I had never tried pulled pork until I started my sojourn in Manchester last year. I can now name half a dozen restaurants within a ten minute walk of my hotel that serve pulled pork, some better than others, and some very, very good.
Southern Eleven is located on Hardman Street in the chic Spinningfields area of central Manchester, at the southern end of Deansgate. It takes its name from the eleven southern United States that make up the American ‘barbecue belt’ (Alabama, Arkansas, the Carolinas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia). If you’re a fan of the American diner programmes on the food channel you’ll know what to expect.
The starters are interesting, deep fried pickles loaded nachos and so on, and while they’re delicious they detract from the excellent main courses.
As to the main courses, while there are vegetarian options (salads, the now ubiquitous mac & cheese) on the menu, the meat is undoubtedly the star of the show here. It’s said to be outdoor reared and sourced from Greaves & Sons, well respected local butchers. Meat that good deserves respect and it’s all cooked (if you’ll excuse the pun) with tender loving care. I’ve been a few times now and my personal favourite is the Southern tasting platter, comprising (18 hour smoked)- pulled pork, beef brisket, and succulent pork belly ribs, served with skinny parmesan/truffle fries although to date I’ve never managed to eat the fries. There’s that much meat! And that tasting platter costs an astonishing £12.95 – incredible value for money.
Drinks wise there’s an extensive range of cocktails, many of which are served ‘mix yourself’ – ideal if you’ve had a few pre-dinner drinks in the nearby ‘Alchemist’ cocktail bar – the selection of beers is a little disappointing, but don’t let that detract from an otherwise excellent dining experience.
I don’t do desserts, and have struggled to finish the main courses, so can’t comment on them.
The staff are knowledgeable and friendly, and on Tuesday evening there’s an all you can eat chicken and ribs deal for £14.95 – including a beer, what’s not to like?
My tip – skip the starters.