Is there a better way to spend a sunny northern summer’s afternoon than at The Lowry listening to singer Rob King while sipping Sipmith’s orange and cacao gin and enjoying a selection of small plates from Pier Eight? The answer is no.
Pier Eight, the restaurant and bar at The Lowry, has launched its new waterside terrace leading to the edge of the Manchester Ship Canal with comfortable deckchairs and picnic-style tables where pleasure boats occasionally pass. When I visited, it was the perfect day to enjoy the view with cobalt blue skies and not a hint of a cloud.
Singer Rob King, who works at The Lowry, has enjoyed huge success as a vocalist and presenter after he reached the semi-final of Britain’s Got Talent, which was filmed at The Lowry, in 2019.
The Manchester-born singer is a regular performer at charity events, LGBT+ prides, arts events and at The Lowry, where he’s also a bartender and waiter. He was recently a judge on BBC One’s Saturday night singing competition All Together Now.
Pier Eight’s Waterside Terrace has a series of small plates from delicate smoked salmon with horseradish cream, to crunchy buttermilk chicken and the most delicious pesto on rye with broad beans topped with edible flowers.
The south-facing aspect makes it the optimum location to soak up the sun as you watch the world go by – the commuters, shoppers at the nearby mall – and theatre-goers hurrying for curtain up. The new menu showcases also boasts burgers, salad jars and bar snacks.
Pier Eight’s vision is to showcase producers on its doorstep by including suppliers such as Beehive Food, 4 Sisters, Seven Brothers and Lowry Ale and, hundreds of feet above the terrace, The Lowry has a secret rooftop garden where edible flowers flourish. The flowers are used by executive head chef Oliver Thomas in his dishes to great effect.
Borage is flourishing in the secret rooftop garden along with nasturtium, fennel and cornflower. There are alpine strawberries, too, and mint and sage. It’s accessible (but not open to the public) by a door leading out of the Compass Room which offers an unrivalled 360-degree view of Manchester and Salford and beyond. The garden is already a haven for bees which are drawn to the colourful flowers.
You walk over a metal gantry and down a ladder to reach the hidden space which is only dwarfed by the top floors of a tower block of flats that looms over it. It’s tranquil and feels close to the planes above heading to Manchester Airport.
Down on terra firma, the Waterside Terrace menu is available from Monday to Friday between 12pm and 3pm and between 12pm to 7.30pm at weekends. On show nights, the menu is also available between 5pm and 7.30pm.
Thomas says: “The new menu really is perfect for a lunchtime treat or a business meeting. There’s something for everyone, from small plates perfect for sharing or to burgers and summary salads for when you need something more substantial. And when eaten in the sun on our terrace overlooking the Ship Canal, well, I couldn’t think of a better combination.”
I couldn’t agree more
Guests can sample the new menu with a special offer of £18 for four small plates and two drinks, available until September. To book, call 0161 876 2121 and hope for the sunshine.