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Catalan Sunshine on a Plate

16th May 2019

With the May sunshine finally deciding to visit Manchester, it proved rather fitting that we were invited to Lunya - the independent, family-ran tapas bar and deli in the Barton Arcade - to sample their delicious new summer menu.


As we have come to expect from owners Elaine and Peter Kinsella, the dishes are made from some of the finest produce sourced directly from Spain, including bread that is flown in each week from Barcelona.


The Wirral couple have an unbridled love of Spanish food culture. They went from being home cooks with day jobs in disability consultancy and educational pychology, to selling tortilla and meatballs at food festivals, before literally swapping everything they owned to open a restaurant at Liverpool ONE and, in 2015, their second branch at this end of the East Lancs.


Lunya Manchester


The new summer menu features a good mix of dishes, including incredible slow-cooked Iberico Pork Ribs in delicious tamarind and fennel BBQ sauce. Imported from the famous pig rearing Iberico region of Spain, the perfectly cooked meat literally falls of the bone.


Suquet is a Catalan stew of mussles, cooked in a saffron, white wine, tomato and parsley soup. It's a great summer dish, as is the Bacalao pan fried filet of cod, which comes salted and served with pea puree and crispy Serrano ham.


A highlight of the new menu is the selection of vegetarian and vegan options. Our favourites included the Courgette & Garrotxa Frituras - light fluffy Catalan goat’s cheese fritters served with minted yoghurt. Absolutely delicious!


Peter - who is set to embark on a three week cycle following the Camino de Santiago later this month, taking in visits to many of his wine and meat suppliers, with a quick detour to watch his beloved Liverpool play in the Champions League Final in Madrid - was quick to point out that it was illegal to sell artisanal cheese in Spain during the Franco years, until the 1980s, and they've certainly been making up for it since.


Cocida de Verduras was another incredibly fresh summer stew of Spanish beans, peas, spinach, mint and hazelnut that comes recommended; as does the Coliflor roasted cauliflower florets, which are served with pickled shallots, Marcana almond satay and coriander.


Guests with food allergies are certainly well catered for at Lunya, as great effort has been put into food separation and staff training; they have recently been featured on a TV programme talking about the issue.


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La Bandera



As always, wine and Vermouth lovers are well catered for with Lunya’s impressive 130 bin Spanish selection, which is complemented by 26 sherries and 26 mainly Spanish gins; all of which are available in their well stocked deli.


The Manchester market is currently awash with Spanish and Catalan restaurants, some more authentic than others, like the brilliant La Bandera, long-standing favourite El Rincon de Rafa, Juan Mata's Tapeo & Wine, Pep Guardiola's Tast and London export Iberica; whilst the Anglo-Spanish El Gato, La Vina, and Evuna are all on the doorstep. In fact, there are so many, Spanish TV chef Omar Allibhoy has recently scrapped plans to bring his Tapas Revolution chain to the city, stating that “Manchester is oversaturated with Spanish restaurants - there are eight within half a mile". Lunya is one of those, and judging from this press meal at least, you can see that Allibhoy was right to say "We didn’t feel we would add enough with a ninth."


Away from all the PR and freebies, we will be back for a proper Restaurants Of Manchester review, undercover and unannounced, with Spanish friends, to see how these new summer dishes score. Meanwhile, whilst Peter is away cycling the Camino, it is safe to say, on this showing at least, that Lunya leads "The Way" with their new menu.



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Disclaimer: and can not be held responsible for any differences experienced at the premises listed.

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