Krušovice Cabinet of Curiosities – Cottonopolis, Manchester
Whilst the beer was good and Cottonopolis now firmly in this reviewer’s sights for a second visit, the entertainment proved pretty flat
Review by Catherine Ferguson
They say every cloud has a silver lining, and discovering Cottonopolis in Manchester’s infamous Northern Quarter was undoubtedly the silver lining to Krušovice Royal Czech Beer’s rather weak attempt at entertainment.
Brewing since 1581, Krušovice was owned by the Czech Royal Family for 100 years and remains the only beer served at official events in Prague Castle. With locally grown Saaz hops and spring water from the nearby Krivoklât Forest, it’s delivered straight from the Czech Republic to two enormous tanks suspended over the bar, offering the freshest possible taste to a host of Mancunian sippers.
A 5 per cent golden pilsner, Krušovice is a pleasant, refreshing little tipple, but so it should be at just shy of £5 a pint, firmly at the top of the pricing spectrum in the area. The brewing brand’s foundations lie with their first master brewer, King Rudolf II who began brewing on his farm in 1581, surrounded by his cabinet of weird and wonderful curiosities.
Cottonopolis played host to comedian Paul Foot, who was set to curate his own cabinet of curiosities, in honour of King Rudolf’s birthday. Alas, Foot’s evening, billed as a night of ‘wit and wunderkammer’ failed dismally to live up to ‘Mad King Ruddy’s’ supposed collection of artistic, bizarre, funny or mesmerising contraptions and specimens.
Dubbed “The comedian with a penchant for the eccentric, the artistic and the curious,” Foot’s weak attempts at engaging with the crowd left him mumbling about how rude it was to talk when others were speaking and the promised mesmerising specimens hit a miniature superman apron at their lowest ebb and peaked with a porcelain pig. Suffice to say they were neither bizarre nor funny and Foot’s babbling efforts at humour did little to pique the audience’s interest.
On the upside, Cottonopolis was a delightful quirky space in a lovingly transformed former tailors’ studio with stripped red brick walls and vast wooden floors, still pitted from the tapping of seamstress’s heels against sewing machine pedals.
Their regular Asian small plates menu was deftly adapted to meet the Czech theme and a chirpy crew of hipster serving staff circled the room with tempting treats, including mini bowls of borscht, beer-infused salmon blinis and mustard drenched pork sausages, all infused with a dash of Krušovice.
We’re already planning our next trip to Cottonopolis and we can’t wait to get stuck into their Fire, Steam and Ice dim sum. It goes without saying; we’ll make sure Paul Foot isn’t on the menu that night.
Enquiries: Cottonopolis, 16 Newton Street, Manchester M12AE / 01612 365144 / www.cottonopolis-nq.com/