscent of those American slices we see splashed on our screens. My friend opted for a classic Margherita whilst I went for the Giorgio Moroder, slightly unusual name but delicious with toppings of goats’ cheese, sun-blush tomatoes, courgette, mozzarella, and basil. The waiters were attentive in delivering items and clearing away, all with a cheerful demeanor.

Next, we sampled the tacos from Madre, and we weren’t disappointed. Though on the spicy side, my favourite had to be the pork taco which combined a green salsa made with tomatillo and jalapeño with sweet pineapple. These small plates are the perfect way to start a night of eating and drinking.

Krum doughnuts are a vegan delightKrum doughnuts are a vegan delight

If I had to choose a favourite, then Krum stole the show. A menu of artisanal vegan doughnuts is on offer, alongside a range of sorbets and coffee. Spoilt for choice, I went for a selection of doughnuts, because when is one ever enough and my mind was blown. If I didn’t already know they were vegan, I would never have guessed. They were warm, delicious, full of flavour and one of the very reasons I’ll be heading back to Escape to Freight Island. Though I hear they also offer a delivery to some parts of Manchester.

Though the food and drink are top-notch, Escape to Freight Island is more than just a place to go for some tasty street food. It offers a way to enjoy Manchester’s nightlife in a safe and socially distanced way. Grabbing a group of pals, sharing one of the 22-inch pizzas and some ice-cold craft beer, is the perfect way to kickstart a great weekend. With a strong line up of performers and DJ’s, it’s destined to become a key player in Manchester’s ever-growing nightlife. When the sun is shining, it’ll be the go-to place to enjoy it and even when the weather inevitably goes cold, wet and windy, there is a range of ways to avoid it with covered seating and still have a good time.

Escape to Freight Island came at the perfect time when the need to escape was at its highest. Platform 15 just offers a taste of what they plan to achieve with this urban escape, and I for one, can’t wait to see what else they have to offer. Book your table at escapetofreightisland.com

Escape to Freight Island isn’t the only place we’ve been lucy enough to visit, see our latest review at Gaucho Manchester for a taste on what COVID secure dining looks like.

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