Sunday, January 5, 2014


Having things on the to-do list for months on end and never seeming to get round to them is one of the painful realities we will have to put up with until we finally get that lottery win and quit the day job. Visiting Gorilla's Group Therapy comedy night was one of those things. We really wanted to go, our comedy-loving friends Kat, Rob and Pearce are Group Therapy regulars and have always had an excellent time there, plus we had been hearing all sorts of praise for the amazing burgers and cocktails from highly trustworthy sources like Mrs Petticoat. Unfortunately the Group Therapy nights (last Saturday of the month) all happened to fall on the same night of the month as Levy Market (fourth Saturday of the month) - a time I am always so tired that I once fell asleep at the dinner table in Manchester Foodies' house (worst party guest... ever).

Unfortunately because we had this idea in our heads that we would wait to visit Gorilla when attending said Group Therapy, this seemed to stop us visiting the place full stop. Well, fortune smiled on us in November when there were five Saturdays in one month, and this also happened to be the month that one of our favourite comedians Adam Buxton would grace the stage! We were as excited about our tea as we were about the comedy and do you know what, both were great - we loved the food so much we went back for lunch the very next day!

So why do we love it? Firstly, the place itself is lovely. When in the restaurant area you can tell that you are in a railway arch - it is a slightly quirky but well thought-out and relaxed environment to drink and eat in.

Secondly, the booze. You can't argue with the fiver happy hour cocktail deal that they have going on. In the name of research I tried a few different ones, my favourite being the Aviation as recommended by Mrs Petticoat. For beer lovers, there is a selection of bottles and Sam Adams on tap. My only complaint booze-wise was that I was hugely disappointed on walking through to the Group Therapy venue expecting to continue the cocktail sipping, only to discover my only options were house spirits and overpriced cans of Punk IPA. Harumph.

Thirdly, the service exceeded our expectations. When Gorilla first opened we made the mistake of
assuming it would be tarred with the same brush of hipster/downright awful service as its big sister Trof. Fortunately they seem to have found employees who actually give a shit to work in Gorilla as our staff were friendly and attentive.

Pretty good Negroni
Fourthly, the food was great. Everyone knows Gorilla is famous for its burgers so it would have been rude for Bailey not to work his way through the burger menu over our two visits. The Herbed Lamb Burger (with aged cheddar) was easily one of the finest burgers he has ever munched, with his favourite thing being the generous smear of aioli. The Cheeseburger he tried the next day wasn't quite as luxurious and wasn't served as rare as the lamb, but was still a good burger.

Bailey couldn't resist upgrading his fries to the much talked about "deluxe" version - scattered with parmesan shavings and doused in truffle oil, delicious and a very appropriate use of the term "deluxe".

I discovered a couple of decent veggie options over the two days, staring with a tasty and satisfying Halloumi & Roast Pepper Kebab on the Saturday and Sweet Potato Wrap on the Sunday.

What I really liked though were the sides of Roast Butternut Squash and Puy Lentil, Tomato & Feta Salad, I was really glad I ordered these nicely flavoured healthy, little plates. I particularly enjoyed the crunchy pumpkin seeds on the squash.

Seeing as we were pretty much the last people on earth to pay our first visit to Gorilla, we don't think we really need to recommend the place in this blog post. What we do urge you to do though is pay Group Therapy a visit on the last Saturday of the month. What with a few changes to the Levy Market 'timetabling' currently in the pipeline, we for one are determined to make it a regular thing, and if you like comedy I would urge you to check out the impressive lineup for the next few months. Also, being the old fogies that we are, we loved being able to pop out for an early tea in the place where we would be spending the rest of the evening - minimum fuss! If all these things aren't reason enough to visit, did you know you get 20% off food with your Group Therapy ticket? No, nor did we! We will make sure we take full advantage of this deal next time though. See you there!

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